This Day in 1995: Dedicating the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
21 years ago today, a crowd of over 10,000 people – including more than a few rock ‘n’ roll VIPs – gathered together for the dedication ceremony of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame had been a long time coming, something that had been long discussed but which took an extended period of time to actually bring to fruition, and when it finally did, there were plenty of people ready to celebrate the fact that it had. Michael R. White, mayor of Cleveland, took the stage while Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” played, repeatedly trumpeting, “We did it!” He also made a point of noting how many jokes were made at Cleveland’s expense during the process of trying to make the dream of having a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame into a reality, saying, “Today we’re telling the whole world that we’ve got what it takes and we’re doing it. We ought to be proud of what we’ve accomplished today, but we ought to also tell everybody who will listen, ‘Baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
But just because the Hall was dedicated doesn’t mean that the festivities were over. The next night, Cleveland Municipal Stadium played host to the Concert for the Hall of Fame, an event which kicked off with Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Berry doing a duet of “Johnny B. Goode.” Before the lights were turned out, the performers had included – among others – Bob Dylan, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, James Brown, Eric Burdon, John Fogerty, Robbie Robertson, Sam Moore, the Kinks, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, the Allman Brothers Band, John Mellencamp, George Clinton, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, the Pretenders, Iggy Pop, Melissa Etheridge and Jackson Browne. Estimates place the number of attendees at 65,000, which sounds about right when you consider the artists involved and the high profile of the event itself. All in all, not a bad way to kick off the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.