Marilyn's Music Destinations and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

How Philadelphia has played a role in multiple musicians' careers

November 16, 2020
Marilyn's Music Destinations & the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
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By: Marilyn Russell

Watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony made me wonder if it’s a must-see musical destination. Have you ever been? I haven’t, but it is on my list to check out!

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In the States, there are so many great music cities – Nashville, Memphis, Austin, Chicago, St. Louis, and my personal fave, New Orleans, where a music parade will pop up any time of the day of night.

We’re lucky we live in a musical town, Philadelphia, where great bands launched their career; bands like The Roots, Bon Jovi, Hall & Oates, Springsteen, and more. Our musical roots run deep and that undeniably Philly Soul sound put us on the musical map. Thanks to legends like Gamble and Huff who made sure the Philly Soul Sound was well produced and shared. Artists like Billy Paul Williams (Me and Mrs. Jones), Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The O Jays, Intruders, Soul Survivors, and more all led the way for that blue-eyed soul we love from Hall & Oates.

Even bands that aren’t from Philly credit Philadelphia for their success. Time and time again, I hear from record promoters and music promoters that insisted their bands include Philadelphia on their USA tour, even when they weren’t eager to do so.

Circa 1995, a hugely popular band in the UK was just getting noticed in the states… so of course, a tour was scheduled and it brought the band here to Philly (and to one of the greatest concert venues of all time - JC Dobbs).

Oasis, however, didn’t quite see it that way.

I’ll never forget interviewing them on the way to the venue. We pulled up to Dobbs on South Street - the Gallagher brothers took one look at the place and said “no way are we gonna play that sh*t venue!” Now, keep in mind they were accustomed to selling out big stadiums in the UK; venues used for sports and music that hold upwards of 70,000 fans. To get the band in the right frame of mind and to make sure fans weren’t disappointed, the record rep told the band that this was the venue that both Nirvana and Pearl Jam played when they first came to Philly. (Whew…band crisis averted.) And, of course, Oasis dealt with lots more crises as time went on, the least of which being when the two brothers fought non-stop and couldn’t stand each other.

While I’ve never been to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I did visit the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, which boasts an entire section dedicated to the greatest guitar player ever (ok, I know it’s a slightly biased opinion cause he’s my all-time fav) - Jimi Hendrix. The MoPop museum is very cool, but the music exhibitions... are awesome. Jimi Hendrix: “Wild Blue Angel, Hendrix Abroad offers a contemplative look of Hendrix’s life abroad from 1966-1970” as he was coming into huge fame. It includes interviews and an Electric Lady mixing console from his personal studio. MoPop also has a Nirvana and Pearl Jam section you can get the history of the entire Seattle scene…I highly recommend visiting, especially if you’re a big Hendrix fan!

Jimi Hendrix

Austin is a must-visit and also one of my favs. That’s the city Bobby Smith chose has his favorite musical destination!

Bobby was lucky enough to work in Austin for a few years and said “I can tell you that Austin truly is the live musical capital. Everywhere you go you’re entertained by an up and coming band or solo artist. Truly was an incredible place to be in my early 20’s, when I didn’t mind staying up past midnight to hear great live tunes – now…if I’m up past nine, I’m like OMG, it’s late!”

LIVF

Glenn Kalina chose Philadelphia as his all-time favorite (and we can’t argue that!) We’ve grown up with some of the greatest artists and venues of all time.

Glen loved growing up with WIBG “wibbage” who played all the hits. The music scene here has always offered a diverse array of artists. From Motown to punk rock, soul, jazz, and blues, Philly’s been a great musical destination since the ’50s. We are home to one of the most renowned orchestras in the world, and back in the day, you’d find doo-wop stylings on lots of street corners. There are fan pages on Facebook dedicated to venues that aren’t even around anymore, but we’ve got those great memories forever.

While the Hall of Fame is a place I want to visit, I secretly wished they’d chosen Philadelphia for its permanent location. However, at least now, Trent Reznor, an Ohio native has made it home with last week’s induction ceremony. And since we can’t travel just yet, let me recommend you check out last week's induction of Depeche Mode by the stunningly beautiful Charlize Theron, who thanked the band for being the “soundtrack of her life!”

Jump ahead to next year when we can comfortably travel and let me know what city’s music scene you’d like to experience. We’ve got some great options no matter what genre of music you like best: Chicago and St. Louis for the blues, Austin for the eclectic, Memphis for the King, Nashville for the country, and New Orleans for the vibrant brass blend and super strong coffee (...so you can keep up with the nightlife J) And, again, I’d love to know is the Hall of Fame worth the trip? Does “Cleveland Rock?”

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