Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cleveland, Alan Freed and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


Hello again from Cleveland where I spent most of the day in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I have got to say that this pyramid-shaped glass building is a marvelous showcase. It's relatively new as it opened in 1995. If you are a music fan and happen to be in the area, this is a must-see.

Cleveland proclaims itself at the birth place of rock and roll. The first rock concert took place in this city. It was organized by famed disc jockey Alan Freed, the man who coined the term "rock and roll." The concert was called the Moondog Coronation Ball and it was held at the Cleveland Arena on March 21, 1952. Freed moved to New York City in 1954 and began broadcasting there on 1010 WINS AM. In 1959he was at the centre of a payola scandal. He was fired by his New York radio station and eventually pleaded guilty to 29 counts of commercial bribery. He received a $300 fine and 6 months suspended sentence. Alan Freed died a penniless alcoholic in Palm Springs, California in 1965. He was only 43 years old.

Freed's legacy lives on in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with its seven floors of exhibition space and numerous exhibits, interactive listening stations and films. There are displays of the stage clothes and guitars of many performers. The featured attraction at the hall right now is a fabulous exhibit on the life of Bruce Springsteen. It is called From Asbury Park to the Promised Land. For fans of the Boss, this is a real treat. There is also a great exhibit on the history of Motown that I enjoyed very much.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is conveniently located in downtown Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie. It is in close proximity to the Great Lakes Science Center, Burke Lakefront Airport and Cleveland Browns Stadium, home of the NFL's Cleveland Browns. We were able to walk to it easily from our hotel. Cleveland does not have a subway system but it has light rapid transit.

- Joanne

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