Hard Rock Cafe Nashville Memorabilia
Bobbie Gentry is one of our all-time favorite female country artists. She had such a cool style – with her Southern Gothic affect and powerful imagery, Bobbie was unlike anything on the charts when her 1967 smash debut, Ode to Billie Joe, bumped the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper from atop the American album charts. In fact, the title track from Ode to Billie Joe has aged remarkably well. It’s such a smooth and mesmerizing tune. Later, Bobbie went the Vegas variety route – enjoying a successful career into the late ’70s. She retired from performing in 1978. This completely amazing satin costume was Bobbie’s in the early ’70s.
Groovy Denim Suit
As you can well imagine, we own a lot of Elvis’ clothing. This one, however, wins the “coolest outfit in our collection” award hands-down. The King rocked this black denim “Peacock Suit” in the ’70s and right now you’re seriously considering having one made for yourself, aren’t you?
Rocket Roll Guitar
This is a really cool guitar. It’s a mid-seventies Ibanez “Rocket Roll” model, but it’s really an incredible copy of a 1958 Gibson Flying V. In fact, the Ibanez company was sued by Gibson in 1977 for copyright infringement over these knock-offs. Many guitarists feel that these Ibanez Gibson copies (they made a number of models) were superior to the Gibson instruments of the same era. Maybe that’s why KISS axeman Ace Frehley picked up this bad-boy.
Letter to Astrid Kircherr
This is a letter from the Beatles’ original bass player, Stu Sutcliffe, to his soon-to-be fiance – German photographer Astrid Kircherr. He wrote it in late 1961 – shortly before a brain hemorrhage ended his life at age 21. With his tragic death in mind, read this letter. It poignant beyond belief.
Hank Williams, Jr.
Valley Arts Telecaster
Hank Williams, Jr. has pulled off one of the most difficult tricks in music – establishing your own musical identity when you’re the child of an icon. Now his son, Hank III, is doing the same. Bocephus gave us this killer custom Valley Arts Telecaster at our Dallas cafe in ’87.
Here’s a list of the most important figures in country music: 1) Roy Acuff 2) Possibly Hank Williams, but even that’s debatable 3) There is no number 3 Roy Acuff’s impact on country music is like water’s impact on life – you can’t have one without the other. As a singer, songwriter, and publisher, Roy defines country. This was his fiddle.
This contract is for the Yardbirds’ January 2nd, 1966 appearance on Shivaree – a short-lived American music program that featured all the trappings of the mid-’60s. Go Go dancers on platforms? Yes. Day-glo colored set? Yes, even though the program was in black and white. Groovy kids doing the Watusi to the day’s hottest hits? Of course. Shivaree had it all. All five Yardbirds signed this contract, including then-guitarist Jeff Beck.
Gibson EH 100 Lap Steel
This killer old lap steel was played by Gary Morse on the Pam Tillis hit “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial”. Gary is one of the most in-demand steel players in the world, having toured and recorded with artists including Dwight Yoakam, Tanya Tucker, Brooks & Dunn, and Pam Tillis.
Blues guitar prodigies seem to grow like weeds in the U.S., but they almost never last beyond the initial curiosity factor of seeing a prepubescent kid playing Albert King licks. Then there’s Derek Trucks. He emerged as yet another teenage bluesboy, but quickly established his bona-fides jamming with a who’s who of classic American music. When invited to become a full-time member of the Allman Brothers Band in 1999, Derek’s place in the big leagues was assured. Now over a decade into his stint as the Allman’s slide guitar virtuoso and as bandleader for his own group, Derek Trucks has grown to be one of the most exciting and vital voices on electric guitar in decades. He gave us this SG after a 1992 performance at the Atlanta Hard Rock. He was only 13 at the time.
Peavey Foundation Bass
Stevie Ray’s rock-solid bass player, Tommy Shannon, used this Peavey Foundation bass onstage with SRV at the Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin on August 26th, 1990. The significance of that date will not be lost on Stevie Ray fans. Let’s just say it was a very bad night.
When it comes to country icons, Conway Twitty is among the true giants. His early success as a rockabilly artist (Conway recorded for the legendary Sam Phillips in the ’50s) led to an incredibly successful career as a traditional country crooner and his early ’70s duets with Loretta Lynn are cornerstones of the genre. Like many of the Nashville greats, Conway liked to sport a rhinestone Nudie suit from time to time. This one is from his collection.
1958 Gibson Super 400
Though never a household name, for five decades Albert Lee has established himself as one of the most talented and influential guitarists of all time. An absolutely phenomenal country picker, Albert came out of the fertile English guitar scene in the sixties and managed to put an indelible stamp on that most American of art forms - country music. The quintessential role player, Albert has worked with the Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, and a host of others, but it was his mid-seventies tenure with Emmylou Harris’ band that really put Albert on the map. This incredible '58 Gibson Super 400 was Albert’s in the late sixties when he was a member of Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds. It’s one of the most beautiful examples of this stunning model we’ve ever seen.
Try to name an American rock band better, badder, or more nationwide than ZZ Top. You simply can’t do it because the little ol’ band from Texas is the best. The good Reverend Willie G. wore this ten-gallon Stetson in the group’s 1992 video for “Viva Las Vegas”. For those keeping score at home, it’s size 7½.
Garth Brooks is a pivotal figure in the history of country music. Maybe that’s because he used to do KISS covers with a rock band before he became the superstud of Nashville. In what was, at the time, an almost unbelievable achievement, Garth’s third album, Ropin’ the Wind, actually debuted at the top of the pop charts. That was a first. Like every self-respecting country singer, Garth likes to rock a big ten-gallon Stetson hat. He wore this one throughout the early part of his career and on the Garth Brooks Reunion Show.
When Lynyrd Skynyrd founder and guitarist, Gary Rossington, plays the slide guitar intro to “Freebird”, every lighter gets lit, every fist goes in the air, and every eye gets misty. Go to a Skynyrd show and try not to cheer when Gary plays that opening lick. You can’t do it. It’s impossible. Mr. Rossington donated this leather jacket to us at Hard Rock Live in Orlando, FL during their Millenium tour in 2001.
Buck Owens was an American treasure. That's a fact. His earthy, clever, and rockin' approach to country music is forever known as “the Bakersfield sound”. Worshiped by such luminaries as Dwight Yoakam and Brad Paisley, Buck forged a unique path through the usually Nashville-dominated world of country music and emerged a legend. He wore this amazing embroidered suit on countless concert stages in the ’60s. It was made by Turk of Sherman Oaks - contemporary of legendary clothier Nudie Cohn.