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Play It Loud: the Instruments of Rock & Roll
One of the most important artistic movements in modern times, rock & roll was and continues to be a seismic influence that has reverberated across culture and society — affecting fashion, the visual arts, racial and sexual politics and free speech.
This exhibition explores the musical function, visual presentation and cultural importance of the instruments of rock. Instruments are as visual as they are sonic – from the freedom of movement afforded by electric guitars and the attention-grabbing quality of decorated or iconic instruments to the set-design framework provided by large drum kits and keyboard rigs. Instruments are often a musician’s most personal and beloved items, providing the means to express their art and serving as an extension of their identity.
Rebellious and unpredictable, rock & roll has inspired generations of music lovers to pick up their own instruments and contribute to rock’s continuous momentum. The instruments and artists featured here are a small sample of those who have inspired and thrilled audiences over the last seven decades. Together, they tell stories of the deep connections between rock instruments, musicians and their audiences.
Exhibit Companion Books
Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll by
Call Number: ML141.C58 R65pL 2019a
This full exhibit catalog, created to accompany the Play It Loud exhibit, features over 150 illustrations of the instruments featured in the exhibit, many in full color, plus historical context, suggested reading, suggested listening, essays, and more.
Play It Loud: a Picture Album by
Call Number: ML141.C58 R65pL 2019b
This smaller adaptation of the full-length exhibit catalog highlights over twenty artifacts from the exhibit, with accompanying quotations from and about the artists who owned and played the instruments.
Rock's Backpages Articles
Free articles are available on Rock's Back Pages through the Free on RBP link. The articles below may require you to be on-site at the Library & Archives in order to read them.
Chuck Berry Can't Be Followed
Charlie Gillett, Alternative, The, 1 October 1970
Bo Diddley: Bo's a Lumberjack!
Charles Shaar Murray, New Musical Express, 8 February 1975
Carl Perkins: 'Blue Suede Shoes'
Colin Escott, History of Rock, The, 1981
Why Buddy Holly Will Never Fade Away
Philip Norman, Daily Telegraph, 30 January 2009
Play It Loud: an Epic History of the Style, Sound, & Revolution of the Electric Guitar by For generations an international symbol of freedom, danger, rebellion, and hedonism, the electric guitar had an explosive impact on music and culture. Now Tolinski and di Perna tell the story of its inventors and iconoclasts, of scam artists, prodigies, and mythologizers as varied and original as the instruments they spawned. They use twelve landmark guitars-- each of them artistic milestones in their own right-- to illustrate the conflict and passion the instruments have inspired.
Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four's Instruments, from Stage to Studio by "This book details exactly which guitars, drums, amplifiers and keyboards The Beatles used at the key points of their relatively brief but entirely revolutionary career - from the formation of The Quarry Men skiffle group in the 1950s to the dissolution of The Beatles in 1970. It provides a fascinating fresh insight into Beatle history from an entirely new viewpoint, and along the way many myths are exploded and dozens of stories told for the first time. John, Paul, George and Ringo's moves from cheap early instruments to the pick of 1960s technology is carefully and entertainingly documented in an easy-to-read narrative, fully illustrated with many unseen photographs, a cache of rare memorabilia, and a unique collection of specially-photographed actual Beatle instruments. This book is perfect for the fan absorbed by music rather than hairstyles, for the tribute-band member with an eye for detail, and for any reader with an abiding interest in the 1960s. At last, Beatles Gear gets right inside the music."--BOOK JACKET.
Call Number: ML421.B438 H49 2011
Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones' Equipment from Stage to Studio by Rolling Stones Gear is the first book to historically document all of the Rolling Stones' musical equipment. It's also the story of the Rolling Stones, but with a new twist: their history as told through the instruments they used. This book covers not only the group's personal background, but also every tour and studio session from their inception in 1962 to date, with detailed documentation illustrating what instruments and equipment were used during these periods. Every song recorded by the band, including demos and out-takes are also documented, with input from within the Stones' ranks as well as from people who were involved with the band. This lavishly illustrated book contains hundreds of photographs and rare images, many of which have never been published, including the Rolling Stones' actual guitars and equipment, which were specially photographed for this book and are seen here for the first time. Whether you are a musician, a Stones fan or just the casual reader, you will learn many new facts about the band from their monumental fifty-year existence.
Call Number: ML421.R655 B323 2013
The Dream Factory: Fender Custom Shop by The Dream Factory joins the award-winning series of hardcover books by author/historian Tom Wheeler, including The Stratocaster Chronicles and The Soul of Tone. This look behind the doors of the Fender Custom Shop features hundreds of full-color photos of collectible and limited edition hand-crafted guitars. Learn the fascinating tale of the acclaimed Custom Shop and its illustrious artisans. The Dream Factory includes many one-of-a-kind custom masterpieces and reproductions of acclaimed instruments such as Eric Clapton’s “Blackie,” Jimi Hendrix’s Monterey Strat and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s No. 1, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at how they're created.
Call Number: ML1015.G9 W54D74 2011
Keyboard Presents the Best of the '80s: the Artists, Instruments, and Techniques of an Era by From the swelling synths of Depeche Mode to the dance-friendly grooves of Thomas Dolby, and from the power ballads of Journey to the New Power Generation of Prince, the music of the '80s was infused with the sound of keyboards. You'll learn:
• How technological developments in keyboards helped artists such as Erasure, Human League, Peter Gabriel, Kraftwerk, Bruce Hornsby, Frank Zappa, and Jam and Lewis create entirely new sounds – and how their production tricks can help you make great music today.
• How to recreate the sounds of the '80s using the soft synths and recording software you already have on your computer.
• The breakdowns of the piano and keyboard parts for stadium rockers by Night Ranger, Journey, and Bon Jovi.
Call Number: ML399 .K49 2008
Collections on the instruments and instrumentalists of Rock.