But whether you’re a diehard super-fan or you just like good music, Guitar Center’s Hollywood RockWalk is probably right up your alley. Borrowing from Mann’s Chinese Theatre, RockWalk, founded in 1985, displays the handprints and autographs of some of the most famous music pioneers as well as a plethora of impressive memorabilia. Formerly the site of the Oriental Theatre, RockWalk honors those who have made significant contributions to the music industry and whose influence has been felt in rock ’n’ roll and beyond.
The list of RockWalk’s inductees reads like a who’s-who of music gods. Inaugural inductees to RockWalk include Stevie Wonder and Eddie Van Halen, and subsequent inductees have proven to be no less legendary.
Contrary to the system of the Walk of Fame, in which the general public votes for their favorite celebs to be honored, all inductees are chosen by past honorees – those who know the music industry best. Such classic artists as Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and John Lennon have already been inducted, along with new(er) acts Sonic Youth, Run-DMC and Toto (yes, Toto).
However, RockWalk isn’t limited merely to rock stars. It has also honored musicians who have changed the sonic landscape through their technical contributions. For instance, Ted McCarty, creator of the Gibson Les Paul guitar, has been honored as well as Jim Marshall, founder of Marshall amps.
In addition to the array of handprints, from Black Sabbath to Smokey Robinson (and a particularly colorful contribution from Lemmy of Motorhead, who chose to imprint his middle finger from both hands), RockWalk has a great collection of rock artifacts. There’s a "Gabba Gabba Hey" Ramones flag right next to memorabilia from KISS members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss (a jet-black Les Paul and a pair of gargantuan platform boots, respectively). A signed set list from a Led Zeppelin show is just adjacent to a drum kit from The Who’s Keith Moon. B.B. King’s famous guitar "Lucille" and the amp of Les Paul himself also decorate the glass cases.
July’s inductees to RockWalk include Bill Haley & the Comets and Steve Miller. As with all induction ceremonies, fans have the opportunity to attend and watch their favorite musicians go down in history.
Of course, in addition to the handprints and memorabilia of the stars, visitors can always take a look at Guitar Center’s wares. RockWalk may just convince you to take up the drums or pick up an axe yourself.
For more information, visit www.rockwalk.com.