MUSEUM HISTORY & PHOTOS
Rockabilly is the term used to describe the unique combination of early rock and roll and hillbilly music which became popular in the early 50s thanks to acts like Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and Bill Haley.
The International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame, Inc. and Museum is the brainchild of Henry Harrison of Jackson. Harrison felt it was appropriate for the museum to be in Jackson since the city is the hometown of rockabilly star Carl Perkins and is located between Memphis (home of rock & roll and blues) and Nashville (home of country and hillbilly music). The museum traces the history and highlights of rockabilly music and features rare memorabilia and photographs. The first group of people were inducted to the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame at a ceremony in on April 15, 2000 and groups have been inducted every year since. A panel of Rockabilly artists and notables selects the inductees.
The museum celebrated its birth and groundbreaking ceremony during Rockabilly Fest 2000 on April 15, at an event that featured concerts, celebrity appearances, historic videos and a dance with late 50s dress style. There was live music from 12:00 noon to 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Part of the historic part of the museum are videotaped interviews with the people who created the music. The taping of these videos began on November 3, 1999 and to date include interviews with Brenda Lee, Wanda Jackson, Bill Haley's Original Comets, The Jordanaires, Ace Cannon, Maria Elena Holly (widow of Buddy Holly), Tommy Allsup (one of Buddy Holly's Crickets, D.J. Fontana (Elvis Presley's first drummer), Shelby Singleton (current owner of Sun Recording Studios who worked with Sam Phillips at the original Sun Studio), Bob Moore (bass guitarist who played on a number of Rockabilly hits), Bill Griggs (music historian and expert on Rockabilly music), and Rockabilly author Billy Poore. Most of the videos were shot at the Sun Recording Studio offices in Nashville by Jackson television station WBBJ, an ABC affiliate.