Originally posted on November 2, 2009 at www.myspace.com/johnzee:

Nothing illustrates where the music industry has gone in the past 25 years like the fact that the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland.  Take your pick, either it’s in Cleveland because Alan Freed was the first radio disk jockey that actually said “rock n roll” on the radio first (Alan Freed was a rival of Dick Clark’s in the beginning but his career went down in flames when he was caught accepting bribes to play certain songs, a crime that he spent time in jail for.) Even at the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concert when Paul Simon thanked Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed for breaking Simon’s first hit, he added “For a reasonable sum of money.” Or if you want it spelled out for you, it could be the $65 million dollars that the city of Cleveland had to spend to get the prize of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame built there.  Either way it is a perfect example of an art form forced down the wrong path by greed.  But that’s not how it started for that sweet little thing called Rock n Roll.  You’ll see no great Mecca with marbled halls and polished stone at it’s point of origin.  Just a simple old building that probably should have been torn down years ago if it wasn’t for the fact that some of us remember it’s unique importance.

I can’t show you the place where the manger was located in Israel on that cold December night, because the knowledge of that location was lost centuries ago.  But I can certainly show you where Rock n Roll was born.  Show you the building where it all began, even let you touch it’s brick like a modern day Wailing Wall.  You’ll be shocked by the insignificant look of it in comparison to the temple that greed built in Cleveland.  “This is where it started?” you’ll look at me and ask.  And “This can’t be it.” you’ll say.

“Yes, this is where it started, and that’s the way it always is in the beginning.  Simple, innocent, and unassuming to the naked eye.  Can you hear them?  The Million Dollar Quartet is having a jam session in the back.  They’d laugh if we told them they were going to be called that.  Those boys just want to sing a couple of songs and play some music…”

Sun Studios (Historic)
706 Union Ave.
Memphis TN


2 thoughts on “Cleveland Rocks? 25th Anniversary of the opening of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

  1. I think everyone should care about quality. The problem is that not enough individuals take the time to embrace talent. It’s a bigger issue at hand. The business as a whole is oversaturated. We need to begin to teach the youth and new generations about the four elements and the urban culture as a whole. Hip Hop not commercial rap music!

  2. I apologize as my exposure to both Hip Hop and Rap has been severely limited since I moved away from my 20 year old nephew, and currently my 12 year old daughter is more into Anime/Mangas than either one of those. But I would agree with you that more people need to be willing to embrace talent. Very few things in the world is as valuable as the ability to perform a song in front of a live audience, no matter what the style.

    But from where I am standing society as a whole is continually forced fed large amounts information including Hip Hop and Rap that goes to great lengths to glorify as well as amplify this same urban culture that you speak about. Most of our youth don’t even know that other styles of music even exist. Hip Hop benefits just as much from this media bias as Rap music does, and one would be hard pressed to find to prove that either one was less commercial than the other.

    There is a bigger issue here, and I think that limiting musical tastes to two very particular styles that glorify one single solitary type of culture is the last thing that a country known for being a melting pot of variety needs to do. Our responsibility with our youth is to show them as broad of a range of things in this world for them to appreciate and love as we can. Let them decide which things they love more.

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