On Saturday another round of musicians and bands were inducted into Cleveland’s storied and controversial Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The triangular glass edifice (which the term “glass house” certainly applies here) has been home to many musical artifacts and slightly biased and even ass-kissing styles in terms of its adoration and out and out blatant favoritism in terms of who gets inducted into this sprawling pyramid of a place.
The history of the hall itself is also as messy as the communal responses to it. The Rock and Roll Foundation itself was founded on April 20, 1983. But the physical building itself did not open until over 10 years later, finally opening on September 2, 1995. There were a few different choices originally where the building should have been built, Memphis (birthplace of Sun and Stax Records), Detroit (home of Motown Records), Cincinnati (home of King Records, which showcased early Rockabilly and James Browns’ embryonic musical start), and New York City (home of many songwriters and producers). But Cleveland was chosen for a few reasons. One, $65 million in public money was pledged to the funding of the construction, which certainly whetted the Rock and Roll board’s appetite; Two, many public polls favored Cleveland to having the hall built there; and most importantly, three, Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed has been considered in essence the first person to credit, acknowledge, and even coin the term “Rock and Roll.” Freed even organized in Cleveland in 1952 what is widely considered the very first Rock and Roll concert as well there. These factors were main catalysts in creating and finalizing the decision to have The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame erected in downtown Cleveland, where it stands today, right by the banks of Lake Erie, just east of where the NFL team The Cleveland Browns play in their stadium.
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