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Canada’s new music museum keeps the hits coming

Studio Bell
A father and son preview an exhibit in the lobby of Calgary’s National Music Centre. The five-story Studio Bell museum opened July 1.
(Mir)

Want to see the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording studio and the piano on which Elton John composed some of his most famous songs? Head north to Canada where a newly opened music museum in Calgary, Alberta, has these items and more.

Studio Bell, which includes Canada’s National Music Centre, opened July 1. (That’s Canada Day, a national holiday for our neighbors.)

Many names in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame may not be familiar to Americans, but there’s plenty at this new music venue to interest visitors from other countries.

 

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The Rolling Stones’ iconic symbol appears on the back of the 1960s truck that housed the band’s mobile studio.
The Rolling Stones’ iconic symbol appears on the back of the 1960s truck that housed the band’s mobile studio.
(Colin Smith )

For example, in the late 1960s, the Rolling Stones had a studio custom-built inside a large truck that was designed to facilitate recording while the group was on the go. 

The band recorded much of the “Sticky Fingers” songs in the studio on wheels, and other acts such as Bob Marley, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin did likewise, according to a news release.

Other must-sees from the museum’s  eclectic collection include:

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— One of the massive Kimball theater organs used when live music accompanied silent movies.

— The piano on which Elton John composed the music for his first five albums.

— TONTO, the world’s largest analog synthesizer, used in the 1970s by musicians such as Stevie Wonder and the Isley Brothers.

Studio Bell has five floors of exhibition space as well as a 300-seat performance hall.

The complex also includes the original King Edward Hotel, built at  the turn of the 20th century, which morphed into a blues club called the King Eddy before falling into disrepair. Now renovated, it again will serve as a live music venue.

A rendering of the exterior Studio Bell, a sprawling music complex in Calgary, Canada.
A rendering of the exterior Studio Bell, a sprawling music complex in Calgary, Canada.
(Mir )

The museum is evidence of Calgary’s growing music scene. Last fall, Canada Boy Vinyl, the country’s only producer of vinyl records, opened in the city. The record maker is not open for public tours.

Metal discs from which globs of vinyl are pressed into records at Canada Boy Vinyl, the country’s only producer of vinyl records.
Metal discs from which globs of vinyl are pressed into records at Canada Boy Vinyl, the country’s only producer of vinyl records.
(Kelly Hofer )
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Museum tickets cost $18 for adults and $11 for children 3 to 12 years old. There’s also a calendar of live performances.

Info: Studio Bell, 850 4 Street SE, Calgary; (800) 661-1678

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