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Monday, March 18, 2013

Groovy rock-and-roll holidays in Cleveland, Montreal and Detroit

   One-Tank Trip for March 16/13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but I like it!
Framed photos, news articles and gold records adorn the walls in the John Lennon and Yoko Ono Suite at Fairmont’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel. (Jim Fox photo)
    So sang the Rolling Stones, acclaimed as the world’s greatest rock-and-roll band, still cranking out the hits 50 years later.
   Head out down the highway and take a rock ‘n’ roll getaway to Cleveland, Montreal and Detroit.

   The beat goes on
   First stop is the house that rock built – the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.
   Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
   It pays homage to city disc jockey Alan Freed who is credited with coining the term “rock and roll” and holding the first rock concerts.
   Much has changed since our first visit when it opened in 1995 as a big redesign last year added new exhibit spaces, interactive technology and hundreds more artifacts.
   There’s now an “absolutely incredible collection” of Beatles’ artifacts.
   Among them is John Lennon’s black wool coat worn in the move Help; George Harrison’s striped suit from the 1966 U.S. tour; Ringo Starr’s 1969 birthday card to Lennon; and Paul McCartney’s handwritten arrangement for “Birthday.”
   There’s Lennon’s Gibson J-160E acoustic guitar used in “Norwegian Wood” and “Give Peace a Chance” and Harrison’s Rickenbacker 425 electric guitar.
   Now, the Stones are about to get some “satisfaction.”
   Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction opens May 24 as the hall’s first major exhibition “capturing the band’s legendary career.”
   Hall president and ceo Greg Harris said it will include personal items and extraordinary collections never seen before publicly and “should be on every music fan’s destination list this summer.”
   The retrospective exhibit chronicles the band from the mid-1960s until today and covers two-and-a-half floors. RockHall.com; (216) 515-1939

   Give Peace a Chance
   A group of “long-haired hippies” took over Suite 1742 of Fairmont’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in 1969, and the rest is history.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono Suite
   The world watched as Beatle John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their Bed-In for Peace from May 26 to June 2, 1969.
   Lennon had all the furniture removed except for a mattress and held court to the world's media to protest against the war in Vietnam.
   Staying overnight in the suite, we could feel the “karma” and vibes of that epic sleepover.
   The Lennon gathering included comedian Tommy Smothers, drug guruTimothy Leary and singer Petula Clark, ending with recording “Give Peace a Chance.”
   Fans from around the world continue a pilgrimage to the hotel to see the suite or stay there for their own personal bed-in.
   The John Lennon and Yoko Ono Suite includes framed photos and news articles as well as gold records that adorn the walls.
   Annually on Dec. 8, the anniversary of Lennon's death, roses are left mysteriously outside the door by an unknown sender.
   It is “one of the most popular suites in the world,” and the hotel offers a Bed-In for Peace Package, said Joanne Papineau, regional director, public relations.
   With rates from $799, double occupancy, it includes an overnight, welcome amenity, breakfast in bed or at the Le Montrealais restaurant and a Lennon CD featuring the legendary song. Book by phone only at (514) 861-3511; fairmont.com/queen-elizabeth-montreal
   During Beatlemania in 1964, the “Fab Four” had to get out of town quickly after a concert, fearing a riot and aborted a plan to stay at the hotel.
   Hearing the news, the hotel’s room service captain whipped up a special meal that he delivered to the concert hall.
   Pointe-a-Calliere, the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, has a new exhibition about the iconic band and the hotel offers the Beatles in Montreal package with an overnight, tickets and souvenirs from $239.

   The hits just keep on coming
Berry Gordy’s modest Detroit house is now home to Hitsville USA, the Motown Museum. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Ooh baby, baby, Hitsville USA is paying tribute to the first ladies of Motown.
   Otherwise known as the Motown Museum, this Detroit landmark celebrates the Girl Groups: The grit, the glamour, the glory.
   The world moved to the grooves of Motown music emanating out of the modest Detroit house from 1959 through to 1972 when Berry Gordy's empire relocated to Los Angeles.
    A visitor to the Motown Museum checks out Stevie Wonder’s drums in legendary Studio A. (Jim Fox photo)
   Visitors can see Studio A where the hits by Smokey Robinson, Supremes, Contours and other music greats kept on coming.
   There’s the piano where Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye banged out their hits and can be touched and played by visitors.
   Tours are given of the rooms and there’s an extensive array of artifacts, photographs and memorabilia. motownmuseum.org; (313) 875-2264


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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