Founded by two young Americans in London in 1971, the Hard Rock Cafe was always
an improvisation. Its initial mission was to serve American diner-style food and
be a place – unknown in the UK of the day – where students, artists
and secretaries might mingle with bankers and barristers. Soon, the Hard Rock Cafe
on Old Park Lane, with its late hours and youthful vibe, had evolved, quite accidentally,
into a haven for musicians.
The memorabilia collection started quite by accident as well – long before
Sotheby’s started auctioning multi-million-dollar guitars. One day Eric Clapton
is at the Cafe talking to co-founder Isaac Tigrett, asking could he hang a plaque
to save the guitarist’s favorite table. Isaac says, we don’t do plaques. But how
about a guitar? A short time after, Eric sends over a red Fender Lead II. A few weeks later, Pete Townshend stops
by and spies Clapton’s axe, and the next day a Gibson Les Paul arrives with a note: “Mine’s as good as his! Love, Pete.”
So began the largest, most valuable rock memorabilia collection in the world, with
more than 70,000 pieces – from the red Fender that still hangs in London to
Magical Mystery Tour bus.
In late 2007, Duncan/Channon, Hard Rock International’s worldwide marketing
agency, proposed that its client share that collection – beyond the confines
of its Cafes, Hotels and Casinos – with the entire world. It was an ambitious
project, but not as ambitious as it would become when Duncan/Channon called on Vertigo
Vertigo recommended Silverlight and Deep Zoom, and the Duncan/Channon team instantly
saw the potential.
Microsoft saw the potential, too – for the world’s first Deep Zoom site –
and encouraged the team to complete it in time for their 2008 MIX Conference. Working
closely with Duncan/Channon’s designers, Vertigo managed to complete development
of version 1.0, showcasing 258 of Hard Rock’s most amazing memorabilia pieces, in
an astonishing 30 days. The
memorabilia site was launched to the public on March 5 as the hit of the
Along with Hard Rock’s amazing internal team and Duncan/Channon, in 2008 Vertigo
continued to implement new features – including a portable memorabilia widget. In 2009, the online collection
will grow past 1,000 pieces. And every day, Vertigo – with the encouragement
of a very satisfied partner, Duncan/Channon, and a very satisfied client, Hard Rock
– is devising more ways for visitors to share and explore it.
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