Hard Rock is known for many things: their rockin’ music, one-of-a-kind restaurants, trendy hotels, colorful casinos, and legendary live music performances. However, one of their most impressive claims to fame is their Hard Rock memorabilia.
With dozens of Hard Rock locations, each location features its own unique collection of Hard Rock memorabilia. Discover some of the highlights of the Hard Rock memorabilia collection and read about what makes each location, including the Future Home of Hard Rock Cincinnati, so spectacular.
It all started when Eric Clapton gifted a guitar to the original Hard Rock Cafe in London where it was hung up on the wall to display. Since then, the Hard Rock memorabilia collection has grown to include over 86,000 pieces around the world, making it the largest collection of its kind. From guitars to shoes to jackets and hats, the list goes on and on, but there is something special about each piece of memorabilia.
The story goes that Eric Clapton wanted to give Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, the founders of the first Hard Rock Cafe in London 1971, a guitar as a gift. When Tigrett told Clapton that he didn’t play, Eric Clapton suggested that he hang it on the wall. The next week, another guitar arrived from Pete Townshend, lead singer of the Who, with a note attached saying “Mine’s just as good as his!” And so the Hard Rock memorabilia collection began.
The guitar that started it all: a Red Fender. The red guitar has become an icon after Eric Clapton adopted this guitar for many legendary concerts and guitar solos. The fame of this guitar has even transformed into the Eric Clapton Stratocaster, a Fender guitar that is also a homage to Clapton himself. This fame and notoriety surrounding the guitar is perfectly showcased at the Hard Rock among their memorabilia.
There is truly no limit to the treasure trove of items in the Hard Rock memorabilia collection, from locks of hair to psychedelic buses and everything in between. Hard Rock has captured iconic moments in rock ‘n’ roll history that live on through the collection. Here are just a few of the memorabilia highlights from some of music’s most influential legends.
Perhaps one of the larger pieces of Hard Rock memorabilia is Elvis Presley’s Rolls Royce Phantom V, which goes above and beyond the standard luxury of a Rolls Royce. With a custom sound system, an in-car phone, and a cabinet with delicate glassware, the car was truly decked out. After a number of refurbishments and quite a few new coats of paint, Presley’s car is now on display at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
In keeping with tradition, the Hard Rock Cafe London features an unfathomable amount of guitars in their collection of Memorabilia. As the original Hard Rock Cafe and one of their busiest locations, the restaurant attracts thousands of people per day. Their walls are adorned with guitars from rock n roll legends: Tom Petty, Lenny Kravitz, Queen, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and so many more.
The Hard Rock memorabilia collection houses many gems from Elton John’s career, each with their own unique story and origin. Located at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain is Elton John’s famous British palace guard-style jacket. With classic regal red and brass buttons, the jacket was a statement piece. Icon Elton John has constantly pushed the boundaries of style throughout his enduring career with many statement items that helped define rock ‘n’ roll fashion.
Shakira and Rihanna are two women who helped transform the pop music scene with their songs “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Umbrella” ranking as two of the most downloaded songs of all time. Known for their talented vocals, enthralling performances, and stellar careers, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, FL displays two distinctive, custom outfits worn by Rihanna and Shakira during on-stage performances.
Geddy Lee, the lead vocalist, bassist, and keyboardist for Canadian powerhouse rock band Rush has seen many bass guitars in his career. But Hard Rock displays one of his favorites: a black Rickenbacker bass. Something that distinguishes Geddy’s bass from others is the bridge he added aftermarket. Bridges can help with tuning stability so players can fine tune the instrument’s sound more easily. Geddy is known for adding rocking bridges to his bass to help the guitar keep up with his playing.
Yet another pop star, Katy Perry has contributed quite a few pieces to the Hard Rock Memorabilia collection, many of which include her often glamorous and outrageous outfits featured in some of her debut performances. While performing at MTV’s Los Premios awards show in 2008, she wore a huge pink gown while singing her smash hit “I Kissed a Girl.” During her performance (and in the dress), she dove into a giant birthday cake, which the Hard Rock memorabilia team spent hours cleaning when they acquired the dress.
With a collection like no other, the Hard Rock memorabilia tradition lives on and it is constantly growing as Hard Rock opens more and more unique locations. Hard Rock continues to celebrate accomplishments in music and performance, and as their brand grows, so too does their collection.
Hard Rock’s newest hotel and casino locations like The Future Home of Hard Rock Cincinnati will soon add their own collection of memorabilia to the mix! Get to know the Hard Rock brand and discover more about the memorabilia that helps make Hard Rock so unique.