Rocking in Paris

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Feature wall in the 'Rock'n'Roll' 39-59' exhibition

View of the exhibition Rock’n’Roll 39-59 From June 22 to October 28, 2007 Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Photo : André Morin

I was in Paris last weekend and went to a cool exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, an amazing glass fronted building near Montparnasse cemetery (I had just been to visit the graves of Samuel Beckett, Serge Gainsbourg and Charles Baudelaire). The exhibition was 'Rock'n'Roll 39-59', which looked at the birth and evolution of rock'n'roll in the USA from its blues, jazz and gospel roots, right up to the late '50's.

I really liked the huge screen with comfy bean-bags you could lie on while watching footage of stars like Chuck Berry and of course Elvis, in a film that told the whole story of rock'n'roll. It made you realise just how crazy singers like Jerry Lee Lewis were and how shocking he probably was in his time. Of course Little Richard seems pretty odd now, so imagine his impact on audiences in the 1950's! Though where were the female performers? I like Wanda Jackson and she wasn't in the film, though she was in the music pods that we listened to later on. We also saw some priceless objects, such as the actual guitar that Elvis used during his first recordings at Sun Records! 

It actually got me thinking about the forthcoming exhibition at World Museum Liverpool, 'The Beat Goes On', which will show from 2 July 2008 – 1 Nov 2009. It will look at the history of Merseyside's music scene and celebrate the creativity of the city. Keep an eye out for more details on what you can expect to see in this exhibition...