Backstage with Sandy Kenyon: Rock and Roll history at the Met

NEW YORK (WABC) -- If you take a right by the Romans at the Metropolitan Museum of Art these days, you'll find Chuck Berry's guitar...and that's not all.

Beyond it are many more iconic instruments, a history of rock and roll in a single exhibit called "Play It Loud."

"We really wanted to tackle the subject of musical instruments and the many different ways that rock and roll musicians have used them," Department of Musical Instruments Curator Jayson Kerr Dobney said. "The muse for the creation of music, the tools for the performing of music, and for us as an art museum, it was was really important that we represent the visual muses."

It is the result of a collaboration between a couple of cultural institutions: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Met.

"I was really keen to be able to loan whatever I could to make it come along," Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page said. "And I'm sure that everybody who was approached felt the same way."

The exhibit is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

"When I was about 23 years old, I was here in New York, and there was a band called Mountain and a great guitarist named Leslie West," the Steve Miller Band's Steve Miller said. "And I was pestering Leslie all the time, going 'Leslie, how do you do this? How do you get that tone? Show me this lick. Please, please, please.' He got so tired of me, he picked up one of his guitars and he said, 'Here, you can have this.'"

Years before Don Felder found fame as one of the Eagles, he came to the city and shared a small apartment with a group of musicians on Horatio Street in the Meatpacking District.

"I arrived in New York, I moved her with a guitar in one hand and a suitcase in the other in 1968," he said. "The very first morning I woke up, I came straight to the Met. I'd heard so many beautiful things about it."

At a press preview, Felder played the famous opening chords of "Hotel California" on his double neck guitar, and the music echoed through the halls of the Met.

"It was about 50 years ago that I actually did that, and it's such an honor to be here and have one of my guitars hanging on the walls here at the Met. It just doesn't get any better than that. I've got three Rock and Roll Hall of Fame memberships, I've got Grammys, and the biggest first number one and third album in the history of recorded music, but this is really, for me, a sweet spot."

There are more than 130 instruments on display, from the roots of rock to the present day -- from Jerry Lee Lewis, who played a gold piano, to Lady Gaga, who chose a futuristic purple one.

Prince's guitar is near those the Beatles used -- tools of their trade, but also the stuff their dreams were made of.

Each item in the exhibit has been carefully chosen and placed in context so you get to see an instrument and hear about it and listen as legends "Play It Loud."

The exhibit runs until October 1.

CLICK HERE for more information.

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