Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rock Hall Announces Plans for Cleveland Walk of Fame - A Few Thoughts

Last Friday, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their plans for a Cleveland Walk of Fame (www.cleveland.com/music/index.ssf/2012/02/rock_hall_launches_plans_for_c.html).  The main plan being bronze plaques embedded into the sidewalks of downtown Cleveland.  The plaques will commemorate the Rock Hall inductees.  In my true Taking It Back spirit, I have a few thoughts on this (as I’m sure most of you do).

First of all, I am without a doubt a huge fan of the city of Cleveland.  As well, I’m a huge fan of anything that brands and distinguishes Cleveland as the Rock and Roll Capital of the World!  I don’t think we’re there yet...or anywhere close.  We’re almost 17 years from the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and most of the country still has no idea why it’s in Cleveland.  That’s another discussion for a different day, however.  My point again is that I’m for anything that helps Cleveland solidify its rock and roll identity.  The Cleveland Walk of Fame, in theory, does that.

So, while I like the idea of it and I really want this to have a positive impact on the city, I don’t love the details I’ve heard so far. Here are a few of my thoughts on these details.  The plaques are going to commemorate the current Rock Hall inductees.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  On first thought, yes.  On second thought, maybe not.  We have the only building that was built to commemorate these inductees.  So, why do we need to also have them on plaques around the city?  Plus, this will no doubt inspire further debate on who is inducted and who isn’t (again, another discussion for another day...soon).  People on the streets that come across the ABBA plaque (HA!) asking the all too obvious questions...Where’s the KISS plaque?  Where’s the Rush plaque?  Where’s the (insert any of the countless actual rock bands that have been ignored) plaque?  What I think would be cool (and maybe I’m way off) is to commemorate rock and roll events that happened in Cleveland.  One plaque could be for Alan Freed coining the term “rock and roll”.  Another could be for any of the number of incredible concerts Bruce Springsteen performed in Cleveland.  One could be for the last show Aerosmith played before Joe Perry quit the band in the late ‘70’s (yes, it was in Cleveland).  There are a lot of rock fun facts that happened in Cleveland and a lot of artists that have Cleveland ties (except Michael Stanley...bleh) and support exactly why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland...and not every plaque would have to be specific to Rock Hall inductees.  What a fun way to educate people on why the Rock Hall is in Cleveland!

Next thought, just where are they going to be located and how will they be grouped.  From what I’ve seen, they’ll be all around the city.  So, I can see the Guns ‘N’ Roses plaque in front of Public Hall, then walk to Quicken Loans Arena to see the Aerosmith plaque, then walk to Burke Lakefront Airport to see the Rolling Stones plaque, then walk to...you see where I’m going.  Most Walk of Fames (or is it Walks of Fame) I’ve seen are generally on one street, not scattered throughout a city.  Why not have them all on East 9th Street leading to the Rock Hall?  

When I think of a Walk of Fame, I think of the person/band being honored with a star (or plaque) having a ceremony that they actually show up for.  All I’ve heard from this is that they’ll invite the “honorees”. That’s not a ringing endorsement if you ask me.  One of the worst things that can come out of this is for it to be another shallow attempt to make Cleveland relevant that the artists being represented don’t even take seriously.  If it’s going to happen, the artists HAVE to show up, HAVE to feel honored and HAVE to care.  Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and money for all involved.  If the artists don’t care enough to see their own plaque, why would anyone else?

Last point before turning it over to your comments, and not really more than a question, but how are they going to sell these to businesses?  Will businesses get to pick which band they “present” and the location of the plaque?  What happens when they get through the big name acts and they’re left with the crap that has no business being in the Rock Hall?  How do they get businesses to pay for those?  I’m sure they’ve thought that through...

Again, I have to repeat it and stress...I WANT THIS TO BE A GREAT THING FOR CLEVELAND AND TO HELP BRAND THE CITY AS A ROCK AND ROLL DESTINATION FOR CLEVELANDERS, VISITORS AND THE BANDS THEMSELVES.  I just hope the plans that they’ve released to the media aren’t complete and things can still change...and I haven’t even touched on what the plaques themselves will look like.  The article mentions that the design “doesn’t look very rock and roll”, which, based on the logo and advertising I’ve seen for this year’s induction ceremony, is a legitimate concern.

Anyway, those are my thoughts...turned out to be a lot longer than I intended.  Now it's your turn.  Tell me what you think. However, not to restrict your comments, but please don’t turn the comments into a thread of who’s not inducted and who should be.  Those thoughts are incredibly valid, but I’m planning a separate blog on that subject, so please keep on the topic of the Walk of Fame for this one.  Thanks for reading and please follow my blog!

2 comments:

  1. So my take away from this is after Joe Perry endured a gig in Cleveland, he quit Aerosmith...gotcha

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    1. So is that a shot at Cleveland or Aerosmith? lol. What do you think of the Walk of Fame? What would make you excited for it?

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