Attraction Review: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The attraction: I think that most people would agree that no trip to Cleveland is complete without a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where one can pay respect to some of rock music’s most famous legends. It is said that rock and roll originated in Cleveland. Local disc jockey Alan Freed is widely credited with using and promoting the term “rock and roll” and the city was also host to what is considered the first rock and roll concert in 1952. Located on the shore of Lake Erie in the city’s downtown, the museum opened to the public in 1995 and since then has welcomed more than eight million visitors from around the world. The museum consists of seven floors with the first through fifth featuring many permanent and temporary exhibits chronicling the history and foundations of rock and roll. This includes costumes, hand written lyrics on random pieces of paper, personal effects and more of musicians. The third floor is where the actual hall of fame is located and features a wall with all of the inductees’ signatures.

Pros to visiting: At the Hall of Fame, all musical eras are covered so I truly feel that there is enough to interest everyone, whether you’re a fan of “The King” or like more of the 80s and 90s sounds of Madonna. It also does a great job of establishing and teaching rock and roll’s roots since much of it derived from jazz, gospel, and the blues. The 1960s are my favorite era of music, especially Motown artists, and they were well represented. I liked the “Cities and Sounds” exhibit the most; it showcased different musical time periods in different cities. It was incredibly cool to see personal effects from one of my favorite groups, The Temptations, in the Detroit-Dancin’ in the Street 1962-1971 exhibit. Other cities featured include Memphis, London and Liverpool, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle. As a female, my favorite thing about the museum was the outfits on display worn during past performances, especially the ones from the 1960s when the styles were incredibly classy and glamorous. The outfits from today’s artists such as Lady Gaga and Rhianna don’t leave much to the imagination. My favorites were dresses from Brenda Lee, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and the Supremes. On the third floor, there is a movie that showcases musical clips from all of the inductees, starting with the first group in 1986 and going up until the most recent year. This was highly enjoyable as it was comparable to watching your favorite music videos compiled together. It costs extra ($3) but D and I also got tickets for the 3D movie; I wanted to go after I saw that it was a movie of the band U2’s Vertigo concert. (Movie selections do change on a rotating basis, although it appears that the U2 3D film will be showing until the end of this year.) We saw U2 last year live during their 360 tour but the movie is equally fun and definitely worth the additional $3. Also on the third floor are listening booths where you can listen to full tracks by various artists.

Cons to visiting: Photography is not allowed, not even without a flash. I can’t say how disappointed I was by this, seeing as how so many of the exhibits were randoms items, not necessarily a prized Botticelli painting. It’s not that I need to go photography crazy but I would have loved to photograph a dress worn by Diana Ross during her Supremes days. Admission is expensive-$22 for adults, $17 for seniors and military personnel, $13 for children ages 9-13. Children under the age of eight are free with the purchase of an adult admission.

Conclusion: If you’re a lover of music, a pilgrimage here is a must, especially as a way of honoring all of music’s past legends who are no longer alive. It’s a hefty admission but I feel you do get your money’s worth if you take the time to see and experience all that is available here.

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