The worldwide Hard Rock Cafe chain is opening its vault of music memorabilia to offer the public a glimpse at its treasures, trinkets and trophies. And while ogling such items as Jim Morrison's leather pants and the over-the-top capes worn by Elvis and Elton John, music fans can also brush up on their rock history.
The Hard Rock Vault in Orlando, Florida, will give patrons a peek at its collection, spread out over 17,000 square feet, at a "soft launch" on Monday (December 23), though music fans must wait until January 16 for the official ribbon-cutting, according to a Hard Rock spokesperson. Among the items on display are B.B. King's "Lucille" guitar, Dee Dee Ramone's guitar and black leather jacket, Buddy Holly's signature horn-rimmed glasses, the motorcycle jacket and boots Bruce Springsteen wore on the cover of his Born to Run album, and the two items that started it all for the Hard Rock franchise — the guitars of Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend that hung above the bar in the original Hard Rock Cafe in London (click for photos).
Besides the expected bric-a-brac that is similar to what hangs in Hard Rock Cafes around the world, the Vault offers a virtual time machine called the Total Immersion Tour that allows folks to journey through influential eras like the late '70s punk explosion ("The Back Alley"), the mind-bending '60s ("The Psychedelic Meltdown") and the British Invasion ("The Light and the Dark"), so named for two bands, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, that were almost diametrically opposed in their approach, but together wound up changing the face of music forever.
And what nest of nostalgia would be complete without an homage to Elvis? "The King's Chamber" is the place to go to find items from Presley's early days as a wide-eyed, blues-loving kid from Tupelo, Mississippi, on through his bejeweled reign over the Las Vegas strip.