A visit to the Los Angeles Grammy Museum…time well spent!

It’s the weekend. Time to have a little fun, don’t you think? Oh, a museum isn’t fun? Well, come with me into the city. I think you’ll like where we’re going.

Although our home is only 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles, we Angelenos don’t measure distance in miles. Oh no! We measure in time! So on a good day, it would take us 30 minutes to get downtown. On almost any other occasion, double that!

As you know, I don’t let traffic issues prevent me from enjoying what the city has to offer. I just plan accordingly.

The Southland’s sprawling geography makes for some complications with public transportation, but for the past ten years we’ve had a favorite way to get into the heart of the action without dealing with traffic or expensive parking.

And off we went to the Grammy Museum.

Are you familiar with the Grammy’s? No, it’s not a pet name for grandmother.

Grammy is a trademarked name for the gold-plated Gramophone awards presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States.

GrammyAwards are presented yearly for Album of the Year (full album), Record of the Year (single song), Song of the Year (writer/composer), and Best New Artist, with dozens of other technical awards.

Although the Grammy Museum opened its doors in 2008, this was our first visit.

Exterior Grammy Museum on Figueroa

I was most interested in a major exhibit dedicated to 7-time GRAMMY AWARD winner Ringo Starr.

Ringo Sign

“RIngo: Peace & Love” spans the famed drummer’s life growing up in Liverpool, his time as musician Rory Storm, the Beatles era, followed by his life and career as a solo artist. Rare photographs, documents and personal letters, as well as his drum kits, Sgt Pepper suit and the red jacket worn during the filming of The Beatles’ rooftop concert were just a portion of this really outstanding exhibit.

Did you know Ringo also paints? He often sells his pieces for charitable purposes, and one of my personal favorites, “Knot for Violence”  was on display. Note the word “imagine” in the design, a direct reference to his friend and fellow Beatle, John Lennon.

The museum is completely packed with musical history. There are so many listening booths and video opportunities that anyone with a love of music could easily spend the entire day. Woody Guthrie to the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan to Adele and everyone in between–there is more to the museum than just attention paid to Grammy winners.

One floor gives credit to the writers of award winning music, featuring the original handwritten scores on envelopes and napkins, and there is even more with interactive stations devoted to studio profiles and technology. Every genre of music and the music industry is well represented.

All things Grammy would naturally include a nod to fashion. How about elaborate costuming worn by Diana Ross or Whitney Houston, or maybe Michael Jackson?

But all this glamor, and can you believe it?  NO PHOTOS ALLOWED! That was the rule, and I tend towards obeying the rules. Most of the time.

The Ringo exhibit was guarded and I was sure to behave myself.

But there are 30,000 square feet in this full to overflowing museum, and while one group was snapping photos of the Jenni Rivera exhibit, I hurriedly whipped out my iPhone.

The photos are a little shaky. Sorry about that. I wasn’t sure if getting caught with a camera might result in a permanent ban from the museum, and I would really enjoy visiting from time to time. It was such a pleasure!

The Grammy Museum is at 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, and open daily. It’s worth the visit and the time! Who doesn’t enjoy music?

I’ll leave you with one of my favorites, highlighted at the Dylan/Cash listening booth.

I hope you have an excellent weekend and if you want to make your exhale even better, be sure to include a little music!

51 thoughts on “A visit to the Los Angeles Grammy Museum…time well spent!

    • I really do like, Ringo, so I’m curious about the cartoon, Frank. I heard the Cash/Dylan song at the end of a movie soundtrack sometime last year, and I could identify the voice, but was very surprised! I was so delighted to see the video. I remember watching the Johnny Cash show in my youth, but it’s a distant memory! :-)

  1. I love Johnny Cash! And I didn’t know Ringo Starr could paint. I did know he was the narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine. What a lot of talents he has. What an interesting tour and one I would definitely like to do xx

    • The Grammy Museum would be interesting for anyone who enjoys music, Charlie. There is an artist or style for every age and decade, stirring lots of memories. I really like Ringo. I always felt he was a bit overshadowed by the “others” but I was reminded of all his talents while I looked back at 50 years of being such a major force in the music industry! I’m glad I could share a little bit of Los Angeles with you, my friend. :-)

  2. Glad you didn’t get caught and escorted off the premises for taking surreptitious photos! :razz:

    Sounds like a FUN museum to visit ~ the listening booths would be a stellar way to spend time.

    • I enjoyed myself very much at the Grammy Museum, Nancy. I also enjoyed watching the other visitors, of all ages, gravitating to the artists they most enjoy. It was a very lighthearted visit! I am really funny with my camera. I almost can’t resist taking a photo, but at the same time, I really do feel like a criminal. :-)

  3. I just love the song with Dylan and Cash… I never knew they ever did a thing together… this is mind blowing… two great singers together… the museum sounds a lovely place to visit…

    • The Grammy Museum is a wonderful destination, Rob. I heard the Dylan/Cash song at the end of a movie not that long ago, and went on a search to find the recording. I realized I had it on an old record, and I was so excited. But I hadn’t seen the video until I went to the museum, and it made me so nostalgic. Such an intriguing duo, don’t you think?

    • The Dylan/Cash recording is one of my favorites, and I had never seen the video. The museum introduced me to it! And I think a music lover could spend all day just absorbing archival video footage and listening to recordings! It certainly pushed some of my nostalgia buttons! :-)

  4. I was curious as to how exciting this museum would be after passing it on our CASLR Fun Day, but now I’m sold. I’m glad you had such a wonderful time!

    • You’d enjoy it, Cindy. The exterior of the building doesn’t give a clue about how large it is. If you do go, plan to spend a little time! We had company coming to the house that night and I felt rushed! But we’ll be sure to go again! :-)

  5. Although I’ve walked past the Grammy Museum on our way to a concert next door I’ve never been there. I now see that its well worth visiting. We also take the subway when we go downtown. I’m sure people who don’t live here would be surprised to see how clean and safe it is!

    I had a good laugh at your interpretation of the no photo rule. :D If security guards catch someone taking pix with their cell phones at the Museum where I work, the guilty person usually snaps back with something like “I’m not taking pictures you idiot. This is my cell phone not my camera!”

    • You see what a “rules follower” I am, Rosie. I don’t like to buck authority! LOL! you’d really enjoy the Grammy Museum, Rosie. There is so much musical history contained there, and even if you didn’t care to absorb it from the aspect of learning more, just the listening is fun! That’s another thing we can do together. Some of the exhibits revolve, and there’s more on display than I could ever adequately read and enjoy. It would be nice to make frequent visits. :-)

    • I can’t imagine anyone wouldn’t really enjoy the Grammy Museum! It is completely full of memorabilia, history and videos of archival footage that were really fun to watch. I can’t believe it took me so long to visit, but I really didn’t have any idea it was so complete! Hope you have a good weekend. :-)

    • It is a wonderful museum, Meg, and it’s in the same complex as L.A. Live, a really great place for other entertainment and great restaurants. If you’re ever in town on one of your wonderful trips, you might enjoy this, too. :-)

  6. You just brought back some very old, VERY old, memories of seeing Bob Dylan at the Chicago Stadium in the early 1970’s. Yikes, I’m feeling ancient. The stadium, which was home to the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks, was torn down some years ago, but, was a memorable spot for all sorts of entertainment, sports, even a certain infamous political convention.
    What a great place for a “field trip”, Debra. Music is one of those things that can bring people together, can’t it? Glad you weren’t apprehended for taking these pictures – we’d never have been introduced to the Grammy Museum. I tried to take a few photos of a set for a play a few years ago. An usher came up to me, told me no pictures, and then waited for me to delete them from my camera.

    • My brother and sister-in-law managed to get tickets to see Dylan last fall, and I was most jealous! I would have preferred to see him in the 70s when, to me, he was just amazing, but in fact, he is one I’ve never been able to see live. How fun for you to have that memory, Penny! I think the Grammy museum is so engaging because of the listening booths! They reminded me of the “old days” when we could walk into a record shop and hear the vinyl, privately, before we decided if we wanted to purchase. It was another one of those very nostalgic opportunities where it’s very clear that our memories are very often tied to recording artists or particular songs. I would definitely enjoy going more often.

      You made made me laugh picturing you deleting your photos from the camera. I’ve seen that happen to other people, and I’d be so rattled I probably wouldn’t remember how to delete them! My husband teases me when I’m sneaking a picture, though. Apparently I could never make it as a career criminal. I’m too jumpy! LOL!

  7. Sounds like a really interesting place to visit, and a nice way to exhale. Some of those costumes must be worth a fortune! It’s good to find out things you didn’t know about the stars too. Have a great weekend Debra!

    • I really enjoyed the Grammy Museum, Kate. As you could see. As I looked around at other people it delighted me to notice that everyone was smiling. It was just a pleasant experience with a lot of nostalgic connection. It’s rare to be someplace with a museum “feel” that doesn’t ask you to think too hard. I need more of those experiences! :-)

  8. What a great way to spend the day, Debra! So many of our memories have music “playing in the background.” Walking around any music-associated museum would truly be a walk down Memory Lane. I know you enjoyed yourself. :)

  9. What a fabulous day out, Laurie. Ringo seems such a cool guy. I read the article and laughed at him stopping the rain :) He could never have foreseen where life’s journey would take him but at least he’s doing a little good with it (and hanging on to his sanity) Many thanks- I enjoyed the read.

  10. Dear Debra, so much of life seemed to come together at times and form a welcoming cushion for our memories. Just before I came to your blog, I was at Shelley’s and she posted about seeing a man named “Leif” at the airport in Florida. It seems he wowed young girls during the ’70s.

    I left a comment on Shelley’s blog saying that I didn’t know Leif but that my memory would go back to the ’40s and ’50s and to the Vietnam years when Simon and Garfunkle, Dylan, Baez, the Mamas and the Papas, Peter, Paul, and Mary, John Denver, Arlo Guthrie and Woody,Janis Joplin, and Glenn Yarborough sang and helped me understand what was happening in our country. I didn’t mention all those names there but they came to mind in between her posting and yours.

    Then I come to your blog and I’m at the Grammy Museum and listening to Dylan and Johnny Cash–two favorites–sing. How wonderfully complete the circle of Oneness for me–Past, Present, Future caught up in One. You, Shelly, Ringo, Dylan, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, and I–One. Thank you. Peace.

    • That’s just a wonderful comment, Dee. I love the artists you mention from the Vietnam Era. I enjoyed folk music as a much younger person, not really understanding the messages until I was a little older. Music so often does punctuate important parts of our lives, and it always stirs memories. I’m so glad you enjoyed hearing about the Grammy Museum, Dee. I will definitely visit from time to time just to be reminded of some wonderful artists. I loved the Dylan/Cash moment, too! :-)

  11. Thanks Debra. Can’t wait to offer this up as an outing for my brother and his wife the next time they are in town. Who knows, maybe his kids would even enjoy this museum.

  12. The no photos thing can be for good reasons or bad ones – the good reasons are that the flash might damage frail medieaval artworks for example. The bad ones are all about making sure you buy the museum’s official photos. The National Trust seem to have gone down the middle road – photography is ok but no flash. I had a laugh with a volunteer warden in Lacock Abbey – My camera doesn’t have a flash! Anyway, it sounds like a very interesting museum and I enjoyed your report :-)

    • I couldn’t really understand why there wasn’t photography, Martin. The use of flash is almost always prohibited and that could be avoided, and there really wasn’t any competition with with the museum gift shop. It must have something to do with the Grammy Trademark, but for the most part I did behave myself. I will go back to those listening booths from time to time and enjoy some rare recordings. That was really enjoyable! :-)

  13. I’m a big fan of music. I was a big fan of the Grammy’s. I’m a big fan of indie music. But, I think indie music doesn’t mesh with the Grammy. When the Grammy’s started intergrating indie music with pop music, it was hard to swallow it. I stopped following the Grammy’s.

    Anywho, it IS my very first travel destination in California (the second time around). Yeah, too bad, photography is not allowed. Girl, you really are a hard headed!!! :D I remember your Walt Disney Hall post. ;)

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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