Today was a bit of heaven. No, not the Red Roof Inn in Monroeville, PA, from which we departed around noon, but the next major stop on our itinerary: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cleveland. We didn’t arrive there until shortly after 4pm, after the drive from Monroeville and lunch on the road, but luckily Wednesday is the late night at the museum, the one weekday it’s open until 9pm.
We spent nearly three hours on the lower level, home to most of the permanent exhibition — which does an incredible job of chronicling the genesis, influences and roots of rock ‘n’ roll. I particularly enjoyed the videos from the ’50s and ’60s (and even ’80s and ’90s) of preachers, politicians and others who denounced rock and roll as the great corruptor of youth (and the influence of satan). I was also surprised by how much I was moved by a video exhibit/tribute to Dick Clark and American Bandstand. From clips of his interviews with, and performances by, an incredible array of artists spanning 50 years, I realized just what an important role Dick Clark played in helping launch or further the careers of so many great artists.
After nearly three hours on the lower level, we didn’t have a lot of time for the other levels, but fortunately the museum floors are smaller the higher up they go. The 5th and 6th floors now house a special exhibit of The Rolling Stones (50 years!), which opened just a few weeks ago. The Stones were never among my favorite bands — I have always been partial to The Who — but the exhibit is quite good and gave me a much deeper appreciation for the Stones than I would otherwise ever have had.
If we weren’t going to spend July 4th with friends in Kirtland, OH (a suburb about 25 miles east of Cleveland), with whom we’re staying tonight, I would certainly be back at the museum again tomorrow!