(CNN) — Hard Rock Cafe was a London restaurant before becoming an internationally recognized brand as a global chain.
Founded by two American businessmen, Peter Morton and Isaac Tigret, it opened in 1971.
London had no shortage of restaurants and museums. But Hurd’s rock genius was in combining the two.
In the 1960s, ‘Swinging London’ was the coolest city in the world. So what happened there quickly made headlines all over the world, especially if it was related to the music scene.
Even if an American-invented British restaurant seemed like a strange concept, Morton and Tigret leaned on their backgrounds rather than running away from it.
Hard rock that symbolizes post-World War II Americana. The menu was filled with burgers, fries, and milkshakes, and the color scheme was bright red and white.
It was an allusion to allusion, the embodiment of the kind of optimistic, glowing America that exists more in pop culture shows like “Happy Days” than in real life.
But it worked.
Half a century later, the Hard Rock Cafe brand is more than just a restaurant and hotel.
Depending on who you ask, it’s either a delightful nirvana for music lovers or a corny restaurant that exists to sell its products. Either way, the brand has safely established its legacy.
Aerosmith gave Les Paul a guitar birthday cake at Hard Rock in New York City.
Put “Rock” in Hard Rock
All Hard Rock is replete with musical memorabilia, many donated by the stars themselves.
Merchandise became a major attraction for the brand, not just a wall. After all, a person can buy a lot of souvenirs at once, although he can eat only one cheeseburger at a time.
It took nearly a full decade for the restaurant to expand internationally. In 1982, the first US office was opened in Los Angeles. Stores have since opened in Tokyo, Paris, Athens, Hong Kong and New York City.
Many Hard Rock Cafes also had stages where local and international musicians could perform.
The best acts were often rolled out to open new branches.
Paul and Linda McCartney’s band Wings were tapped to play opening night in London’s West End, and jazz legend BB King launched Hard Rock Beijing in 1994.
Chinese soldiers marching through Hard Rock Beijing in the 1990s.
However, it’s not just big-name rock stars making appearances in restaurants and casinos.
For Jesse Dracman, who spent 20 years working at Hard Rock Cafe Surfers Paradise in Australia’s Gold Coast region, one of the most enjoyable parts of the job is having the opportunity to strike up conversations with diners, from celebrities to ordinary people. did. .
“I tried to treat all customers equally,” he says. “One time an elderly woman was eating alone and she started talking to her. It turned out she had seen the Beatles live in England when she was 17. rice field.”
Vince Neil, Jimmy Burns, Gene Simmons, among other famous clients he did his best to treat like regulars.
Well, Hard Rock’s celebrity collaborators aren’t just rockers.
Funk band The Barcays perform at Hard Rock Memphis in 2014.
Gareth Patterson/Invision for Hard Rock International/AP
Rise of the superfan
One day Lou Nuccio traveled from his native Bayonne, New Jersey to New York City to have lunch with his father.
“I dined at this crazy place with my dad. It was so cool with Cadillacs coming out of the walls,” he says.
That crazy place, of course, was the Hard Rock Cafe on busy 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan.
Since then, Nuccio has been hooked. He noticed hard rock almost everywhere he traveled for his job at a logistics company. Each time, he picked up some of the commemorative pins the brand sells. He says he now has about 6,500 of them.
But the playfulness and sense of community Nuccio found at Hard Rock didn’t extend beyond the restaurant itself until social media came along.
“The community is made up of collectors and travelers,” he says. “I’m both. But the (collectors) are the people who really fuel the engine. Big milestones are what people like. When you hit a milestone, you get a special pin.Visit 25 cafes and you get a milestone pin.”
In addition to pins, many fans also collect shot glasses and T-shirts.
Some big hard rock hosts swaps where superfans can get together and see each other. Nuccio has also visited many of them, documenting them on his website and tagging his fellow collectors in the photos.
There are perks to being a mega fan, especially having a big fan base online. On a recent trip to London, Nuccio personally explored the basement vaults of the ‘Rock Shop’, where top-of-the-line items like John Lennon’s favorite Army jacket are kept. I visited.
Wings, Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney’s band, played in London cafes in the 80s.
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
After lights out
Regarding the feud, Tigrett told The Texas Monthly in 1987 that Morton was “totally cash-oriented” and preferred to work on the social side of the brand. I’m just going about business,” he said.
Finally, in 2007 Morton and Tigret sold the company to the Seminoles of Florida. Today, the tribe controls his 180+ Hard Rock restaurants, cafes, hotels and casinos.
A representative for Seminole Gaming declined an interview request from CNN, but according to the brand’s website, there are several Hard Rocks in development in China.