Saturday, September 2, 1995

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened its doors: September 2, 1995

In its own words, “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.” MS

The Hall/Museum officially opened its doors to the public in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie on September 2, 1995. The day before, a parade and ribbon-cutting ceremony took place. Among the attendees were Ahmet Ertegun, Little Richard, Yoko Ono, the governor of Ohio, and the mayor of Cleveland.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation had established itself in New York City originally, but officials from Cleveland approached them in 1985 with a proposal for a major museum. Suzan Evans said, “Our eyebrows were raised, and somebody at the meeting actually passed me a note that said, ‘Pack your bags.’” HO Cleveland also ranked first in a USA Today poll asking where the museum should be located. Cleveland was chosen as the home for the museum in May 1986.

In 1987, architect I.M. Pei was tapped to design the museum. HO Ground brok on June 7, 1993 with notables such as Chuck Berry, Sam Phillips, Pete Townshend, and Billy Joel on hand. Since opening its doors, the museum has had nearly eight million visitors. HO

The Rock Hall’s first slate of inductees included Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. Robert Johnson, Jimmie Rodgers and Jimmy Yancey were honored as early influences. The first non-performers honored were producer Sam Phillips and disc jockey Alan Freed. Talent scout/producer John Hammond was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement award.” HO

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