New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to an overwhelming collection of historical art objects, including a mummy mask from 60 A.D., Greek bronzes from the 8th century B.C. and the original “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting. Starting April 8th, it will also welcome a different type of antiques — from the guitar Chuck Berry used to record “Johnny B. Goode” to the knives Keith Emerson would stab into his Hammond organ during the crazier Emerson, Lake & Palmer days.
We can now see Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstein guitar in almost gruesome close-up; with its pickups and modifications resembling open wounds, it looks like guitar surgery gone bad. A small curvy chunk under glass, with a bit of wire protruding from it, turns out to be a piece of the Stratocaster that Jimi Hendrix played — and burned — at the Monterey Pop festival in 1967. A guitar owned by Joe Strummer comes with a set list for a Clash show still taped to its side.
Five and a half years in the making, “Play It Loud” includes contributions from a wide range of sources. Many of the pieces were donated by collectors. Others come from estates: Yoko Ono donated the 12-string Rickenbacker that John Lennon played on tour in 1964 and on the A Hard Day’s Night album, and Jake Clemons contributed the Selmer Mark VI sax his uncle Clarence used on “Thunder Road” and “Jungleland” and onstage with the E Street Band. A closer look reveals a loop welded onto the horn in two different areas so Clemons could hold the sax with a guitar strap.
And so much more. This is a must see for me.