Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and roll used to scare parents and inflame preachers. It’s hard to believe that a hip roll by a Tennessean could have sent the world into an end-times frenzy. But it did.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum tracks the evolution of this musical and cultural phenomenon through more than 50 exhibits. There’s Janis Joplin’s psychedelic Porsche, Michael Jackson’s sparkly glove, the awning from CBGB’s, the scribbled lyrics of ideas that morphed into classics, and dozens and dozens of iconic instruments.
But even this, the largest collection of rock artifacts in the world, can’t completely define the genre or quell the controversy that clings to it.
Nary a Rock Hall visitor leaves without weighing in on who should and shouldn’t be included in the hall of fame. Elvis? The Beatles? Those are no brainers. Madonna and Run DMC? Talk amongst yourselves.
More than 9 million visitors, each with their own favorites and memories, have visited the I.M. Pei-designed Rock Hall since it opened in 1995.
Why Cleveland? The Rock Hall Foundation originally planned to open a hall of fame and museum in a New York City brownstone. A group of Ohioans lobbied for Cleveland, touting the city’s major music milestones.
Most notably, Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed popularized the term “rock ‘n’ roll” on his integrated radio show and organized the country’s first official rock ‘n’ roll concert, a shindig, that, coincidentally, was shut down for overcrowding and rioting. Yep, that’s how we roll.
It’s not all history. The Rock Hall also hosts a bevy of concerts throughout the year. Visitors also can check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Library & Archives located at Cuyahoga Community College.
Tip: You don’t need to buy a ticket to visit the gift shop, which sells everything from guitar pic earrings to T-shirts, shot glasses and, of course, music.