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Rock and Roll Preschool

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio

So much for planning. My family didn’t plan to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland when we planned our summer vacation.  By the time we arrived in Ohio, we had already visited Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Art Museum in Philadelphia, bicycled on the Allegheny Passage and stayed at an eco-lodge in Cumberland.  We were looking forward to a few quiet days in Cleveland, and when we visited the Hall of Fame, I wasn’t expecting to gain any insights into school leadership.  I just wanted to see Michael Jackson’s glove and Madonna’s corset.

Here is what I learned: the majority of Hall of Fame inductees are musical groups, not individuals.  Even the solo artists collaborated with well-known producers and band-mates.  Creativity is social.  The relationship between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards was documented in an extraordinary ’50 Years of Satisfaction’ exhibit which emphasized the creative energy that came from their competing artistic visions.  In addition, the museum made it easy to trace how styles and genres evolved over time: bands influence one another, borrow, and steal. Oh, the debt the Beatles owe to Chuck Berry. No one succeeds alone.

I was also struck by the relationship between technology (FM radio, turntables, recording devices, video and MP3 player and creativity) and consumer culture. It was fascinating to trace the relationship between Civil Rights and popular music. And it was inspiring to the passion and perfectionism of Hall of Fame inductees.

The Hall represents the soundtrack of American culture. It is all so encompassing that it seems nearly impossible to curate.  Of all we heard and saw, this sticks with me the most:

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I’m on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

 Could there be a Simon if there never was a Garfunkel?

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