B.B. King Electric Guitar:
During a show in 1949, a fight broke out between two men, knocking over a kerosene container, which lit the venue on fire. Upon evacuating, King realized he had left his guitar in the burning building and faced the fire to save his precious $30 Gibson six string. King later learned the two men were fighting over a woman named Lucille. King named his first guitar, as well as all of his following guitars, after this woman in order to remind him to never “do something as stupid as run into a burning building or fight over women.”
The Beatles Derby Hat:
In 1963, The Beatles posed for the front cover of The Saturday Evening Post in matching suits, derby hats, and canes. The derby hat we have in our café is the one worn by drummer Ringo Starr in that picture. Both Ringo and George Harrison signed this hat. However, they signed it in black marker, so it’s difficult to see the signatures. But they are there!
Carlos Santana Electric Guitar:
Carlos Santana is often hailed as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and he’s a longtime Bay Area resident. Santana became famous in the late 1960s to early 1970s due to his band’s revolutionary sound which combined Latin music and jazz fusion. This guitar is one from his earlier days when his band Santana was first forming.
Jerry Garcia Painting:
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship did our painting of Jerry Garcia, a member of the legendary San Francisco band Grateful Dead. Jerry and Grace were very close, often influencing each other musically and artistically. The painting is titled “Ridin’ That Train” after the Grateful Dead song “Casey Jones”.
Janis Joplin Cape:
Janis Joplin was known as “The Queen of Rock and Roll” at the height of her career. Bluesy, electric, and soulful are just a few words used to describe Joplin’s performances. The hand-painted, black sequined cape on display at our café is on the cover of her last album, Pearl. Released after her death, Pearl is a fantastic example of how talented Janis Joplin really was. The photo towards the back of our restaurant, featuring the cape, is one of the last photos ever taken of Janis.
Jimi Hendrix Jacket:
Jimi Hendrix is widely considered the greatest electric guitarist in music history and has heavily influenced many guitarists after him. Hendrix wore the jacket on display in the late 1960s, around the time of Woodstock. Made of suede and painted with a Native American motif, this jacket shows a little bit of the style Hendrix had. We also have a baby picture of Hendrix located underneath the jacket.
It’s no secret that Michael Jackson is one of the most influential and popular artists of all time. His musical career spanned decades, beginning in 1964 and ending tragically with his death on June 25, 2009. Jackson is not only known for his dance moves and vocals, but for his clothing style as well. The black hat on display is just one of many fedoras Jackson owned. However, this fedora is autographed by the King of Pop himself.
Journey : Gibson Les Paul Electric Guitar:
A San Francisco-bred band, Journey was inducted into the Bay Area Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In honor of this event, the band donated the autographed guitar on display to the San Francisco Hard Rock Café. With songs such as “Lights”, about the San Francisco city lights, and “Don’t Stop Believing”, which is now considered the San Francisco Giant’s theme song, this band never forgets its roots.
Nirvana Fender Mustang Electric Guitar:
Formed in Seattle as part of the city’s influential grunge scene, Nirvana took the 90s by storm and became one of the most popular bands to come out of the era. All three members of Nirvana signed the guitar on display. At the bottom we have Kurt Cobain’s signature, which has begun to rub off from so many people touching it. Next to the guitar we have a picture of the band from its earlier days.
Eddie Van Halen Peavey Wolfgang Electric Guitar:
Our most expensive piece of memorabilia, this guitar is estimated to be worth between $20,000-$30,000. This guitar was given to Jason Becker, a guitar virtuoso who was diagnosed with Lou Gehring’s disease, by Eddie Van Halen. Eddie signed this guitar in the upper left corner.