From The World Of Hard Rock Memorabilia: As If You Needed One More Reason To Go To Seattle…

Last week, we brought you a sneak preview of some of the memorabilia we’re putting in the new Hard Rock Cafe Seattle. Well, this spectacular new Hard Rock opens tomorrow, February 10, and it’s an absolute stunner. We couldn’t be more excited, so let’s take a deeper look at some of the stuff that graces the walls of the Hard Rock Seattle. As always, you can check out this stuff in mind-blowing detail at our interactive memorabilia site or you can click this link to see the Seattle memorabilia collection online.[more]


In the early ‘70s, Elvis and his entourage visited Colorado to cavort around in the snow and do a little skiing. The King decided that the coats he had brought along, which we assume were completely over-the-top bedazzled numbers with lots of “TCB” logos emblazoned on them, weren’t gonna cut it for his winter wear. So he went out and bought this extra-badass suede and sheepskin thing. Are you picturing Elvis making snow angels whilst sporting this coat? You should be.


Hendrix pretty much single-handedly created the whole “electric gypsy” look that became such a huge part of late-‘60s iconography. When he first hit London in ’66, Jimi went straight to now-legendary King’s road hipster boutiques with tremendous names like Granny Takes a Trip and I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet – and he stocked up on over-the-top fashions both vintage and contemporary. While other rock stars had frequented these joints, Jimi was the one who really put it all together. The guy could wear a burlap sack and look like some exotic Martian rock star. He could also rock a hat like no one else. This groovy brim was Jimi’s in the late sixties:


If there was a sixth member of the Stones, it has to be Bobby Keys. This Texas native joined the band in ’69 and has been with them on stage and in the studio ever since. He got his start playing with Buddy Holly and has done sessions and roadwork with just about every important rock artist in history. John Lennon, Chuck Berry, Clapton, BB King – Bobby’s list of credits is so vast it’s almost comical. This Selmer Mark 6 tenor sax was Mr. Keys’ horn of choice for the Stones’ 1995 Voodoo Lounge tour.


This incredible custom axe was made for Heart’s Howard Leese by renowned guitar builder Bernie Hamburger. We’ve seen a lot of custom guitars, but this one takes the cake. It’s an exceptionally well made instrument and – obviously – looks cool as hell. Check out the “skull and crossbones” tuning pegs on this thing. Howard used it on Heart’s Bad Animals tour.


This extra-groovy bit of early-seventies goodness belonged to The Who’s resident genius madman, Keith Moon. At a Seattle gig in ’71, the Who’s legendary live sound engineer, Bob Pridden, spilled a drink on it. Keith joking told him that he’d have to pay to get it cleaned. Bob called Keith’s bluff and bought the jacket on the spot, cleaned it up, and rocked it himself for the next 15 years. Do a little research on Bob Pridden. His contributions to the music scene are incredibly important.


This is one of the best pieces in the Seattle cafe. It’s a Yamaha acoustic that belonged to Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. He wrote out the lyrics to the song “Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town” on tissue paper and taped them to the side of the guitar as a cheat sheet. Don’t just look at this photo – this guitar is really best experienced on the interactive memorabilia website.


This drum set was very nearly a rock icon. It’s the Slingerland kit that early Nirvana drummer Chad Channing used with the group on the Bleach tour and at other pre-superstardom Nirvana gigs. In what can only be described as a “Pete Best situation,” Chad left Nirvana in 1990 and was replaced by Dave Grohl. Good news for Dave, really bad news for Chad.


This graffiti-riddled door is from Seattle-based studio Robert Lang Recorders. Since the ‘70s, Robert Lang has been a go-to studio for the Seattle music scene and many of the players who’ve passed through this door left a hastily scrawled bit of artwork to mark their territory. There’s a lot of great graffiti on this door, but the most significant is a drawing of a little guy about ¾ of the way up, towards the right. It was drawn by Kurt Cobain when Nirvana was in the studio in ’94 doing what would turn out to be their very last session. A few weeks later, Kurt was gone.

We’ve packed our newest cafe with some incredible treasures that celebrate the legacy of Seattle and the entire world of rock ‘n’ roll. There’s a lot to discover in the Emerald City, so plan a trip today and tell us your personal Seattle stories at our memorabilia Facebook page. Rock is King, Seattle rules.


  1. I am truly honored to have my instrument on display alongside such rock legends. Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, important Seattle artists, fantastic. What a great collection. I look forward to visiting the new Hard Rock when I come to Seattle after a spring BAD CO. tour of England.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Howard. We’ve got a number of your axes and they’re all cool, but this one is just incredible. We couldn’t open a Seattle location without a tip of the hat to you and Heart. Your guitar is right where it belongs – alongside Hendrix, Elvis, Keith Moon, et al. Was this guitar built to your design, or is the radical body shape a Bernie Hamburger original?

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