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Celebrating the Sound of Stax during Black History Month at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Muse




Museum celebrates legendary record company's global impact on popular music

Cleveland, OH- In honor of Black History Month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has planned a month-long tribute to Stax Records. This year marks the Rock Hall's 12th annual celebration and will include a series of FREE public programs designed to give both Stax aficionados and beginners alike a closer look into the record label that changed the face of music over the past 50 years. A complete schedule of events is listed below.

Located in Memphis, Tennessee, Stax Records was founded in 1957 and quickly became a safe-haven for tolerance in a racially divided area of town. One of America's first interracial groups, Booker T. & the MGs, formed at Stax. The record company was also home to legendary singers like Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers and Isaac Hayes and produced hits like "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," "Soul Man" and "Knock on Wood." In 2007 the record company celebrated its 50th anniversary and signed R&B singer Angie Stone. 

The Museum will also feature Stax Records as the special Black History Month topic of the unique K-12 level interdisciplinary educational program, Rockin' the Schools, in which students will examine landmark performances, while connecting ways that Stax artists' lives and art portray important historical moments. 

**Unless otherwise noted, all events are free with a reservation. Please email or call 216.515.8426 to RSVP. **

The Rock Hall's 2008 Black History Month schedule of events:

February 6, 7:00 p.m., Case Western Reserve University, Clark 309 
"Telling the Stax Records Story":  Lecture with Grammy-winning author Rob Bowman and Deanie Parker, the former CEO of Soulsville. Soulsville is the nonprofit organization founded to build and manage the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Stax Music Academy and Performing Arts Center.

The event will begin with Professor Bowman exploring the history and sound of Stax Records, followed by Ms. Parker delivering first-hand accounts of the culture at Stax in Memphis, and its place in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. This event is presented in conjunction with the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University.

Rob Bowman's work as an interpreter and documentarian of historical recordings of popular music has been recognized internationally. A five-time Grammy Award nominee, he won a Grammy in 1996 for Best Album Notes for The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Singles, Vol. 3: 1972-1975, which he co-produced. Bowman's book, Soulsville, U.S.A. - The Story of Stax Records (1997), a definitive history of the legendary Memphis-based record label, has garnered numerous honors, including the Sweet Soul Music Award at the Poretta Soul Festival, Italy, and the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award.

As Soulsville's President and CEO, Deanie Parker led the nonprofit organization founded to build and manage the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Stax Music Academy and Performing Arts Center in an area dubbed Soulsville, U.S.A. in the 1960s. Parker then established the Soulsville Foundation to increase annual funds to operate the Museum and the Academy. Much of her professional career development happened while she was Director of Publicity, Artists and Community Relations for Stax Records, working with such internationally famous performers as Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MGs, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Rufus and Carla Thomas and others. 

February 11, 7 p.m., Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, 4th Floor Theater
Film screening - Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story 

Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story traces the astonishing history of Stax, from a modest neighborhood hangout to a cultural and political empire. Directed by the Grammy-nominated team of Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the documentary features interviews with Isaac Hayes, Mavis Staples, Carla Thomas, Sam Moore, Booker T. Jones, Eddie Floyd, Jesse Jackson and label president Al Bell. Also featured are rarely seen full-length performances by Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MGs and Isaac Hayes, plus outtakes of footage from the legendary 1972 Wattstax concert. Included also is the first interview by Stax founder and co-owner Jim Stewart in 15 years, plus never-before-seen home movies and performances by Stax artists.

February 13, 4:30 p.m., Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Eat to the Beat 
Teachers Rock with Ashley Davis, Artistic Director of the Stax Music Academy

Teachers Rock provides a forum for K-12 level teachers and school administrators who are interested in integrating popular music into their classrooms across the disciplines. The monthly series is offered free of charge from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. Each session explores a moment in the history of popular music and includes a featured lesson or resource. 

February's Teachers Rock will feature Ashley Davis, an accomplished musician, songwriter, producer and conductor, who has worked with and performed alongside such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Kirk Whalum, Yolanda Adams, Vaneese Thomas, Michael and Regina Winans.  As Artistic Director of the Stax Music Academy, Davis mentors young people through music education and unique performance opportunities, with the goals of enhancing their leadership and academic skills and inspiring them to become facilitators for community change. 

February 20, 7 p.m., Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum 4th Floor Theater
From Songwriters to Soundmen: The People Behind the Hits with Al Bell 

Al Bell is the former owner of Stax Records. While at Stax, he introduced marketing and promotional innovations that helped to change the direction of the music industry. Bell added to the roster of box office hits with the landmark 1973 film Wattstax, a documentary based on a Stax Records concert that 100,000 people attended at the Los Angeles stadium. This was the largest musical event ever presented to Black America.

Bell will be interviewed in front of a live audience as part of the Museum's "From Songwriters to Soundmen: The People Behind the Hits" free educational series that shines the spotlight on the people whose contributions to the rock and roll art form are often as powerful as those of the artists themselves.

February 27, 7 p.m., Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum 4th Floor Theater
Rock and Roll Night School: Stax Records

Rock and Roll Night School is a monthly series of educational, discussion-based night classes offered free of charge from 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. in the Museum's 4th floor theater. Jason Hanley, musicologist and Education Department Manager at the Rock Hall, leads the classes, which gives interested adults the opportunity to expand their rock and roll-related knowledge.

This month's Rock and Roll Night School will focus on the legendary recordings on Stax Records, looking at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees like Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, and Isaac Hayes.

In celebration of Black History Month, each February the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum recognizes the extraordinary contributions that African-Americans have made to popular music. Since 1996, the Rock Hall's Black History Month events have included film screenings, lectures, intimate evenings of conversation, and performances by local and national groups such as Robert Lockwood, Jr., The Temptations, Charles Brown, Ruth Brown, Take 6, Al Green, the Ohio Players and the Manhattans.