Whether you think that the chain is a brilliant brand or an over-commercialized farce, the unique mix of classic rock music, cocktails and burgers has made the Hard Rock franchise a hit since it opened its doors to the first cafe back in 1971 London.
But one aspect that impresses even the harshest critics is the range of unique memorabilia on show at their various cafes – and now also hotels. In fact, more often than not it’s at the Hard Rock Hotels (the first of which opened in 1995) where the most impressive collectibles and legendary relics are on display.
Besides these hotels’ brand restaurants and casinos (where, predictably, you’ll find a Guns N Roses slot machine tucked in between the more classic slots), Hard Rock Hotels boast personal belongings, fashion items, instruments and handwritten lyrics from some of the most iconic stars of all time.
If you’re a fan of heavy metal, glam metal, or classic rock, then you’ll be intrigued by these great pieces of memorabilia that can be found at Hard Rock hotels around the world.
Paul Stanley’s Double-Neck Guitar – Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Though the first multi-neck electric guitar was sold in the ’50s, it wasn’t until the ’80s that the instrument became associated with a number of hard rock bands. One of such bands was KISS, in part thanks to music videos like Hard Luck Woman, where Paul Stanley sports the double guitar alongside Ace Frehley. Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth would also play the multi-neck electric guitar at concerts, which allows for a musician to play both 6-string and 12-string without having to switch instruments.
The first doubleneck guitar of its kind was created by Gibson, and while Ace Frehley has always been loyal to the Gibson, Paul Stanley was known for rocking the B.C. Rich doubleneck on the 1987-1988 Crazy Nights Tour. It may look like this unusual instrument is made of two guitars, crudely sawn down the middle and glued together, but that’s far from the reality. The guitar is meticulously crafted by hand – and plays like a charm. You can see Stanley’s B.C. Rich Doubleneck on display in the Velvet Bar, third floor of the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando.
Tony Iommi’s Pedalboard – Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Stanley’s guitar isn’t the only piece of unique musical equipment on this list. Also available at a Hard Rock Hotel Orlando is the custom-made pedal board of Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi between 1980 and 1997. This device is behind the sound manipulation Iommi employed during Black Sabbath concerts, helping define the band’s distinctive sound overall. What made Iommi’s sound board so especially good? In short – because it was built by the guitar equipment expert Pete Cornish. Cornish is credited with being a key figure in the transition from single-effect pedals to multi-effect units, and he created pedal boards for musical artists as big as Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen, Dire Straits and Paul McCartney.
Slash’s Hat – Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis
Guitar legend Slash is possibly as well known for as extravagant fashion sense as he is for his epic guitar skills. His signature look includes – besides the curly black hair and shades – a top hats. Straight from his private collection of accessories and garments comes this rather menacing, but classically Slash, ‘snake hat’. See it on display at the Hard Rock Hotel in Panama Megapolis, where the musician’s B.C. Rich Mockingbird electric guitar is also showcased.
Nikki Sixx’s Motorcycle – Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas
Mötley Crüe came to epitomize the reckless, hedonistic lifestyle of rock stars in the eighties – which of course included driving around on badass motorcycles. The band’s members incorporated their love for bikes into their band image, and are even featured with their bikes on the album cover of Girls, Girls, Girls. Famously, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx would drive on stage with their beloved bikes at concerts, and their association with the notorious Hell’s Angels gang is well-documented. It goes without saying, therefore, that Nikki Sixx’s Harley Davidson on display at Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas is a real treat for any fans of the glam metal band.
John Bonham’s Jacket and Drum Gear – Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
As one of the most legendary drummers ever, for one of the most legendary bands of all times – any equipment and/or fashion piece once owned by John Bonham is going to fit in nicely at a Hard Rock Hotel. The British drummer is remembered for his speed, his distinctive sound, and rhythmic improvisation. True to the wild, free-loving spirit of Led Zeppelin, Bonham would also sport quite the bohemian look behind his Ludwig drum set. This Native American-style jacket was worn by Bonham during some of the band’s very earliest performances, and is on display at the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast…alongside one of his original drum kits!
Planning a trip to any of these destinations in the near future? You don’t need to stay at the Hard Rock Hotels to ogle at the memorabilia, so if you’re passing by a resort, simply pop in to see one of these iconic items up close. You’ll earn some bragging rights in the process, but above all you’ll feel closer to the amazing history of these legendary musicians.