The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Induction week
This is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Induction Week in Cleveland.
For the first time in twelve years, the annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will take place here. This is the 24th induction ceremony. The on-going festivities began last Saturday and will continue right up to this Saturday’s Induction ceremony.
It’s the largest coordination effort the Rock Hall has embarked on since its opening.
The next induction ceremony in Cleveland will take place in 2012.
Getting the Rock Hall built in Cleveland was a victory that wouldn’t have happened without two unsung heroes.
We knew him as Eddie Spizel, an advertising guy whose agency represented Cook-United, the company that owned Uncle Bill’s and J.P. Snodgrass. When Cook-United folded, he left town, moved to San Francisco, and built a successful agency there.
I hadn’t seen him for years and was surprised when he called in 1984. Bill Graham, the famed rock promoter, was planning to build a rock & roll hall of fame in San Francisco, near Ghiradelli Square, which would honor mostly Bay Area performers.
He said he was coming to town and I set up a meeting of the minds, which included Denny Sanders, Kid Leo, and Bill Smith. To counter Graham’s plans, we’d need the support of the music industry, specifically the labels.
Enter the second unsung hero of the Rock Hall – Tunc Erim. He was head of promotion and marketing at Atlantic Records and right hand to Ahmet Ertegun, the label’s founder. Tunc, a good friend and a wonderful guy with a thick Turkish accent knew Cleveland well. He knew it as a rock and roll city and was an ardent supporter of WMMS and loved going to Cleveland concerts and rock clubs.
I called him and explained the situation Spizel described – and asked him if he could get Ahmet’s opinion.
“It’s funny you bring this up, Erim said, “because Ahmet is starting a rock and roll hall of fame.” He and Ertegun had picked out a site in Manhattan, and the mayor, Ed Koch, was arranging a tax abatement. Ertegun planned to house exhibits, a library, and historical artifacts in the building, and to hold induction ceremonies. He had set up a foundation for it back in 1983.
And it would be in New York unless – what? “Tunc,” I said, “if it’s in New York, it’s just another building. If you put it in Cleveland, it’s going to be a centerpiece. It’s going to be the focal point.”
He said he’d talk to Ertegun. He called back the following day and said. “Ahmet has one question: What will Cleveland do for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Our listeners provided the answer.
The complete story is in The Buzzard, Chapter 21 – The Rock Stops Here.