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Sounds Good to Me exhibit logo

Recognize any names or sounds?

Famous and not-so-famous Minnesota musicians share the scene at the Minnesota Historical Society's exhibit Sounds Good To Me: Music in Minnesota.

Although not intended as a "hall of fame," the exhibit will give visitors a rare chance to see a few of the costumes, instruments and artifacts of famous Minnesota music-makers, such as Bob Dylan, Soul Asylum, Prince, the Trashmen and others. A sampling includes:

Steven Greenberg
"Talk about it, talk about it, talk about it ..." Visitors can remix tracks and "sing about it" on Minnesotan Steven Greenberg's 1980 disco hit, "Funkytown" in the "Studio 4U." A recording studio, complete with a control room and a "live" room for singing, tells the story of the state's recording industry as well as information about Greenberg's No. 1 hit that was written and produced in the land of 10,000 lakes.

Flyte Tyme Productions
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis's Minneapolis company, Flyte Tyme Productions, is a national mega-hit maker. Flyte Tyme has helped superstars soar, producing hits for Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men and other artists. The company, headquartered in Edina, operates with a staff of seven and demonstrates that a little company can make big hits in today's music industry. Items on display in Sounds Good to Me include platinum and gold records for Janet Jackson's "Control," a test pressing of her recording "Miss You Much," a tape machine used to hand-splice and re-record audiotape, a 1991 Grammy winner for the Twin Cities-based group Sounds of Blackness, the producers' 1987 Minnesota Music Award, as well as track sheets and session reports.

Bob Dylan
Hibbing's own Bob Dylan helped stir the social consciousness of the nation in the 1960s. In 1986, Dylan and his entourage requested some of the comforts of "home" in a technical rider to his contract when he played with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Visitors can see a fanciful sculptural representation of what items were on that list.

Augie Garcia
St. Paul Westsider Augie Garcia opened for Elvis in 1956 at the St. Paul Auditorium. Legend has it that Garcia's frenetic performance was too much for Col. Tom Parker, Presley's manager, and Parker pulled Garcia from the stage. Garcia's trademark Bermuda shorts as well as a newspaper article on the performance and other items are exhibited.

Garrison Keillor
Garrison Keillor's signature white suit, worn in the early days of his public radio show, "Prairie Home Companion," was not a fashion statement of a modern-day dandy. Rather, Keillor wore the suit because his troupe often performed in poorly lit auditoriums, and the white suit was a visual draw. Keillor's autoharp, distinct in many of his songs, is also on display, along with lyrics and advertisements for the Powdermilk Biscuit Band.

Prince
The movie "Purple Rain" made Prince and the "Minneapolis sound" household words. A tambourine used by the artist during the 1984 Purple Rain tour is included in the exhibit.

The Trashmen
"A-well-a everybody's heard about the bird ... B-b-b-bird, bird, bird, b-bird's the word ..." Sound familiar? The Trashmen had lot of people singing along with these lyrics to their 1963 hit. The Trashmen got their start in a Minneapolis garage, and their hit "Surfin' Bird," released on Minneapolis' Soma Records, made waves as a national hit. Steve Wahrer's drum set from the group's early years is displayed.

Soul Asylum
Back when Soul Asylum bass player Karl Mueller played in the group's forerunner band, Loud Fast Rules, his mother, Mary, kept notes when the neighbors complained about the loud music coming from either the family garage in the summer or the basement in the winter. A pollution specialist from the City of Minneapolis, acting on neighbor's complaints, sent the Muellers a letter advising the young musicians about laws outlining local decibel levels. The first bass that Mueller owned is included in the exhibit, as well as the letter from the city and Mary's hand-written notes.

Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651/296-6126, 1-800-657-3773 or TTY 651/282-6073.

[Sounds Good to Me home page]
[Night at the ballroom]
[Mix your own "Funkytown"]
[Encounter some famous Minnesota musicians]
[Return to Museums and Historic Places]