Isaac Tigrett grew up in Jackson, Tennessee a place half way between Memphis and Nashville where hope, music and the human spirit thrive together. In his early career Mr. Tigrett’s focus was on the evolution of music and pop culture and their impact on society. At the age of 22 he created the world famous Hard Rock Cafe in London, was the concept creator, and asked his friend, revolutionary artist Alan Aldridge to design a logo reminiscent of the Chevrolet emblem. That symbol is arguably one the most recognized brand marks of the 20th Century.

In January of 1983 Tigrett returned to Jackson, from London, to open his second and the U.S.A.’s first Hard Rock Café as a favor to his mother who wanted one in the shopping center she was developing. In Jackson, Tigrett identified the core strength that Hard Rock Café had in a world market. It would be the first authentic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This was a fundamental shift in brand strategy that would resonate with fans worldwide.

Tigrett re-launched The new Hard Rock Café brand in 1984 on 57TH Street in New York City with long time friend and partner Dan Aykroyd. Tigrett wowed the music world and its fans with his new creation of The World’s First authentic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Musicians worldwide rushed to donate their rock memorabilia to Tigrett’s Rock Museum for time immemorial. A week later he re-launched the original London, Hard Rock Cafe as Europe’s First Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tigrett went on to develop The Hard Rock Hall of Fame in Stockholm, Tokyo, Dallas, Reykjavik, Boston, Orlando, Cancun and Washington DC.

Isaac Tigrett grew up in Jackson, Tennessee and was deeply touched by the music of West Tennessee and the South.40243_1572236307585_5768832_n He is best known for creating and then building two of the most recognizable brands ever created: The Hard Rock Café and The House of Blues.

A series of life changing events, the tragic death of his younger brother, a few months later his older brother, and the divorce of his parents had a resounding effect. Isaac began to experience voices, what he later came to know as messages from Sai Baba, an Avatar in his second incarnation, living in India. For years Isaac researched and traveled in an effort to find the then unknown source of the disconcerting voices he was hearing.

As a gift for his mother, Isaac decided to ship a Rolls Royce from London to Jackson, but as the car was being unloaded off the boat in New York, someone offered him many times his original investment. He began importing used British ultra luxury cars to the U.S. making enough money to start the Hard Rock Café in London. He offered his friend, Peter Morton, half interest if Peter’s father would match Isaac’s investment, Peter’s dad refused to invest. Isaac gave Peter half interest anyway.

In his youth Isaac was struck by the resonance he felt from the Chevrolet Emblem. He decided to pattern the firstAn early version from Alan Aldridge toward a Chevy emblem. Hard Rock logo in that shape and asked Alan Aldridge, the world famous Beatles designer to refine it.  The result became one of the most familiar and positive brands ever created.

By this time Isaac, a Christian, had located Sai Baba, a now world famous holy man and Avatar, Isaac become a devotee and he began to study this holy man’s teaching. All aspects of The Hard Rock Café were based on the lessons of this Hindu Master. Love All, Serve All became the foundation for what would become an international business. Isaac understood that in Europe and in the U.K., an extremely class driven society, the social revolution with rock music as its soundtrack, could be symbolized by the first “class-less” restaurant. It was an instant success on June 14, 1971.

Almost everyone on the planet knows that the first Hard Rock Cafe was opened in London, but very few know the second HRC was not in New York in 1984, or Toronto, or Los Angeles.  Seriously, you can win a bar bet with this information!

The second Hard Rock Cafe was opened in Jackson, TN.  A place reverently mentioned on the menus and on the walls of the Hard Rock in London as the hometown of Isaac Tigrett and the place from which Isaac admits he drew his inspiration.  It said on the menu, God Bless Jackson, Tennessee.

Isaac opened his second Hard Rock Cafe in Jackson, TN on January 20, 1983.  He opened New York in 1984 and in Sweden in 1985 and Dallas in 1986.  Growth was beginning to happen so quickly, in so many cities, that it’s hard to keep up with the exact time line, but today the Hard Rock has 191 locations, 157 cafes, 23 hotels and 11 Casinos.

Twenty years, to the day, after founding the Hard Rock, Isaac sold and made the proceeds available to Sai Baba for a 300 bed, free hospital for the poor in one of the most impoverished areas of India.   Isaac directed all aspects of the creation that had been based entirely on the divine vision of Sai Baba. It opened November 22, 1991, with Prime Minister Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao on hand with 3 open heart surgeries, just one year from the start of planning. The facility was designed by Professor Keith Kritchlow who was given a Chair by the King of Saudi Arabia at the Royal College in London. The building’s central dome extends up and intersects with an invisible mirror-image of the entire facility above it, forming what looks like an hourglass.

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While the Hard Rock Cafe became the first and most successful themed food and drink venue on the planet, Isaac had another vision. He wanted to bring the power of Blues and folk art together and design the most perfectly scaled, music venue ever created, each in a major city. Isaac’s vision for the power and the feeling of this ultimate live music venue was profoundly religious. The power of this music, from the heart, and the pain and the fury of life found expression in the original House of Blues symbol, which he again directed Alan Aldridge to design.

HOBlogoA few weeks prior to opening the Chicago House of Blues, the most beloved Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Bernadin wrote a letter to the Chicago Tribune, as he lay dying of cancer. Bernadin objected to the use of the logo which the Cardinal interpreted as the sacred heart of Jesus Christ and the crown of thorns. The city of Chicago immediately suspended all the previously approved permits until the Cardinal’s objections could be addressed.   Dan Akroyd, Isaac’s partner went with Isaac to try and save their opening schedule. They raced to the hospital, worked for hours addressing the Cardinal’s concerns and at one point Akroyd leaned over to Isaac and whispered, “Don’t you think it’s a little absurd that two guys like us are negotiating for the “Sacré-Cœur”. They reached an agreement and revised the logo, the Cardinal signed an endorsement… and died hours later.

 

Few people know that both The House of Blues and The Hard Rock Café have the same Mission Statement:

To create a profitable, principled global entertainment company,

Celebrating the diversity and brotherhood of world cultures through music and art,

Promoting racial and spiritual harmony through Love, Peace, Truth, Righteousness and Non-Violence.

sarva6This symbol is the Sarva Dharma. It symbolizes one of the most profound teachings and was one of many religious images symbolizing the teachings of Sai Baba. Beneath it was the phrase, One God, Many Paths. Sai Baba never presented himself as a messiah figure. He welcomed followers of all faiths as seekers of the same God. The symbols of the world’s religions are displayed in its outer ring.  For more see:  http://www.jackson-tn.com/the-tigretts/spiritual-journey/

 

Did you know?

Two young boys walked to school each day in Bemis, Tennessee* in the early 1940’s. The younger boy, Carl Perkins was 12, the older boy was Bill Boyd, who was 14 years old. It would have been hard to imagine then, that Carl would create a new Rock music form and Bill would change the way music is recognized by the music industry.

Carl Perkins gave birth to rock music with the first song to top all three charts in 1956—Blue Suede Shoes. Bill Boyd who would spin new records on radio and interview and promote new artists. Bill would go on to help create and serve as the Director of the Academy of Country Music, then called the Academy of Western Music.

Knowing what we know now, their conversation might have gone like this, “Carl, what are you going to do when you grow up?….Well Bill, I am going to write songs and perform them for audiences around the world. What about you Bill? I am going to promote you and others and start a show, one of the first ever-televised awards show on TV, that will be seen by millions to allow the music industry to recognize excellence. ”

Stay tuned…more to come on both Carl Perkins, the artist, and Bill Boyd, the promoter! The Carnegie Collection includes important artifacts from both men’s lives.

If you ask Garth Brooks who was his major influences it would be Carl Perkins and Bill Boyd. Both were instrumental in Garth’s career and success!

Photo of Bill Boyd spinning records 1950s

*Bemis, TN is 3 miles outside of Jackson, TN

SILENCE!!

FirstConcert2016The Carnegie started life as a library, it was a place where silence was expected.  But today the Carnegie has a different role to play.
We have hundreds of priceless guitars on display at the Carnegie Museum here in Jackson, Tennessee.  (Click on the poster above so you can see it!) They sit quietly on display locked behind glass… silent for years since Carl Perkins and Sonny Boy Williamson, WS Holland and many others, made them play some of the most innovative music ever created.
What if we dusted them off and summoned the music that is inside each of these instruments?  What if we invited YOU to come and hear this?  You might see a ghost, but more important you will experience a moment in Jackson’s history that you may remember forever.  For sure you’ll see Ricky Ray and hear some blues come from our musical instruments, it’s the music we grew up on, coming to life again.
Help us bring this music alive again at the Carnegie.  February 5, 2016 7:00 PM — Tune in to The Bill Way Show – WNWS – 101.5 FM 8:00-11:00 AM Weekdays for more details.

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Randy Williams asked his wife, Sandy, to go with him to hear Carl Perkins in 1993 at a small venue in Jackson, TN called The Bandstand.  Carl told his stories and sang his songs to the audience that night.  It was immediately apparent to Randy that Carl Perkins had written some of the most important early rock songs, and that he was still a consummate performer.  As Carl said goodnight, Randy noticed that Carl put his guitar pick in his pants pocket, so Randy asked his wife to ask Carl for it.  Carl said he was honored, and that guitar pick became the first of hundreds of guitars and memorabilia that fill the Carnegie today.  Randy became a friend of “Mr. Carl”, as Randy always called him, and that friendship led Randy to begin a collection of music memorabilia, instruments, costumes, letters, records, microphones and even guitar picks.

Carl’s efforts to raise money for the prevention of child abuse made a real impression on Randy, who requested his company, ABB, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland with an office in Milan, Tennessee, to help fund the effort in Jackson requesting and receiving $15,000 in 2011.  Since then Randy has donated Carl Perkins memorabilia to be auctioned for the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, an annual benefit held in Jackson each February.

When Steve Little and Jimmy Exum and the Carnegie Board began the planning for the Carnegie music exhibits they asked Randy if he would be willing to put some of his collection on loan there. Over a 3 month period, Randy spent more than 400 hours designing all the displays, framing the photographs, mounting original letters, records and sound gear.  There are more than 400 pieces in Randy’s collection and the Carnegie has 500 pieces on display in total.

The idea to collect Silvertone guitars, which line the ceilings came through Carl Perkins from George Harrison, of the Beatles.  Carl told Randy that George believed that Sears and Roebuck was responsible for the early growth of rock music because just about anyone could afford to buy a $7 guitar from the Sears and Roebuck mail order catalog.  Almost every variety of Silvertone guitar is on display. Both Carl and George started out playing Silvertone Guitars when they were kids.

Randy is Marketing Manager for ABB in the Utilities Market Segment and continues to live in Jackson with his wife Sandy.