Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States, dedicated to recording the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, and other people who have in some major way influenced the music industry, particularly in the area of rock and roll. The museum is part of the city's redeveloped North Coast Harbor.

Hall of Fame

A handful of artists are inducted into the Hall of Fame in an annual induction ceremony, historically held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The first group of inductees, inducted on January 23, 1986, included Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley.

Currently, groups or individuals are qualified for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Nominees should have demonstrable influence and significance within the history of rock and roll. Four categories are recognized: Performers, Non-Performers, Early Influences, and since 2000, Sidemen. However, fans have no input concerning who is nominated or elected to the hall.

Beginning in 2009, the annual induction ceremony will move to Cleveland on a rotating basis, perhaps as often as every three years. [ [ Rock Hall Induction Returning To Cleveland ] ]


Performers include singers and instrumentalists.

A nominating committee composed of music historians selects names for the Performers category, which are then voted on by roughly 1000 experts, including academics, journalists, producers, and others with music industry experience. Performers receiving the highest number of votes greater than 50% of the votes received are selected for induction; each year, about five to seven nominees make the cut.


Non-performers include songwriters, producers, disc jockeys, music industry executives, journalists, and other professionals. In 2008, this category was renamed the "Ahmet Ertegün Award". [cite web | title = Indictees for 2008 | url = | work = Rock and Roll Hall of Fame official website | date = 2007-12-13 | accessdate = 2008-03-11]

Some notable non-performers inducted into the Hall of Fame include Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, disc jockey and major promoter of rock and roll Alan Freed, Ronettes and Righteous Brothers producer Phil Spector, Beatles producer George Martin, Fender guitar founder Leo Fender, Rolling Stone magazine founder and editor Jann Wenner, and the late Ahmet Ertegün, founder of Atlantic Records and founder and chairman of the museum. The term "non-performers" is a misnomer in several cases: some of the people inducted in this category – e.g., Carole King, Allen Toussaint, and Herb Alpert – are in fact notable performers.

A separate selection committee selects inductees directly in the Non-Performers and Early Influences category.

Early influences

Early Influences includes artists from earlier eras, primarily country, folk, and blues, whose music inspired and influenced rock and roll artists. The most recent of this category to be inducted were Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday in 2000. Other notable artists that have been inducted as Early Influences include country musician Hank Williams, blues musician Howlin' Wolf, and jazz musician Louis Armstrong.


The Sidemen category includes veteran session and concert players who are selected by a large committee composed primarily of producers.

Foundation and museum

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created April 20, 1983. However, it had no home. The search committee considered several cities, including Memphis (home of Sun Studios and Stax Records), Cincinnati (home of King Records), New York, and Cleveland. Cleveland lobbied hard to be chosen, citing that one-time Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed is widely credited with promoting the new genre (and the term) of "rock and roll", and that Cleveland was the location of the first rock and roll concert. Civic leaders in Cleveland pledged $65 million in public money to fund the construction. A petition drive was signed by 600,000 fans favoring Cleveland over Memphis, and a "USA Today" poll which Cleveland won by 100,000 votes. The hall of fame board voted to build the museum in Cleveland.

Although there is some debate among music fans over why Cleveland ended up being chosen, most industry professionals agreed that it is because the city offered the best financial package. As Plain Dealer music critic Michael Norman noted, "It wasn't Alan Freed. It was $65 million... Cleveland wanted it here and put up the money." [,8816,134633,00.html FOREVER ROCKIN' - Printout - TIME ] ]

During early discussions on where to build the Hall of Fame and museum, the Foundation's board considered the Cuyahoga River. Ultimately, the chosen location was in downtown Cleveland by Lake Erie, just east of Cleveland Stadium and the Great Lakes Science Center.

At a point in the planning phase when a financing gap existed, a proposal was made for the Rock Hall to be located in the then vacant May Company Building, but it was finally decided that Chinese architect, I. M. Pei, who is credited with such other projects as the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, France and the Bank of China Tower, would be commissioned to design a new building. Pei came up with the idea of a tower with a glass pyramid protruding from it. The museum tower was initially planned to stand 200ft high, but it had to be cut down to 162ft due to its proximity to Burke Lakefront Airport. The building's base is approximately 150,000 square feet. The groundbreaking ceremony was June 7, 1993, with Pete Townshend and Chuck Berry doing the honors. The museum opened on September 2, 1995, with the ribbon being cut by an ensemble that included Yoko Ono and Little Richard, among others.

The museum documents the entire history of rock and roll, regardless of induction status. Hall of Fame inductees are honored in a special exhibit inside the museum's spire.

There are seven levels in the building. The first through fifth levels feature many permanent and temporary exhibits documenting the history of rock and roll. Temporary exhibits display items from artists that have only been borrowed for a short period of time, such as the Warped Tour display in 2007, showcasing memorabilia from the tour's 12 years in existence. The museum has also put up numerous musical films for viewing, such as 2007's temporary exhibit running George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh". Some of the permanent exhibits include a history of audio technology, a section of mannequins donning outfits of famous performers past and present, and an area which looks at music scenes in various cities throughout different eras, including Memphis in the 50s, Detroit, Liverpool and San Francisco in the 60s, Los Angeles in the 70s, New York City and London in the 70s and 80s and Seattle in the 90s.

The third level is where the actual Hall of Fame is located and includes a wall with all of the inductees' signatures. The seventh and final level of the building is a temporary exhibit which features a certain group or artist for a period of time. It occupies the entire floor, which is the smallest since it is at the top of the pyramid. Some of the artists featured include Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley, The Supremes, The Who, John Lennon, U2, Bob Dylan, The Clash and The Police. While the museum is located in Cleveland, the induction ceremony has been annually held in New York City (except in 1997, when the ceremony was held in Cleveland). This has been a source of controversy and tension between the Foundation's commitment to a yearly showcase and the Hall of Fame itself. In December 2007, it was announced that Cleveland will hold the ceremony every three years, beginning in 2009. [cite news|title= [ Rock Hall Induction Returning To Cleveland] |accessdate=2007-12-27 |date=2007-12-19 |] [cite news|title= [ Cleveland to host 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony] |accessdate=2007-12-27 |author=John Soeder |date=2007-12-19 |publisher=Cleveland Plain Dealer]


The main criticism is that the nomination process is controlled by a few individuals who are not even musicians, such as founder Jann Wenner, former foundation director Suzan Evans, and writer Dave Marsh, reflecting their tastes rather than the views of the rock world as a whole. A former member of the nominations board once said:

At one point Suzan Evans lamented the choices being made because there weren't enough big names that would sell tickets to the dinner. That was quickly remedied by dropping one of the doo-wop groups being considered in favor of a 'name' artist ... I saw how certain pioneering artists of the 50s and early 60s were shunned because there needed to be more name power on the list, resulting in 70s superstars getting in before the people who made it possible for them. Some of those pioneers still aren't in today.cite news|title= [,2933,1966,00.html Rock Hall of Fame Fallout: 'There Is Resentment Building Up] |accessdate=2001-04-04 |author=Roger Friedman |date=2001-04-04 |publisher=FOX News]

Petitions with tens of thousands of signatures were also being ignored and some groups that were signed with certain labels or companies or were affiliated with various committee members have even been put up for nomination with no discussion at all.

Another criticism is that too many artists are inducted, allowing for several lesser acts to make it in. In fifteen years, 97 different artists have been inducted. A minimum of 50% of the vote is needed to be inducted, although the final percentages are not announced and a certain number of inductees (5 in 2007) is set before the ballots are shipped.cite news|title= [ Three strikes, they're in] |accessdate=2007-01-17 |author=Roger Friedman |date=2007-01-12 |publisher=Star Tribune] The committee usually nominates a small number of artists (9 in 2007) and they are coming from an increasing number of different genres. Several voters, including Joel Selvin, who himself is a former member of the nominating committee, didn't submit their ballots in 2007, with the reason being that they didn't feel any of the candidates were truly worthy. [cite news|title= [ View: Rock and Roll Hall offers lackluster candidates] |accessdate=2007-12-07 |author=Joel Selvin |date=2007-11-14 |publisher=San Francisco Chronicle]

The Sex Pistols, inducted in 2006, refused to attend the ceremony, calling the museum a "piss stain." [ ["Were not coming. Were not your monkey and so what?"] (sic) Official announcement from the Sex Pistols regarding the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 24 February 2006 ]

2007 voting scandal allegations

On March 14, two days after the 2007 induction ceremony, Roger Friedman of Fox News published an article claiming that The Dave Clark Five should have been the fifth inductee, as they had more votes than inductee Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. The article went on to say " [Jann Wenner] used a technicality about the day votes were due in. In reality, The Dave Clark Five got six more votes than Grandmaster Flash. But he felt we couldn't go another year without a rap act."cite news|title= [,2933,258664,00.html#2 Rock Hall Voting Scandal: Rock Group Actually Won] |accessdate=2007-04-06 |author=Roger Friedman |date=2007-03-14 |publisher=FOX News]

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame would later deny fixing the vote, although they didn't deny that late votes were received, saying, "No. There is a format and rules and procedure. There is a specific time when the votes have to be in, and then they are counted. The bands with the top five votes got in."cite news|title= [ Rock Hall denies vote fix report] |accessdate=2007-04-06 |author=Michael Heaton |date=2007-03-17 |publisher=The Plain Dealer]

The Dave Clark Five was subsequently nominated again and then inducted the following year. [cite news|title= [ Madonna leads list of Rock Hall inductees] |accessdate=2008-01-02 |author=Associated Press |date=2007 |publisher=CNN]

ee also

*List of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees
*The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll
*Fortune Battle of the Corporate Bands


External links

* [ The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame] – official site
* [ Future Rock Hall] – lists eligible artists
* [ Images and architectural information]
* [ Expanding Rock Hall Could Cause Problems] - criticisms of selection process, including too many less-notable performers, and entire genres overlooked

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