January 26, 2024
Okay, gang, it's "field-trip" time! In addition to its upcoming online lecture presentation and Beatles-centered symposium, The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music at Monmouth University has just announced details of yet another symposium, along with the launch of a new major exhibit. Both the symposium and the exhibit-launch will happen next month, and each of them is taking place off the Monmouth University campus. The exhibit-launch is even happening outside of New Jersey...far outside of The Garden State, at that.
On Saturday February 10, Asbury Park, NJ's legendary live music venue The Stone Pony - which will have just turned fifty years old, officially on February 8 - will host an early-afternoon panel-discussion presented by the Springsteen Archives and entitled Celebrating The Stone Pony Anniversary: Spotlighting 50 Legendary Years of Music Memories. The Pony's co-founder, Jack Roig, will join with legendary area musicians, concert promoters, music writers, and other noteworthy members of the music community who were instrumental in creating the history of the now-iconic and world-renowned music club, as they share intimate stories and memories from the past fifty years. Tickets for the event, priced at $30 each plus any applicable fees, etc., will go on sale today via Ticketmaster, beginning at 10am ET, and - if any are still available by then - at the Pony's box-office beginning at 12pm ET. Click here for details and to purchase tickets via Ticketmaster.
One week after the StonePony@50 event, the Springsteen Archives will premiere its newest major exhibit, Music America: Iconic Objects from America’s Music History, at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, aka the LBJ Presidential Library, in Austin, TX, fittingly during Presidents' Day Weekend 2024. The exhibition will remain on display at the LBJ Presidential Library through August 11, 2024.
The exhibition will feature more than one hundred objects representing the best of American music, spanning decades and genres. For the first time in one place, visitors can see everything from B.B. King’s guitar “Lucille,” the fox fur stole worn by Billie Holiday, and a handmade velvet shirt worn by Elvis Presley to Chuck D’s handwritten lyrics to “Fight the Power,” the outfit Bruce Springsteen wore on the Born in the USA album-cover, a guitar played by Taylor Swift, and a costume she wore on the Reputation Stadium Tour. By focusing on musicians and personal memorabilia from this country’s past and present, Music America chronicles the soundtrack of America.
Music America is curated by the Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music in association with the New Orleans Jazz Museum and Hard Rock International, along with dozens of prominent collectors of American music ephemera. “The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music is honored to premiere Music America: Iconic Objects from America’s Music History at the LBJ Presidential Library,” said Robert Santelli, the Springsteen Archives' executive director. “Not only do we have a longstanding relationship with the library, but so much of America’s greatest music history occurred in the 1960s when President Johnson was in the White House. It seemed only natural that this exhibition, which also celebrates America’s 250th birthday in 2026, begins in Austin, one of the country’s most important music centers, and will then travel to other presidential libraries and museums across the country.”
Visitors also will get to enjoy an interactive “Song Bar,” enabling them to hear performances by some of the artists highlighted in the exhibition, along with additional melodies that demonstrate the depth, breadth, and great productivity of American musicians. “I hope this one-of-a-kind collection will give visitors a deeper appreciation of the role music has played in the broad sweep of American history and encourage them to reflect on the LBJ era, a period of incredible cultural and artistic change,” said LBJ Library Director Mark A. Lawrence. “These iconic objects will bring that transformation to life and transport us to another time period, as only music can.”
A partial list of artists and objects to be displayed includes:
Sidney Bechet's soprano saxophone (pictured below:)
Leonard Bernstein’s baton
John Coltrane’s saxophone
Chuck D’s handwritten lyrics to “Fight the Power”
Gloria Estefan’s sequined dress from her 1996 tour
Woody Guthrie’s signed “This Land is Your Land” lyrics
Billie Holiday’s fox fur stole
John Lee Hooker's guitar (pictured below:)
B.B. King’s guitar “Lucille” (pictured below:)
Madonna’s wedding dress from the “Like a Virgin” video
Willie Nelson’s cowboy boots given to him by Gene Autry’s widow
Elvis Presley’s 1956 Tupelo, Mississippi, concert shirt (pictured below:)
Prince’s Purple Rain shirt and “Cloud” guitar
Bruce Springsteen’s outfit worn on the Born in the USA album-cover
Taylor Swift’s guitar and costume from the Reputation Stadium Tour
Koko Taylor's red beaded dress (pictured below:)
...and last, but certainly not least, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Number One” guitar (pictured below:)