NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting an exhibit dedicated to "the iconic instruments of rock and roll." Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll runs from April 8 through October 1, 2019, and will feature over 130 instruments and 40 vintage posters, as well as stage costumes and videos.
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Drawn from 70 private and public collections in the United States and the United Kingdom, most of the objects in the exhibition have never been shown outside of their performance contexts. Organized thematically, Play It Loud will include many of rock’s most celebrated instruments, including such guitars as Eric Clapton’s “Blackie,” Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstein,” and Jerry Garcia’s “Wolf,” as well as Keith Emerson’s Moog synthesizer and Hammond organ, and drums from Keith Moon’s “Pictures of Lily” drum set.
Highlights of the exhibition will include: Chuck Berry’s electric guitar ES-350T (1957), which was his primary guitar from 1957 until about 1963 and was used to record “Johnny B. Goode”; Jimi Hendrix’s electric guitar “Love Drops,” originally decorated by him; James Jamerson’s upright bass, which he likely used on many early Motown hits; Keith Emerson’s keyboard rig, consisting of the customized Moog Modular Synthesizer, electric tone-wheel organ, and rotary speakers; a reconstructed performance rig from Eddie Van Halen as it appeared onstage in 1978; Steve Miller’s electric guitar that was painted with psychedelic designs by artist Bob Cantrell by 1973; Jack Bruce’s electric bass, which was painted for him by the artist collective known as “The Fool” in 1967 while he was with Cream; St. Vincent’s electric guitar, which Annie “St. Vincent” Clark designed in collaboration with Music Man in 2015; and Jimmy Page’s dragon-embroidered costume (Los Angeles, 1975)—the elaborately hand-embroidered suit took over a year to complete and Page wore it during Led Zeppelin’s live performances from 1975 to 1977.
The exhibition will also include a sculpture made from what was left of one of Pete Townshend’s electric guitars after he smashed the instrument during a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz, that was published in Rolling Stone as “How to Launch Your Guitar in 17 Steps.”
After its run in NYC, the exhibit will be displayed at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, beginning in November of 2019.