Life in the Slow Lane

August 13, 2008

Music museum outposts are a rockin’ idea

Filed under: Music — pauljlane @ 12:19 pm

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced a brilliant move today to begin setting up annexes in several other cities worldwide.

The first annex will be set up in Manhattan, near the birthplace of punk and rap music. The annex will house several items important to that area, including Bruce Springsteen’s 1957 Chevy and material from Billy Joel.

New York City might have been a more natural choice for the hall than Cleveland, so it’s honestly about time that some sort of museum be set up there. The museum in Cleveland is spectacular (read my write-up about it here) but still, it’s Cleveland. The museum might not be enough to entice many tourists to the Midwest (attendance figures -451,000 in 2007 compared to 872,700 in 1996 – support that claim).

Having a presence in NYC is natural not only because it’s probably the creative hub of the nation, but because there are already so many people there. Granted, it’s easier for a museum to get lost there, but I know if I ever return to NYC I’m going to do my best to include a stop at the annex in my itinerary.

The hall plans to further expand with annexes in Las Vegas and the Middle East; given rock’s universal message, such a venture into Asia/Africa can’t hurt. But Vegas – Elvis’ unofficial home and the playground of the Rat Pack – is another natural fit. Sin City can never be hurt by having another non-gaming entertainment option, and the type of tourists that go to Nevada are likely to visit such a museum, so that’s another win-win there.

The hall would be wise to expand even more into other music hotbeds such as Chicago, Memphis and Los Angeles, each of which would give their own unique spin on the musical genre. Just imagine the possibilities that would be created there, with music fans wanting to make the cross-country jaunt to visit every annex. I know I’d do it if I could afford it. So, too, would I cross the pond to see a European outpost in London devoted to the many acts that have come from England.

Granted, there needs to be money to support such expansion. But really, how hard can that be considering what a wide reach rock music has in the people of the world? This idea rocks, and hall officials should do everything possible to make it happen.

•••

Here, for no really good reason, are some videos from New York’s famous musicians or acts that made their name in the Big Apple.

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