Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Part I)

In this month’s segment of Cleveland’s Own, Matt Kaulig was excited to sit down with Greg Harris, President and CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Since 1995, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been an icon along the Cleveland waterfront, enshrining some of the biggest names in music.

Its mission is to engage, teach, and inspire through the power of rock and roll.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shares stories of the people events, and songs that shape our world through exhibits, innovative programming, and concerts.

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Read the Transcript

Narrator 

Each month, Kaulig Giving and Fox 8 will highlight people, organizations and charities making a difference in Northeast Ohio. It's time to celebrate Cleveland's Own.

Matt Kaulig

Hi, I'm Matt Kaulig! This month on Cleveland's Own. I'm excited to share part one of our two part series with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As one of Cleveland's most well-known icons and institutions. Let's learn more about their mission with their President and CEO, Greg Harris.

Matt Kaulig

Greg, hello, thanks for having us here, and Cleveland is so lucky to have just such a place like this right here in the heart of the city. So, tell me about the Rock Hall's mission and what it means and how it means for guests and really the global music community as a whole.

Greg Harris

You know, I think you nailed it when you said global. This is the only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the entire world. This is THE one that honors the best of the best. We are twenty five years old. In that time, we've had 13 million visitors have come to Northeast Ohio to experience the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and while they're here, they experience our mission. We engage, we teach, and we inspire through the power of rock and roll. And within that phrase, you can get away with a lot.

Matt Kaulig

Yeah!

Greg Harris

What that means is a band on stage cranking is the power of rock and roll. And you're inspiring people with the music. School kids can come here on their school buses. They can learn things like math, science, social studies through the power of rock and roll.

Matt Kaulig

Was there Hall of Fame before this was built here in Cleveland?

Greg Harris

The whole concept of a Hall of Fame, it's a pretty new phenomenon. But Rock and Roll didn't have a Hall of Fame, and music industry people came together in the 80s and they wanted to honor their own. And so they started doing a dinner in New York at the Waldorf and they put people into this mythical Hall of Fame. And the idea came out, we need to build a building. And people all over the nation will tell you they remember that moment because Philadelphia, my hometown, wanted it. Chicago wanted it. San Francisco wanted it. Cleveland wanted it. And quite frankly, Cleveland wanted it more. They mobilized the community. Anybody that grew up here will tell you they were parades, there were fundraisers, there was phone drives, and they pretty much stuffed the ballot box and were awarded the rights to build the only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Greg Harris

So you just debuted the 2020 induction ceremony. How did that go and how was it different this year?

Greg Harris

The ceremony was fantastic. It was aired on HBO around the World. On HBO. Max, you can download it and watch it. You know, typically the induction ceremony is a live event with artists that are inducted. They make speeches and then they perform. It will be back next year as a live event, but this year we couldn't. So instead, we made a documentary style show, where we could go deeper on content with each inductee.

Matt Kaulig

We also learned that you are expanding. So there's building expansion. What are your plans for that building and how are you going to use it?

Greg Harris

When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened twenty five years ago, the thought was that would be the anchor to lakefront development. So, Rock Hall and Science Center were built. And instead of being the anchors, we kind of sat here without much happening at the lakefront. And the big grassy space between the Rock Hall and Science Center is land that the museum recently acquired from the city of Cleveland. And our goal and desire is to connect the two museums, create a space where the public feels really comfortable coming down to the water. But we also need to expand the museum. We want to have a major new exhibition hall so we can bring in large blockbuster exhibits. We want to have more space for our education programs and it will bring more visitors. It'll bring more jobs and more activity to the lakefront.

Matt Kaulig

What do you want the people of Cleveland to know about coming to visit?

Greg Harris

I think it's important that people in Cleveland know that we're open, that we're following every health and safety protocol, come down and experience it. We'd love to have you and we'd love for you to see this museum and experience what Clevelanders have built for this region.

Matt Kaulig

To learn more about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, visit rockhall.com and to nominate a person or organization to be featured on an upcoming episode of Cleveland's Own visit kauliggiving.com/clevelandsown. Make it a Great Day!