Legends of Rock
What makes us human? Some say it's about our innate desire to create: to write, to sing, to dance…it’s what makes us alive.
Since the advent of the Rock genre, our relationship with music has changed. It’s more than good tunes, now, but it’s also about providing community: be it for protesting rebels, queer folks, or those who just have a hard time fitting in.
Each of the misfits and outcasts in our biographical Legends of Rock set has dramatically impacted the world with their careers in music, from breaking down discrimination barriers to inspiring other artists.
Freddie Mercury performing with Queen at the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium, London, July 13, 1985. By Trinity Mirror/Mirrorpix/Alamy via Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Freddie Mercury showed the world that rock can be queer. He was a key figure in promoting queer visibility by being highly visible himself - a combination of fame and his legendary theatrical showmanship. His legacy includes a tragic early death, millions in funding for AIDS research, and the recent blockbuster biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody.
Photo by Lynn Goldsmith via GQ
20-time Grammy winner Bruce Springsteen founded ‘heartland rock’ and wrote for the average working-class Joe. He fought for the middle class in more ways than one, with his most well-known song, Born in the U.S.A., drawing attention to the fact that many American veterans face economic turmoil after they finish their term of service.
Prince performs at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on Feb. 18, 1985. by Liu Heung Shing for AP via NBC.
The Artist (Formerly Known as Prince) was a self-made mastermind and expert in ambiguity. He wrote, recorded, and produced his discography almost entirely by himself, only using a backing band for live performances and some tracks. Only a few have been so successful with so little outside assistance. Though, he is most known for his unclear gender, mysterious sexuality, and ambiguous racial identities. He refused to be labeled or put into a box and inspired many young people to embrace their uniqueness in the same manner.
Nicks performing in 1980 by Ueli Frey via Wikimedia Commons
Stevie Nicks is the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: as the frontwoman of Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist. Beloved as a ‘witchy woman’ by fans because of her mystic air, gothic dress, and use of natural metaphors in songwriting, she told the world that it’s okay to be a bit strange; some of the best people are.
Jimi Hendrix, performing live onstage by David Redfern/Redferns via The Current
The Legends of Rock set wouldn’t be complete without a book about the most legendary guitarist of all time: Jimi Hendrix. His innovation and creativity are truly unmatched. He was the pioneer of sound and is single-handedly responsible for a lot of the effects we hear in modern music every day. His short career as a superstar came to an untimely end by accidental overdose, which cemented him as one of the founding members of ‘The 27 Club.’
The Runaways by Gab Archive/Redferns via NYT
The final book in the set is actually about a band rather than a single performer. Though The Runaways’ frontwoman, Joan Jett, is perhaps the most famous member, a total of nine rockstar ladies cycled in and out of the group in their short recording career. They were each key in defining ‘punk’ as we know it now and crucial in opening up rock music as more than just a boys’ club.
Shop the set and get inspired here.