Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rock on! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The next morning we head into Cleveland to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

As you can see, it's a unique kind of building, lots of glass with a kind of multiple pyramid thing going for it. It's a very cool building.

You may ask the question, as I did, why Cleveland? Shouldn't rock and roll be immortalized in a cool, vibrant, urban setting, like New York or Los Angeles, or even San Francisco? I think that's why they felt the need to put up this plaque explaining it all.

You see, the term Rock and roll was first used by Ohio disc jockey, Alan Freed in 1951. He created the first rock concert, the Moondog Coronation Ball, on March 21st, 1951 at the Cleveland Arena. So the people of Ohio felt that since this is where it was all started, this is where they should build the Hall. And of course, this plaque.

Of couse, nothing is truly immortalized until we get a picture of Paul in front of it!

We went inside and The Drifters were playing. The actual Difters! Okay, they are a wee bit old at this point, but it was very cool.

This is where we got the bad news. Photography is strictly forbidden in the Hall. There are signs everywhere saying "Some contributors have donated to the museum with the restriction that their items cannot be filmed. Therefore, no photography is allowed."

Isn't it ironic that rock and roll, the music form of rebellion, of freedom and defiance, is represented in a hall that didn't say "You're a rock star for God's sake! What's wrong with letting people take pictures of your sequined glove?"

So even though the place is full of really cool stuff, I didn't get a lot of pictures.

We did see some pretty amazing things. Exhibits dedicated to everyone from Chuck Berry to Elvis. From James Brown to The Sex Pistols. About the early influences of rhythm and blues, and how the music evolved and its capital moved from place to place.

As a geek, I found it amusing that Steve Jobs is the only CEO who's immortalized in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Why? The iPod! Just like the Sony transistor radio did in the 50's, the iPod made music accessible to kids around the world. You could now take your entire music collection around with you everywhere!

My favorite part was the multimedia presentation of all the inductees. It was a huge theatre with three huge screens, showing all the artists by the year they were inducted. They really need to make this into a DVD, or have a CD boxed set that includes all this amazing music.

This brings up an interesting point. The rock and roll hall of fame is kind of a misnomer at this point. For instance, Grand Master Flash, one of the early innovators in rap, was recently inducted. It's become more of a pop music hall of fame, which is much more inclusive. It now seems to cover all popular music other than country. Good thing they have their own hall down in Tennessee!

Anyway, the presentation reintroduced me to lots of music I had long since forgotten about, like Earth, Wind and Fire. And the ones that I've always loved like The Beatles.

After a full afternoon, we headed out of Cleveland to Toledo. Toledo turned out to be everything I expected it to be. As evidenced by this sign on our hotel.

Of course, it has its positives as well. Across the street is someone I haven't seen in a long time...

Yes, that is a Big Boy! As you may know, Bob's Big Boy used to be ubiquitous throughout California. With the growth of drive through fast food, the Bob's Big Boy became virtually extinct. It seems like he just escaped to Ohio and the Midwest, because Big Boy is alive and well, and on virtually every street corner.

Tomorrow, we're off to Michigan to pick up Larry!

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