Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 86: Cleveland, Ohio - Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!

Back in the USA, so our first order of business was to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Kind of a funky detour since we were going to see my brother David's family in Pennsylvania again, oh well, what's a few hundred miles?  Believe me, we've made bigger detours!

Lucky we did or we would have missed seeing this little jewel!
1965 Airstream Caravel, pretty rare.
A friendly Florida couple was travelling around with it.  Their tow vehicle was a Toyota hybrid SUV, pretty cool!

We started the day on Lake Ontario and ended it camping on Lake Erie.  These are some big freakin' lakes!

Next morning we got our Rock on!

If you're wondering, like we were, why Cleveland beat out other rock and roll meccas such as Memphis and Detroit for this distinction, well, here you go.  DJ Alan Freed used "rock and roll," (which was code for "sex" in some early blues songs) to describe a new form of music that converged rhythm and blues, jazz, country, and folk.

Sorry, I couldn't resist!
Cleveland has Fender Strats all over downtown like Austin has its Gibsons.

The lobby has all sorts of cool props from tours and other rock history.
These little East German Trabant cars were suspended in arenas for U2's "ZooTV" tour as part of the lighting system.

ZZ Top, that "lil' ol' band from Texas", donated their iconic "Eliminator" hot rod.  This car was all over MTV when the channel still showed music videos... was Alex Van Halen's drum set.

This Jag didn't seem all that "Rock & Roll" at first...

...until we read this!

If you ever wondered what happens to these big props, such as these signs from Moby's "Southside" video, or...

...big creepy Roger Waters/Pink Floyd/The Wall puppets...

...or "the Man in Black", Johnny Cash's old tour bus.  They're all at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Unfortunately, they're not keen on tourists taking photos of most of the exhibits so we only got photos of exterior and lobby stuff but there's much more to be seen.

There are large exhibits dedicated to the Beatles and Rolling Stones, as well as those dedicated to cities that heavily influenced the different genres of rock, such as Memphis, Detroit, Liverpool, London, LA, Seattle, etc.  They also have rotating exhibits, like the one on the Grateful Dead which we saw when we were there.  Check out the website: when you have some time to kill.  It's loaded with videos of induction ceremonies, performances, and all kinds of stuff.

We thought the Hall of Fame was well done and really appreciated the fact that the history of rock was explored so closely. It's very interactive and you could spend a week listening to songs by the forefathers of rock (like Howlin' Wolf, BB King, or the Staple Singers), reading the concert riders of the Beatles, watching old concert footage or seeing the costumes of David Bowie, Metallica, Funkadelic, etc.

 A few things that were glaringly absent? Hair bands! Disco! Pop! I guess they didn't make the "rock" cut or perhaps enough time hasn't passed?  No matter, it's well worth a visit!

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