Aims to trace the footsteps of giants. Above: workers installing the marquee.
By Blurt Staff
The Blues Hall of Fame is scheduled to finally open May 8 in Memphis. It’s housed in The Blues Foundation’s headquarters (a 12,000 sq. ft. building) on Main Street in downtown, directly across from the National Civil Rights Museum.
According to Nora Tucker, the recently appointed Manager/Curator of the Hall, “Once The Blues Hall of Fame is open, the Blues Foundation will, for the first time, exhibit a collection of artifacts, ephemera and artwork that relates to the Inductees, their music to chronicle the milestones they have achieved. Noted institutions are pitching in by loaning items that will be displayed in The Blues Hall of Fame.” Some of the materials include virtually priceless recordings, instruments, articles of clothing and writings associated with the legends who have been honored with induction.”
Among the artifacts to be displayed:
*An original Hohner harmonica and unique Hohner Echophone acoustic harmonica “amplifier” that were used by Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) on his legendary King Biscuit Time broadcasts over KFFA radio between 1941 and 1947.
*A Werco guitar, the very first electric guitar owned by Albert King (pictured below)
*A stage shirt worn by Ike Turner during the time of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. (The shirt is unique insofar that it fit like a leotard so that it didn’t bunch up while Turner was performing.)
*A tour jacket and accompanying program commemorating the B.B. King-U2 Love Comes To Town Tour of Europe and Australia in 1989.
Tucker additionally notes that “both Sonny Boy Williamson and B.B. King were inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, the year The Blues Foundation instated the original BHOF program. Albert King was inducted in 1983 and Ike Turner was similarly honored in 2005.”
The Blues Hall of Fame’s goals are:
- Pay tribute to the great blues men and women, giving them and their music the respect and validation they deserve
- Educate tens of thousands of visitors about blues music and its performers, whether those visitors are young school children or music fans from around the globe
- Bring tens of thousands of visitors into contact with The Blues Foundation and its programs