The inaugural AP Music Awards are only a couple days away, and one thing to keep in mind is that with the purchase of your APMAs ticket, you are also entitled to free admission at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum that very same day! The Rock Hall opens at 10 a.m. on July 21, which will give you plenty of time to peruse their massive library of rock-history artifacts before the APMAs kick off later that night. Here are some of our recommended stops inside the Rock Hall.
1. Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls’ 1960 Gibson Les Paul Jr.
Formed in 1971, the New York Dolls created some of the most passionate music of the glitter-rock era and set the stage for punk rock. Inspired by a Rolling Stones single sleeve that depicted Mick, Keith and the boys dressed as women, the Dolls dressed in outrageous clothing and wore women’s makeup, capturing the spectacle of glitter. Their self-titled debut album and the follow-up, Too Much Too Soon, were both critical successes but sold poorly. This Les Paul Jr. was Johnny Thunders’ principal guitar in the studio and onstage from the 1970s until his death in 1991.
2. Ian Curtis of Joy Division’s handwritten lyrics to "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
In the post-punk era, Joy Division quickly established a strong cult following, with much of the attention centered on their charismatic, enigmatic lead singer. Vocalist Ian Curtis, who suffered from epilepsy, was renowned for his idiosyncratic, herky-jerky onstage presence. On more than one occasion he experienced epileptic seizures and blackouts onstage, and the illness seemed to worsen with the group's increasingly demanding live schedule. On May 18, 1980, the eve of Joy Division's proposed tour of America, Curtis committed suicide by hanging. Less than a month later, Joy Division entered the U.K. charts with the single and post-punk classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” a song whose dark overtones became infamous in the wake of Curtis' own tragedy.
3. Johnny Cash’s 1979 touring bus
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Johnny Cash wrote in his 1997 autobiography, "I have a home that takes me anywhere I need to go, that cradles me and comforts me, that lets me nod off in the mountains and wake up in the plains: my bus, of course. We call it Unit One. I love my bus. It really is my home, too. When I make it off another plane and through another airport, the sight of that big black MCI waiting by the curb sends waves of relief through me—Aah!—safety, familiarity, solitude. Peace at last. My cocoon." Johnny Cash used the touring bus at the Rock Hall—the JC Unit One—for the last two decades of his career.
4. Johnny Ramone’s Mosrite Ventures II
The Ramones represented punk rock in its purest form. Their first album, simply titled Ramones, served as a blueprint that scores of punk bands would soon follow. The four founding members from Queens—Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy, all with the adopted surname “Ramone”—played songs that flew by in a noisy, exhilarated blur. Dressed in matching leather jackets, T-shirts, ripped jeans and sneakers, they would tear through a dozen songs in fewer than 20 minutes. Johnny Ramone signed and wrote on the back of this guitar: “My main guitar 1977 - 1996.”
5. Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols’ T-shirts
The Sex Pistols included singer Johnny Rotten (born John Lydon), guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock, later replaced by Sid Vicious (born John Ritchie). In 1976, the group made headlines with its first single, “Anarchy In The U.K.,” and an expletive-filled appearance on a British TV show. The band were signed and dropped by two major labels, banned from live performances and hotly debated in Parliament. The group fanned the flames with “God Save The Queen,” mocking British royalty. The Sex Pistols undertook an abbreviated U.S. tour in 1978, disbanding after a chaotic concert in San Francisco. Sex Pistols’ bassist Sid Vicious idolized Ramones bassist Dee Dee Ramone and wore this shirt onstage and off.
6. The Clash’s handwritten lyrics to "Tommy Gun," "English Civil War," "Know Your Rights," "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" and "Lost In The Supermarket"
Led by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, the Clash offered militant politics tempered by hope. Their strongest albums, London Calling and Sandinista!, balanced the raw power of punk with forays into reggae and rockabilly. Throughout their career, the Clash held fast to their convictions, making music that rocked with a conscience. One manuscript, handwritten by Joe Strummer on the back of a guitar-string packet, is an early draft of the opening lines of “Lost In The Supermarket.” All the handwritten lyrics are featured in the Museum's punk exhibit, and the Clash were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2003.
7. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana's Fender Stratocaster from the In Utero Tour
Kurt Cobain was the enigmatic, gritty, searing voice who upended the musical landscape of the 1990s and changed the course of rock history in an instant with "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The song was an uproarious shock, a blistering whirlwind that cut down the towering popularity of hair metal and synth pop, uncorking an entire generation's energy and different values. Nevermind's charge continued with tracks such as "Come As You Are" and "Lithium," while 1993's In Utero juxtaposed deliberately discordant arrangements and caustic lyricism with painfully tender ballads like "All Apologies" and "Dumb." Cobain played this guitar on the In Utero Tour.
8. Angus Young of AC/DC’s schoolboy outfit
Angus Young performed in his Ashfield Boys’ High School uniform blazer as a gag at an AC/DC gig in 1973. His sister, Margaret, suggested that Angus perform in full school uniform for every show. He has done that ever since. AC/DC were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2003.
9. John Lennon of the Beatles’ 1964 Rickenbacker Jet-Glo 325-6
The Rickenbacker Guitar Company, based in California, made two new guitars especially for John Lennon when the Beatles visited America for the first time in February 1964. They were delivered just in time for the Beatles’ second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, broadcasted live from the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach. Lennon used this guitar, one of the new ones, for the Miami broadcast and it soon became his primary instrument. He played it during his band’s record-breaking performance at Shea Stadium in 1965. The set list for that show remains taped to the side of the guitar.
10. Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo’s outfit
Devo were formed in Akron, Ohio, by Kent State University art students Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh in 1972. The name came from the concept of “de-evolution”—the idea that instead of moving forward, humans were actually regressing. Early Devo performances were theater-of-the-absurd, multimedia affairs, featuring surrealist vignettes acted out in rubber masks and props, with the band performing their jerky, quirky songs in matching factory boiler suits. Devo broke through to the mainstream in 1980 with “Whip It,” from their third album, Freedom Of Choice.
11. Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys’ handwritten lyrics to "High Tension Wire"
The Dead Boys evolved from the group Frankenstein, who, in turn, came from Rocket From The Tombs. The band included the rhythm section of bassist Johnny Blitz and drummer Jeff Magnum, guitarists Cheetah Chrome and Jimmy Zero and vocalist Stiv Bators. Once relocated to New York City, they quickly assimilated into the scene surrounding the legendary punk club CBGB. The Dead Boys signed with Sire Records in 1977 and released the aptly titled Young, Loud And Snotty. Shortly after a second release, We Have Come For Your Children, the Dead Boys split up amid acrimony and drugs. They reunited in 1983, but it wasn’t the same. Lead singer Bators died in 1990 after being hit by a taxicab in Paris.
12. Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders’ handwritten lyrics to "My City Was Gone"
Chrissie Hynde is a Firestone High School graduate who worked with several bands in her native Akron, Ohio, before moving to England and making it big. By 1978, Hynde had hooked up with a powerhouse three-piece leather-clad outfit from the English town of Hereford, famous for its cows (and not much else). The newly formed international quartet called themselves the Pretenders and released their 1980 self-titled debut, which redefined the role of a woman in a band, stretched the boundaries of frank lyrical subject matter and, most importantly, rocked like the roar of a Harley gang gunning down Cleveland’s Shoreway. “My City Was Gone” was originally released as the flip side of the “Back On The Chain Gang” single in 1982.
13. Bloodied clothes and shoes worn by Fall Out Boy
Clothing worn by members of Fall Out Boy in The Youngblood Chronicles video series. The Chicago band’s fifth studio album, Save Rock And Roll, was released in 2013 and features guest appearances by 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe, Courtney Love and Elton John. A series of 11 videos corresponded to each of the album’s songs.
14. Smashing Pumpkins’ 1988 demo
Long before Smashing Pumpkins' breakthrough album Siamese Dream and the series of alternative hits that came in its wake ("Cherub Rock," "Today" and "Disarm" among them), a 20-something Billy Corgan sent this demo tape to the legendary Chicago venue the Metro. The band got their first Metro gig on Oct. 5, 1988. Corgan will be honored at the inaugural AP Music Awards on July 21.
15. Iggy Pop of the Stooges’ metallic gloves
As the wild and dangerous frontman of punk pioneers the Stooges, Iggy Pop would sometimes appear onstage fully painted in metallic silver. He wore the pair of gloves featured in the Rock Hall's Midwest exhibit during the Stooges’ Raw Power period. The Stooges were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2010.