David T. Farr
“They say the heart of rock and roll still beats / And from what I’ve seen, I believe them.”
It beats in Detroit, New York, DC, Boston and all the other great musical cities explored in Huey Lewis’ song “The Heart of Rock & Roll”.
But in Cleveland, he could beat the strongest. Cleveland is home to one of music‘s most iconic attractions: the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The Hall does an outstanding job of explaining what it is and how the genre evolved. We all have personal tastes and favorite artists, but you can’t walk through the hall of fame without understanding that rock ‘n’ roll is a historical amalgamation of genres. It incorporates the emergence of gospel, country and blues. It is an evolution. It is important to know how LaVern Baker, Willie Dixon, Bob Will And His Texas Playboys, Ruth Brown, Hank Williams, Louis Jordan, among others, spawned Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers…I could go on and on .
I love almost every aspect of The Hall. You must know that this is the ultimate solution for all music addicts. Each level is beautifully made and themed. Level 0 is a favorite, as it houses Ahmet Ertegun’s main exhibition hall which showcases generations of rock’s earliest artists to artists of today. I bet there are thousands of items on display, along with feature films, videos, and interactive kiosks. I was pleasantly surprised to see articles by Taylor Swift. You can see its impact. The transformation from the boyfriend sweater to his throne and cape used to showcase the “new Taylor” is cool.
Level 1 is the main entrance with a food court and an official museum shop. At level 2, you can discover “The Garage”. The Les Paul display is beautiful, but even better, it lets you pick up a guitar and play, and be in “the band.”
My favorite is level 3. You can’t help but feel its power. It’s rock’s highest honor. Loved seeing the gallery of inductee signatures and the new inductee exhibits. Strolling along the wall and seeing the list of consecrations gave me goosebumps.
Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” exhibition occupies level 4. Levels 5 and 6 are reserved for “The Legend Of Rock”. It features fascinating exhibits of handwritten sketches of hit singles, legendary clothing and stage attire, famous instruments from some of music’s greatest performers, and memorabilia from a wide range of eras and styles. : Elvis, Jay-Z, Aretha Franklin and Pearl Jam.
One of the best current exhibits is ‘The Beatles: Get Back To Let It Be’. It’s a fascinating and moving tribute to one of the most influential bands. Film clips, clothing, reading materials and displays are worth the price of admission. It’s stellar, a must for music lovers.
Rock Hall is home to 351 inductees. In November, the class of 2022 will be inducted: Pat Benatar/Neil Giraldo, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Eminem, Lionel Richie, Carly Simon and Dolly Parton.
I want to leave you with this: I was moved to see people from all walks of life, ages and nationalities, gathered in one place, sharing a common bond: music.
David T. Farr is a Journal correspondent. Email him at [email protected]