The heart of rock and roll is still beating…in Cleveland…

In 1983, up-and-coming bar-band rocker Huey Lewis had just finished an exhilarating show before an enthusiastic crowd in a small venue in Cleveland.  He and his band, The News, were in their van heading off for the next stop on their tour, and Lewis took a last look at the bridges, industrial Flats and downtown buildings that mark the skyline of the much-maligned Midwest city on Lake Erie.  “You know,” he said thoughtfully, to no one in particular, “there’s plenty of great music on the West Coast, and the East Coast, and in the South…but the heart of rock and roll is in Cleveland!

Cleveland_from_Superior_ViaductLewis and guitarist Johnny Colla wrote an infectious song with that theme in mind — heartland, blue-collar, fist-pumpin’, rock and roll-lovin’ fans in Cleveland are the best, most passionate rock fans you’ll find.  Ultimately, his manager persuaded Lewis to make the lyrics more universal by mentioning numerous cities across the country so people anywhere could relate to it.  But Lewis’s initial thought was right on the money:  Cleveland and rock and roll are a pair made in heaven.

What’s up with that?  How did Cleveland earn its reputation as the Rock and Roll Capital?  How is it that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is located not in Memphis, or Philadelphia, or New York, or Los Angeles, but Cleveland, Ohio? Read More