The House That Rock Built

On September 1, 1995 the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by the founders of the museum including Ahmet Ertegun and Jann Wenner, rock artists including Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Yoko Ono, and the museum's architect I.M. Pei

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Opening Day (September 1, 1995) by Brian RatnerRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Rock Hall architect I.M. Pei, Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann S. Wenner and Yoko Ono, among many others, attended the opening of the museum.

Ahmet Ertegun at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Opening Day (September 1, 1995) by Arlene PachasaRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Rock Hall co-founder Ahmet Ertegun speaking at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum opening ceremony.

Ahmet Ertegun Tribute (December 13, 2016) by Rock & Roll Hall of FameRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Ahmet Ertegun Tribute

Ahmet Ertegun (1923-2006) is considered one of the most significant figures in modern recording history. He was one of the co-founders of Atlantic Records as well as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and the Museum. The main exhibition hall is named in his memory.

Yoko Ono at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum Ribbon Cutting (September 1, 1995) by Bob RossbachRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Yoko Ono speaking at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opening ceremony.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ribbon Cutting (September 1, 1995) by Arlene PachasaRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Sire Records co-founder Seymour Stein, Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann S. Wenner, Yoko Ono and Little Richard at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ribbon cutting.

Yoko Ono and Little Richard at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ribbon Cutting (September 1, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Yoko Ono and Little Richard at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ribbon cutting. Little Richard was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with its first class in 1986.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum Ribbon Cutting (September 1, 1995) by Bob RossbachRock & Roll Hall of Fame

State and local officials, alongside Sire Records co-founder Seymour Stein, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, Yoko Ono and Little Richard, cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony for the Rock Hall.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ribbon Cutting (September 1, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Seymour Stein, Jann S. Wenner, Yoko Ono and Little Richard cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony for the Rock Hall. Both Wenner and Stein are recipients of the Rock Hall's Ahmet Ertegun Award, in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum Ribbon Cutting (September 1, 1995) by Bob RossbachRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Ribbon cutting for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The House that Rock Built Interview with Norm N. Nite (September 16, 2020) by Rock & Roll Hall of FameRock & Roll Hall of Fame

The House that Rock Built Interview with Norm N. Nite, 2020

In celebration of the Museum's 25th anniversary and Nite's book release, the legendary broadcaster "Mr. Music" joins his co-author Tom Feran, and Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris and VP of Education Jason Hanley, to discuss bringing the Rock Hall to Cleveland, September 16, 2020.

James Brown at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

James Brown and The Temptations' Dennis Edwards at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Yoko Ono at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Yoko Ono in the Beatles exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Aretha Franklin at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Backstage at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The scene backstage at the concert was a joyous event, where rock legends reconnected with peers and younger artists met their idols for the first time. Backstage was a labyrinth of dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces and dining areas, where Bob Dylan  got to chat with Chuck Berry and James Brown, Ahmet Ertegun had a BBQ lunch with Aretha Franklin, and Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson watched the show. Artists performing together huddled over guitar tunings and key changes. It was historic both on and off stage.

John Fogerty, Chuck Berry and Robbie Robertson at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

John Fogerty, Chuck Berry and Robbie Robertson

Chuck Berry was the Rock Hall’s first inductee in 1986. After Elvis Presley, only Chuck Berry had more influence on the formation and development of rock & roll.

Chuck Berry and John Fogerty at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Chuck Berry and John Fogerty

Fogerty is a 1993 Hall of Fame inductee with Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Martha Reeves, Chuck Berry and unknown at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Martha Reeves, Chuck Berry and Unidentified Guest

Martha Reeves with Chuck Berry, backstage at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Reeves is a 1995 Hall of Fame Inductee with Martha & The Vandellas.

Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and James Brown at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and James Brown

Chatting backstage at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Brown was inducted with the first Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class alongside Berry; while Dylan was inducted two years later in 1988.

James Brown and Chuck Berry at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

James Brown and Chuck Berry

James Brown was known by many names: "Soul Brother Number One," the "Godfather of Soul," "Mr. Dynamite," the "Hardest-Working Man in Show Business" and then some. He will always be known as the indefatigable forefather of soul, funk and rap, and a performer like no other.

James Brown and Chuck Berry at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Ahmet Ertegun and Aretha Franklin at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Aretha Franklin and Ahmet Ertegun

Aretha Franklin was the first woman inductee of the Rock Hall in 1987. She and Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun shared a barbecue lunch backstage at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Pretenders at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Pretenders

The Pretenders are 2005 inductees to the Hall of Fame. Hometown girl Chrissie Hynde scored with the concert crowd by opening their set with “My City Was Gone,” which includes references to Ohio and her childhood home in Cuyahoga Falls.

Jackson Browne, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Jackson Browne, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Johnny Cash was inducted in 1992; Browne in 2004. In 2016, the Rock Hall honored Cash as the Annual Music Masters recipient, culminating in a star-studded tribute concert.

Nancy Wilson, George Clinton and Ann Wilson at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Nancy Wilson, George Clinton and Ann Wilson

George Clinton was inducted as part of Parliament-Funkadelic in 1997, while the Wilson sisters were inducted in 2013 with Heart.

Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson and Chrissie Hynde at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Women Who Rock

Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson and Chrissie Hynde at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Martha Reeves and Jerry Lee Lewis at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (September 2, 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Martha Reeves and Jerry Lee Lewis

Lewis is another member of the Rock Hall's first induction class in 1986. He was an unrepentant, wild example for naysayers to use when they spoke out against what even Lewis himself called “the Devil’s music.”

Jon Landau and Natalie Merchant at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (c. 1995) by Kevin MazurRock & Roll Hall of Fame

Jon Landau and Natalie Merchant

2020 Inductee Jon Landau managed Natalie Merchant beginning in the mid-1990s and oversaw her first major solo concert tour in 1998, the Come on Over Tour.

ROCK HALL EDU On September 2, 1995, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors and welcomed its first fans. Use the History of the Rock Hall PowerPoint to teach students about how the Rock Hall came to be. The story begins with the establishment of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation that oversees the Induction process. This is followed by an introduction to some of the key people and historical events that proved to the Foundation that Cleveland, Ohio was truly the home for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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