Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Location, Architect & Inductees

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sits on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. Honoring the history of its style, the Hall of Fame invokes the nature of its heritage not only in those it honors, but also the shape of the very building.


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1983, a foundation to establish the Hall of Fame was founded, and the foundation began looking for cities that would be natural locations for an eventual building in honor of the genre. Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, and Cleveland seemed to all be logical choices, due to the early growth of Rock and Roll in those cities.

However, more than any other city, the civic leaders of Cleveland wanted the Hall of Fame. Organizers created a campaign to lure the Hall of Fame to the city. They cited that, more than just having particular record labels based in the city, Cleveland had been a birthplace of the popularity of the style. In fact, Cleveland had been home to not only one of the first Rock and Roll radio stations, but also one of the first rock concerts, and was where many artists had their first big shows. Coupled with an attractive financial package, the Hall of Fame soon decided that Cleveland was the best choice.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from Lake Erie
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from Lake Erie

The city eventually settled on the idea to place the Hall of Fame on a revitalized strip of Lake Erie shoreline, rather than placing it on the Cuyahoga River or in an existing building. The city chose famous architect I.M. Pei to build the structure.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Sunset
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at Sunset


I.M. Pei, one of the most famous architects of the 20th century, was tasked with building the museum that houses the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Much like the music that the building represents, it is truly a project of the past 100 years, relying heavily on modern architectural style. Geometric shapes make up the majority of the composition of the building, with heavy reliance on the structural abilities of steel and glass to keep the building from toppling.

Inside is enough room not only for the exhibition space for displays honoring the development of rock and roll through the years, but also offices, event spaces, and archives for the organization. Since the building was completed in 1995, the site has also served as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Induction ceremony, held every three years.


Individuals and bands are nominated for membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along five categories, depending on their role in the establishment and continuation of rock and roll.

Performers are those individuals whom are considered worthy of membership by their merits behind the microphone or with an instrument. First awarded in 1986, recipients have included Ray Charles, Elvis, B.B. King, the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles, and a number of other great bands and singers from rock and roll. As a general rule, no one can be considered for induction until 25 years after their first album was released.

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