10 must-see artifacts at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The backbone of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will always be its artifacts with hundreds of iconic items on display.
- We chose 10 that combine historical significance with a wow factor.
Jimi Hendrix’s "Love Drops" Flying V
Details: It’s rumored Hendrix used the Gibson Flying V to record “All Along the Watchtower” in 1968.
- He painted the instrument himself using nail polish. The paint was removed by a future owner but later restored to its original form.
John Lennon’s Sgt. Pepper jacket
Details: Lennon's lime-colored jacket from the cover of The Beatles' “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” has been inside the Rock Hall since it opened in 1995.
- Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono gifted it as a favor to Rolling Stone founder and former Rock Hall chairman Jann Wenner.
The Supremes’ Bob Mackie gowns
Details: The Supremes wore dresses designed by fashion icon Mackie during the 1969 “G.I.T. on Broadway” TV special with the Temptations.
- Mackie used silver sequins, bugle beads and dyed-to-match turkey feathers on the outfits.
“God Only Knows” handwritten lyrics
Details: The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson's original, handwritten lyrics to what is considered one of the greatest songs of all time.
- The Rock Hall also houses handwritten lyrics to Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” The Clash's “London Calling” and other classic songs.
Prince’s “Blue Angel” guitar
Details: Prince used his Cloud 2, electric blue guitar on tours for “Purple Rain,” “Parade,” “Sign o’ the Times” and “Lovesexy.”
- The guitar sold at auction for $563,500 in 2020 by an unnamed buyer who loaned it to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Otis Redding’s airplane
Details: Pieces of the plane that crashed into Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin on Dec. 10, 1967, with R&B legend Redding onboard.
- The tragedy occurred a day after Redding appeared on Cleveland’s “Upbeat” TV show and performed at Leo's Casino downtown.
Kurt Cobain's demolished guitar
Details: Cobain took an electric drill to his Fender Stratocaster guitar during a 1993 concert in Inglewood, California on Nirvana’s “In Utero” tour.
- Cobain allegedly performed the act to impress guitar icon Eddie Van Halen who was in attendance.
Jerry Lee Lewis’ piano
Details: The gold-painted George Steck and Co. petite grand piano served as Lewis’ home piano from 1957-2017.
- The piano was part of the Rock Hall’s 2019 “Play It Loud: The Instruments of Rock & Roll Exhibit.” The museum put it back on display following Lewis’ death in October.
Taylor Swift’s catsuit
Details: Swift walked out in a shiny bodysuit to kick off the 2021 induction ceremony in Cleveland, performing Carole King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”
- The outfit, located in the Rock Hall’s “Right Here, Right Now” exhibit, features black lace over a gold bodice, paired with Louis Vuitton ankle boots.
Misfits’ spiked leather vest
Details: Misfits founding member Jerry Only wore the custom vest with real metal spikes during the band’s 2016 reunion tour.
- It resides alongside Only’s “Devastator” bass in the museum’s “Cities and Sounds” exhibit on the main floor.
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