The New Year is here, and the new list of Achievements is on its way, but before we close out 2018, we wanted to post about just a few more things that we did during 2018 and never got around to writing up, to find more info on what we should do in 2019 through self-reflection. The first was part of our weekend trip to Cleveland in September.
We spent most of a Saturday, as well as a Sunday morning, in Cleveland at the end of September, following the Akron Half Marathon (husband’s first half! He made his running coach — me — so proud!). While this was an Achievement of its own, there’s so much more we wanted to see and ran out of time for, that we’re going to go back for another weekend.
On Sunday morning, before heading back to Pittsburgh, we visited a place that has long been on our list (and on my own personal bucket list as well): the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.
It was a lot of fun. If you go, plan for a few hours to check out everything, especially if you’re a music nerd. There are so many little details that you can find while you wander through the six floors of exhibits. Here are some of our favorite things from the visit.
The main floor is also home to a ton of donated artifacts, which was the coolest thing to me. They were cataloged by decade and location (i.e., the 1990s and Seattle, the late 1960s and San Francisco), so sometimes you had to do a bit of searching to find your favorite bands. I really liked this sheet music for “Holy Diver,” which holds a special place in my heart after years of people singing it at karaoke and inadvertently turning the whole place into a metal music singalong.
However, the item I loved the most in this section was definitely this floppy disk and letter from Prince’s management company, ‘helping the press’ learn how to type the love symbol he used as his name in the mid-90s. Everything about this artifact is perfect.
And no collection of iconic costumes would be complete without some items from P-funk! Not only are they one of the most fun live acts I’ve ever seen, they have some of the best (and sometimes most questionable) fashion.
One of the things I loved the most at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame was the section that featured song lyrics as they were originally written by the bands. Not only does this let you see your favorite artists’ handwriting, you can see the early versions of songs before they actually made it on the album, and words added in or scratched out as the lyrics evolved into their final form. This tatty sheet of “London Calling” lyrics is just lovely.
Then, we reached the huge section devoted to the Beatles & the Rolling Stones. As anyone who has ever met me knows, I hate the Beatles. I just can’t get into their stuff, though I gave it a solid effort when that greatest hits CD dropped in 1995. Just not my cup of tea. However. I absolutely ADORE the Rolling Stones, so I really enjoyed their section of the exhibit. (Look at this picture, they’re all like 12 years old. Weird!) If you love the Stones, a trip to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame is worth it just to see all the lovely Mick Jagger & Ronnie Wood outfits.
And of course, no trip to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame would be complete without seeing some stuff from one of my top ten favorite bands of all time, U2!! Can we just talk about all the amazing things going on in this flyer: first of all, it was made on a regular ol’ office copier, it’s not some shiny concert poster. Secondly, ‘New Wave Recording Artists from Ireland,’ that’s literally the best, and then: ONLY $5 TO SEE U2??? Can we please talk about how much we paid to go to the Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour? (Worth every penny. Seriously. Have you ever wanted to see Fox cry tears of joy for 2 hours? Send her to see U2 play The Joshua Tree in its entirety, while video of Joshua Tree National Park plays behind them, with the City of Pittsburgh as a backdrop. #HotMessExpress.)
But also, we were thrilled to find out that apparently, there was a time when U2 toured with the Virgin Prunes. Has anyone who doesn’t regularly attend goth dance nights even know who the Virgin Prunes are?? (As it turns out, the connection makes total sense, the members of both bands grew up together, The Edge’s brother was a member of the Virgin Prunes, and there have been some collaborations over the years, but this was history I didn’t actually know about until we visited this exhibit at the HoF.) Anyway, if the Prunes got back together and toured with U2, I would certainly throw down more than $5 to see it happen.
After visiting the main exhibits on the lower levels, we moved up the escalators. Floor six is very near and dear to my heart: it’s the music videos exhibit! As a teenagers in the 1990s, I spent much of my junior high years imagining my future as an MTV VJ. Many late nights were spent watching this very show, 120 Minutes with Matt Pinfield. (I just found out he has a memoir! BE STILL MY 1990s ALTERNATIVE MUSIC LOVING HEART.)
Basically every artifact on this floor was amazing in my eyes. Music videos and MTV were such an important part of my life, growing up. I loved music in general, but the videos made it even better, getting to see the artists’ visions of these songs. One of the best examples of that is the iconic video for A-ha’s “Take On Me.” I will never get tired of this video!
And they even included an item from my favorite Tom Petty music video, “Don’t Come Around Here No More.” I was obsessed with that video when I was a kid, and I remember waiting and waiting for it to be played. (Thanks, internet of the future, for allowing me to watch it whenever now!)
Finally, back down a few levels, we visited the actual Hall of Fame. Here you can find an exhibit for the year’s new inductees, and then the plaques with each year’s inductees. This was fascinating – you can’t be nominated to enter the HoF until 25 years after your first record. So, even though some bands seem far more influential, they didn’t get in until much later. One example that blew my mind is that Rod Stewart was inducted in 1994, and U2 did not get in until 2005! Not that I don’t have love for Rod, but I think if we’re going on ‘influential rock artists,’ U2 seems to be the frontrunner. But U2 wasn’t even eligible until 2005 because their first album came out in 1980. Rod’s first album was in 1969.
Hall & Oates didn’t even get in until 2014!!! (They were eligible since 1997, so I have a lot of questions for everyone who wasn’t voting for them every year since then. Just rude! They’re a national treasure!)
And on that note, I would like to stress the importance of voting for your favorite bands when you are visiting the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. One of my top three favorite bands of all time is The Cure. Their first album (Three Imaginary Boys) came out in 1979. That means they would have been eligible to be in the Hall of Fame since 2004. But can you believe, they were only nominated once in all these years?
Naturally, I couldn’t stand for that. So I voted for them. And what do you know… we just found out a few weeks ago that Robert and friends are now members of the 2019 class of inductees to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. When someone tries to tell you that your vote doesn’t count, remind them that your vote can help put your favorite goth band into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Your vote counts.
We had a really great time touring the HoF, and I hope that if you find yourself in Cleveland and you love to nerd out about music, that you will visit as well. Who knows what goth bands we could get in next year!