New Life for Music of Rock Hall Inductees

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A new class of performers enters the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this weekend, and if you don’t recognize all of the names you probably know the music.  Many older songs have found new life thanks to movies, TV, tribute albums and even videogames.  Some examples:


In a recent episode of the hit TV show, “Stranger Things”, a young woman who ran away from home gets off a bus in an unfriendly city, looking for her lost sister.  Her anxiety is reflected in a 34-year-old pop song by Bon Jovi.


The Cars first hit the pop charts in 1978.  Forty years later, a new generation of fans has discovered their music thanks to the Rock Band video game.  Like predecessor Guitar Hero, Rock Band simulates the experience of actually playing songs in a concert setting.  Brown University music scholar Kiri Miller said it prompted game companies to form partnerships with record companies.

“It’s a great way for the music industry to make money from their back catalog,” she said.  “Like, in the Guitar Hero games, a lot of the repertoire was from as far back as the 1970s.  I know that for the Rock Band franchise alone there were an additional 130-million song downloads, which is pretty substantial sales”

DIRE STRAITS (as played by Don Eric Partridge)

In the early 2000s, many young Londoners may have gotten their first taste of Dire Straits music through Don Eric Partridge, known as the "King of the Buskers".  Busking is the British name for street musicians who perform in well-trafficked city spots, hoping passing pedestrians will toss some change in their open instrument cases.  Although Partridge released several records, he kept returning to the streets, up until a couple years before his death in 2010. 




British musicians the Moody Blues were pioneers of progressive rock in the mid 1960s.  Four decades later, a group of young American country players issued two tribute albums under the name Moody Bluegrass.


The late Nina Simone made her musical career as a jazz and blues singer, but her spirit of social activism and civil rights advocacy made her an influence to performers, ranging from Laura Nyro and Richie Havens to Chaka Khan.  Simone was the subject of two films over the past three years, including the 2015 Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?  



This famous performance clip of Sister Rosetta Tharpe was featured in the 2014 Canadian feature film Felix and Meira.


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