We arrived on a rainy week in Cleveland, Ohio. “Hello Cleveland!” We shouted, like the guys from Spinal Tap. But unlike David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls our navigation system directed us straight to our hotel and we didn’t find ourselves lost backstage or in the bowels of the city.
We came to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Our waiter at dinner the night before said you could spend a couple of hours but some people stay for 6 or so. “6 or so!” I thought. Wow.
While 6 hours still seems a stretch, I could see how it could happen. The museum is very well done (up there with the Titanic Museum in Belfast or the National Museum of African American History in DC) with a combination of videos dispersed throughout amidst guitars, concert posters, outfits and clothing and photos and quotes.
You begin in the basement with an exhibit that winds along from the roots of rock and roll, through Elvis, the Beatles and the Stones and up through the hippie years of the 60s: past Neil Young and the Dead, to the punk of the Sex Pistols of the 70s and Joan Jett, Def Leppard, the E Street Band and others of the 80s and 90s to present day.
On floor 2, you can get immersed in the actual plaques of those inducted and watch a film of snippets of performances from induction ceremonies. Our only criticism was that some of the clips were maybe a little too short.
Don’t miss the American Bandstand film on floor 3. It profiles not only Dick Clark through the years but clips of performances ranging from Chuck Berry or a young Aretha Franklin to The Doors or the Jackson 5 to the Village People to Madonna and Men At Work and Huey Lewis and the News. It was a highlight.
Floors 4 and 5 have more memorabilia and the current / past year inductees highlighted and the apex of the pyramid is (currently anyway) dedicated to hard rock films of various artists talking about their craft including one on Eddie Van Halen and his guitars.
It all made us wonder why we don’t watch more induction ceremonies on TV. Cleveland rocks!
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