While in Nashville, as part of a tour of the city, we decided to get off the trolley and go to the Musicians Hall of Fame which is housed in the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. The Auditorium itself has a rich history hosting the performances of a wide variety of entertainers including Garth Brooks, Frank Sinatra and Elvis. The Auditorium is still an active performance venue but has been largely supplanted for most of the big acts by the much larger and more modern Bridgestone Arena.
The Musicians Hall of Fame is unique in that it focuses on all genres of music and really focuses on musicians both famous and otherwise. Many of the exhibits are focused the musicians that supported and enhanced the recordings and performances of the famous musicians that are more readily recognized and celebrated.
A Baby Grand Piano used by several artists including Elton John and Michael Jackson at the Caribou Ranch Studios
There are exhibits celebrating some of the famous studio musicians that played an integral part in the success of many recording studios and record labels such as Motown and Hitsville USA, Staxx Records, Sun Records, Muscle Shoals and more. Nashville is famous for having the best studio musicians that can be found anywhere. It is appropriate that there would be a museum in Nashville that shed light on the talent and contribution of these musicians who made it possible for us to enjoy the music that we love.
A letter from the Beatles to Buddy Holly and the Crickets thanking them for essentially knowing who they were !
Pictures of Paul McCartney and a young Steve Wariner hanging out when McCartney and Wings were recording in Nashville.
A special added bonus on this visit was the Rolling Stones Exhibition that is on display at the museum for the next month or so. The exhibition has traveled the world and Nashville is the last stop. I am fortunate enough to have visited the Beatles exhibition when it was in Connecticut. As avid a Beatles fan, I have to admit the Stones exhibition surpassed it and more.
The Famous Lips welcoming people to the Stoned Exhibit. Contrary to what I and others thought, they were actually designed based on a Hindu goddess but admittedly Mick Jagger may have subconsciously influenced the design.
One of the best features of the exhibit was its organization by the curators. It was not simply a collection of artifacts, sound and video. It was organized by the many contributions made by the Rolling Stones and the individual members in the areas of music, fashion, stage design and cover art as well as others areas.
At the entrance to the actual exhibit
The exhibition begins with a visual and auditory display of the Stones visit to Chess Records in Chicago to visit and learn from Muddy Waters and his many colleagues like Buddy Guy and Howlin’ Wolf. It is striking and sad as Muddy Waters describes his appreciation for the Rolling Stones help in introducing the blues to American audiences who had no idea who these groundbreaking men were or any appreciation for their music.
The Rolling Stones were particularly creative and prodigious in the areas of stage design, cover art and costuming. The sections of the exhibit that display artifacts in these areas are fascinating.
A Model of the Stage Design for the Steel Wheels Tour
There is a great back stage portion of the exhibit where you really feel like you are back stage with the stones.
Overall, you are reminded that the Rolling Stones were essentially a Rock and Roll band and their focus was more on the performance and the spectacle of the show than in the studio. It is clear that their energy and need to construct a visual and auditory experience for an audience were very important to them. It is clearly demonstrated in the frequency of touring well into their advanced years.
We were very fortunate to be in Nashville while the tour was here. I hope and die-hard Rolling Stones fans had a chance to see it in its travels and many more will get that chance as it closes its run.