The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Cleveland, but why? Major milestones, including influential people and events, that have developed and shaped the genre took place right here, making Cleveland the birthplace of rock and roll.
Leo Mintz opens The Record Rendezvous in Cleveland, a store specializing in rhythm and blues known then as “race music.” About 12 years later Mintz convinces local deejay Alan Freed to start playing those records on the air, effectively launching the rock ‘n’ roll era.
Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed begins his “Moondog Show” on WJW, broadcasting only rhythm and blues music. It quickly becomes a hit with all audiences. He calls the music “rock ‘n’ roll.”
On March 21, 1952, Freed puts on the first ever rock and roll show in Cleveland and calls it “The Moondog Coronation Ball.” The show, oversold by more than 10,000 tickets, causes an overflow of the crowds breaking down the doors and storming the arena where a full-scale riot escalates and ultimately cancels the show. Rock n’ roll music makes headlines everywhere and controversy ensues.
Elvis Presely plays in Cleveland at Brooklyn High School, his first concert above the Mason-Dixon Line.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Jane Scott becomes the first established rock writer, beginning a teen music column in 1962. Scott went on to become known as the “oldest living rock critic,” staying on with the paper until 2002.
The Beatles invade Cleveland and play Public Hall. The crowd rushes the stage numerous times which leads police to delay the show multiple times before finally cutting the performance short. The following year, The Beatles are banned from playing in the city.
1973 – 1986
WMMS dominates the Cleveland radio airwaves and gains a national reputation as a forum for new rock acts.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opens its doors on North Coast Harbor. The pyramid-like shape is designed to reflect a guitar shooting up to the sky.
– April Ingle
Note: The return of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to Cleveland, on April 14, is the perfect opportunity for music-lovers of any kind to schedule their tour stop in the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. Visit www.clevelandrockweek.com for a list of events, hotel packages, dining options and your chance to win four tickets to the sold-out induction ceremony.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions will be held in Cleveland, Ohio on April 14, 2012. To celebrate we’re immersing ourselves in all things music. This week we’re searching for Cleveland’s jukeboxes and we need your help. We’ve gotten things started below. If you could be so kind as to comment with your favorite jukebox in CLE we’d be forever grateful.
5004 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, OH 44102
Steve’s Lunch is a classic 24-hour Ohio City (near westside) diner with tabletop record-playing jukeboxes. It’s a late-night hotdog place that’s been around since the ’50s that insiders in Cleveland know and love. Music aside, the chili dogs are an attraction within themselves.
15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, OH 44110
The Beachland Ballroom is a former Croatian hall and a nationally-recognized live music venue with an acclaimed jukebox. Blender Magazine (02.01.08) named the Beachland’s jukebox the best in the US saying, “The vintage 1966 Rock-Ola at Beachland is free, plays a handpicked mix of vinyl … It holds 80 records, which means 160 sides, all lovingly chosen by Beachland’s crate-cruising co-owner Mark Leddy.” Best of all? Playing a tune on Beachland’s jukebox is free.
South East Harley-Davidson’s Harley Diner
23105 Aurora Road, Cleveland OH 44146
This 1946 diner car inside of a Harley Davidson dealership serves up breakfasts and lunches that draw riders and non-riders from all over. And the jukebox? From a recent AP article: “Across the lunch counter, Neil Cole and his brother Richard sit in the diner car enjoying lunch, just as they have at least once a week for the last nine years. Little Eva sings the classic “Locomotion” from the jukebox at their table.”
Mitzi’s Jerman Café
3840 St. Clair Ave. N.E., Cleveland, Ohio
Mitzi’s is a great dive bar known for its character, its characters and its jukebox. From Blogging Ohio, “Mitzi’s is a gem of a bar. There are cheap drinks, an awesome jukebox, a pool table. You even have to get buzzed in the front door. Once in, it’s welcoming and comfortable.”
Pats in the Flats
2233 West Third Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
There is a jukebox of note in this working man’s bar in the Flats of Cleveland (by the steel mills). Family-owned, this rockin’ live music venue is much beloved by Clevelanders.
Little Kings Lounge
3009 Payne Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114
A friendly little biker bar offering a classic Frank Zappa jukebox. But our favorite feature is the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling men’s room graffiti. There’s raunchy humor, wisdom for the ages and a tremendous collection of limericks.”
– the marketing team
Situated on the shores of Lake Erie, appropriately in the birthplace of rock and roll, is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s the world’s first museum dedicated solely to rock, and one of Cleveland’s most popular tourist attractions, inviting thousands inside each year to share with them the great history of musical geniuses like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and The Supremes. Inside these glass walls, fans are immersed in the lives, dreams and legends of rock’s greatest contributors.
Impeccably designed by master architect I.M. Pei, the “house that rock built” mimics Pei’s design for the famous Louvre in Paris. Surrounded by a 65,000 square foot plaza where concerts are held during the summer and visitors may take a minute to admire Lake Erie and the surrounding Cleveland skyline, the pyramid shaped, glass front museum creates a picturesque vision. No matter the time of day, the impressive structure provides a feeling there’s something much larger inside than you or I.
Visitors are met with 55,000 square feet of exhibition space. Organized into categories and decades, the museum is easy to navigate and deserves a whole day, maybe more, if you can spare. The costume wing is my favorite along with the hand-written lyrics, personal belongings from another time and place that put you closer to the creative process behind some of rock’s most talked-about.
A gallery dedicated to the architects of rock and roll put into perspective the birth of rock and the genre’s rough journey to recognition and respect. Alan Freed, the man who coined the term “rock and roll” and introduced rhythm and blues on a white radio station is highlighted here along with Les Paul and the first electric guitar and Sam Phillip’s Sun Studio where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and others made their first recordings.
At the top of the pyramid you’ll find the Hall of Fame Inductee Gallery. To be eligible for induction into this prestigious group, the artist must have released a record at least 25 years prior to the year of induction. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, “an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique” are all factors considered when inducting a musician, “but musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction.” So far there have been 25 induction ceremonies for a total of 605 inductees all of which you can learn more about through interactive displays and videos at the Rock Hall. Ceremonies are held every year, and are hosted in Cleveland every third year.
The story of the progression of rock and the roles it played in society is one we should all know and there’s no better place to learn about it than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors 65+, $13 for children ages 9-12 and free for children 8 and under. The museum is open every day from 10am to 5pm except Thanksgiving and Christmas and it’s open late on Wednesdays until 9pm. To learn more visit www.rockhall.com. Take a photo tour here. – Submitted by C.A., video by F.C.
It all kicked off a week ago in Cleveland. There was a press conference at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 27 and Ohio inductees Bootsy Collins (Parliament-Funkadelic) and Walter Williams (the O’Jays) got the party started. A press tour exposing the city’s rock cred lead into a series of music events.
There was the Moondog Coronation Ball with Little Richard and others. Concerts around town with Little Anthony and the Imperials and Wanda Jackson. A free concert with the O’Jays at Wolstein Center. Cleveland Food Rocks shows and specials by local restauranteurs and chefs who are sort of our culinary rock stars themselves. Celeb sightings around town of everyone from Bobby Womack to Beyonce.
There was increased traffic in the Visitors Center at Positively Cleveland. People stopping in for directions, restaurant suggestions and a chance to win free tickets to the Induction Ceremony. Nobody in Metallica’s entourage pulling up for a visitors guide, but we did get a chance to meet Sid McGinnis, longtime guitarist in the Paul Shaffer Band on David Letterman. He stopped in the Visitor Centers to grab a Walk Cleveland guide while in between rehearsals for the induction ceremony. A Pittsburgh native who has lived in New York since 1974, McGinnis said he was looking forward to the Rock Hall festivities and enjoying his stay in Cleveland.