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:
"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.
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
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
"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.
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.