I recently visited the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for the third time. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, the Hall is an experience like no other for music fans.
Because my husband and I visited the Hall last year we didn’t go through every exhibit, and we still spent the entire day absorbing the displays and information presented. The best place to learn about what the Hall has to offer is their web site.
Of particular interest to us was the new exhibit, “Part of the Machine: Rock & Pinball.” Working pinball machines celebrate rock icons like KISS, Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, and Elton John. We played pinball on almost a daily basis when we were in college, so playing on an old school pinball machine brought back a lot of wonderful memories.
Walk through the Hall and you’ll find John Lennon’s elementary school report card, hand written song lyrics by Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie, Michael Jackson’s sequined glove, drawings by Jimi Hendrix. You’ll learn the history of the Blues, how artists from the past have influenced today’s popular acts. Use interactive computers to discover “One Hit Wonders” and “Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.” Check out the Hall of Fame gallery and the many multimedia exhibits.
Most compelling this visit was the “Power of Rock Experience.” This amazing short movie, directed by the late acclaimed director Jonathan Demme, is a compilation of Hall of Fame induction ceremony performances. On the surface that sounds interesting, but nothing special. Quite the opposite. For music lovers, this film touches a place deep inside your soul. I was almost in tears watching this film, as were many people around me. The highlight was the extended clip from the 2004 Hall of Fame induction ceremony: Prince, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, and Dhani Harrison performing George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” This performance is all the more poignant following the recent anniversary of Tom Petty’s passing. Prince’s guitar playing is nothing short of genius and mesmerizing, and, in my opinion, one of the greatest moments in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony history.
Many people have negative feelings toward the Hall; the politics of a deserving artist not yet included, or the fact that the name is rock & roll hall of fame and other music genres are represented. Ignore all that. Appreciate it for what it is: a collection of musical memorabilia that speaks to us, makes us think, makes us happy or sad, brings back memories. Music is the soundtrack of our lives, and it’s celebrated at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.