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Hard Rock Hotel memorabilia hauled away for another day

Updated June 16, 2020 - 2:12 pm

The Hard Rock Hotel’s rock memorabilia collection has left the building.

Many of the extensive displays covering the hotel’s walls, and decades of rock ’n’ roll history, have been hauled way on a pair of HRH-branded 18-wheelers. The process began about a week and a half ago.

Famous items moved from the hotel included Elvis Presley’s key to the city of Las Vegas; Britney Spears’ schoolgirl costume from her “… Baby One More Time” video, the jacket Jimi Hendrix wore on the day he died; Prince’s “cloud” guitar and matching outfit; Johnny Cash’s autographed Martin guitar; a motorcycle owned by Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue; and a synthesizer autographed by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

The readily identifiable sign above the entrance of The Joint music hall is headed for storage, too.

Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming, said the items are being taken to an undisclosed location and will be returned to display on an undisclosed date. The company also owns Hard Rock Cafe Live on the Strip.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Allen hinted at the company’s return to Las Vegas resort operations: “While the doors to Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas remain closed for now, we look forward to bringing the exciting Hard Rock atmosphere back to Las Vegas, which will always be one of the most iconic entertainment markets in the world.”

The Hard Rock Hotel closed in February and is undergoing a property-wide renovation as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The resort plans to reopen in November or December, depending on convention business.

In May, Hard Rock Hotel International bought the rights to all Hard Rock hotel- and casino-related trademarks, along with the hotel’s memorabilia collection, from the investment consortium J.C. Hospitality Group. J.C. Hospitality’s team bought the hotel in April 2018. The move allows Hard Rock Hotel International to return a Hard Rock-branded hotel and casino to Las Vegas.

Meantime, the Virgin Hotels ownership group, headed by Richard “Boz” Bosworth, is changing the image of the former Hard Rock Hotel property. The new owners have removed such high-profile images as the towering Gibson guitar sign at the Hard Rock Cafe, which is now on display at the Neon Museum, and the Fender guitar at the hotel’s porte-cochere.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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