The Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
Of the many exhibits in the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, one in particular
captures the democratic nature of rock and roll. A
black leather jumpsuit that Bono of U2 wore
on stage is displayed next to Bruce
Springsteen's "costume" for his 1984 Born in
the U.S.A. tour: a simple short sleeved white
T-shirt and a pair of faded blue jeans with ripped
knees. Such contrast is at the heart of rock and
roll's appeal. It can be elegant or
rough. Pretentious or plain. Dr. Jekyll or Mr.
Located in Cleveland, Ohio where disc jockey Alan Freed coined the phrase "rock and
roll," the shrine to the 20th century's most
popular musical genre is a tasteful structure
designed by world-renowned architect I.M.
Pei. Inside, it's a scrapbook come to life.
Gold records, guitars, album covers, posters, and
personal artifacts of the stars trace the music's
history from its roots in rhythm and blues and
country to the billion dollar industry it became
with the rise of Elvis, the Beatles,
and later, Michael Jackson and Madonna.
Currently, the hall is paying tribute
to the late John Lennon with "Lennon: His Life
and Work". Most of the artifacts in the
exhibit come from the collection of his widow, Yoko
Ono. It includes Lennon's handwritten lyrics, art
work, clothing (the coat he wore on the "Sgt.
Pepper" cover), and even the bed in which he and
Yoko staged their notorious 1969 "bed-in for
The eyeglasses Lennon wore the night
of December 8, 1980 when he was slain by a
deranged fan is the most controversial item.
Lennon's blood still stains the thick glass in the
plastic frames. Some might criticize this display
as tasteless, even ghoulish. Others, including Ono, argue that it's appropriate in light of
Lennon's determination to strip away the artifice
of celebrity. The bloody glasses hammer home the
reality that Lennon was as human as the rest of us,
and that fame offers no protection from
"Lennon: His Life and Work"
will continue to run through until September 2001.
If you happen to be in Cleveland, the exhibit, like
all of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and
Museum, is well worth a look.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and
Museum is located at One Key Plaza, Cleveland, Ohio
44114. It's open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. - 5:30
p.m. (and until 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays). It's
closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.
Admission (subject to change) is $15.00 for adults
and $11.50 for seniors and children under 12.
Brian W. Fairbanks