Shred This: The Met Will Show Instruments Owned by Jerry Garcia, Chuck Berry, and Other Rock Stars Next Spring

See more than 180 rare instruments and costumes.

Eric Clapton with his Stratocaster guitar. Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is getting ready to rock. A major exhibition of musical instruments that belonged to rock ‘n’ roll legends such as the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Jimmy Page, Steve Miler, and the Rolling Stones, is coming to the New York museum in April 2019.

“Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll,” will feature more than 130 instruments dating between 1939 and 2017 and sourced from more than 70 private and public collections in the US and the UK, according to Rolling Stone. Many of the guitars, drums, paraphernalia, and other items have been locked away for decades and have not been seen publicly since they appeared onstage. Several accompanying archival videos will help bring the instruments to life.

Highlights include Eric Clapton’s legendary “Blackie” Stratocaster, Eddie van Halen’s “Frankenstein,” Jerry Garcia’s “Wolf,” and Chuck Berry’s favorite guitar, which he used between 1957 and 1963. Visitors can also see Keith Moon’s drum kit and Keith Emerson’s synthesizer and organ.

Another standout item is a sculpture made from the remnants of a guitar smashed up by The Who’s Pete Townshend during a 1973 cover shoot for Rolling Stone magazine, shot by Annie Leibovitz.

Alongside the guitars and other instruments, the Met will also show some of rock history’s most iconic stage costumes, including Jimmy Page’s dragon embroidered suit worn during Led Zeppelin concerts between 1975 and 1977. 

But the exhibition isn’t just about rock stars of years past. Instruments belonging to contemporary stars such as St. Vincent, whose signature “Ernie Ball” guitar is on display, will also be part of the show.

Following its run at the Met, which comes to an end October 1, 2019, the show will travel to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in November 2019.


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