Hard Rock Cafe celebrates 45 years with London exhibit

(REUTERS) It's one of the world's best known restaurant chains, a place that's hosted iconic names like Paul McCartney.

And now the Hard Rock Cafe is celebrating its 45th anniversary with an exhibit of items owned and worn by some of music's best known performers.

"Well, we scoured our 80,000 piece collection. We really wanted to represent the history of time. So, really showing the progression through time," explained Hard Rock Cafe's European marketing manager Narissa O'Moore.

"So, starting off with Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, moving into the 80's with Madonna, Queen and then moving into the 90's with The Killers and then moving into the 21st century with Lady Gaga and Rihanna. Legendary names. Big names. And really show fashion through time."  

The Hard Rock Cafe first opened its doors in London in 1971. And before long it expanded out worldwide and owns what it calls 'the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia', which all began with an Eric Clapton guitar.

One person who's been there from the beginning is Rita Gilligan, who worked at the first Hard Rock Cafe in London.

"They said it would never work, we'd never sell a burger to an Englishman," said Ms Gilligan. "So we actually had to change the culture, pick up the handle with your hand, drink out the neck of the bottle and rock and roll music on top, what more could you want?"

The Hard Rock Couture exhibition runs at Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum from Feb 3 until April 10.