Sneak Preview of Memorabilia Going Up at Hard Rock Atlantic City, Straight from the Archives
I recently had the opportunity to go where few ever do -- the archives vault at Hard Rock International headquarters.
I flew down to Orlando, FL, to meet with memorabilia specialists and curators to get a preview of the unique pieces that will call Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City home very soon.
We first hung out in the 'Roots of Rock' room inside Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Studios, where music and memorabilia historian Jeff Nolan told us about the first ever Beatles marquee (which hangs in the room), and a wallet belonging to a man mistakenly thought to have died in the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, and Richie Valens.
Jeff Nolan was the coolest guy in the room, from his pork pie hat, to his born-for-radio voice, to his wealth of off-the-cuff knowledge of what he calls 'story pieces' of memorabilia in every single Hard Rock Cafe and in the vault. Nolan eloquently refers to Hard Rock as the 'preeminent music museum'.
It was a surreal experience seeing and touching items once worn or owned by some of the biggest names in music. Memorabilia curators Jerry Fraize and Gio Taliferro introduced myself and other members of the South Jersey media to Michael Jackson's sequined glove, Madonna's high school yearbook, Christina Aguilera's leather chaps, and more.
Every piece of memorabilia inside the Hard Rock vault has a story. There were even many handwritten lyrics by the likes of John Lennon, Jimmy Hendrix' personal address book, and the guitar Joe Walsh used to record the famous licks heard on 'Life In The Fast Lane' by The Eagles.
Some of the pieces set to be permanently installed at Hard Rock Atlantic City are seriously impressive. From items once belonging to Nicki Minaj and Ed Sheeran, to colorful theatrical masks worn by NSYNC, to a microphone used by Kurt Cobain not long before his death, to James Brown's gold crown.
And the clothing! It was like being in the vintage closet of my dreams! Ensembles worn by Jackson 5 in the early 70s, over-the-top capes worn by Elvis Presley, and Lady Gaga's rubber and wire gown.
Don't let me forget to tell you about The Wall of Guitars that goes from floor to ceiling and horizontally for hundreds of feet, all with authentic autographs from everyone from Eric Clapton to Eddie Van Halen.
Music memorabilia like this is more than just inanimate objects. Each piece has a story and a place in music history, and being allowed inside the Hard Rock archives was like being in a time machine. I can't wait to see how the memorabilia bound for Atlantic City will look once it's all framed and installed.
Check out some photos of my trip to Hard Rock Orlando and more pieces from the Hard Rock Vault archives.
I want to give a huge thank you to the entire team at Hard Rock Atlantic City, Orlando, and at the International Headquarters for this incredible tour and exploration of the vault. And, I hope YOU are as excited to see the memorabilia bound for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in A.C. up close, too! Hard Rock is not a theme restaurant, it's a cultural experience and museum!