Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum Ribbon Cutting

(September 1, 1995)
By Jann S. Wenner

“This building reflects the debt we owe to the music, and it provides a setting appropriate to its historical, and social, and artistic importance. But why does the world watch what we do here today? Because music speaks all of the languages of the earth, and it sang out, calling out, around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat?”

Jann Wenner:I’d like to acknowledge the support, and love and help of my wife Jane, and my sons Alex, Theo, and Gus. Please stand up down there. “Hail, hail rock and Roll! Deliver me from the days of old!”- Chuck Berry. “The times, they are-a changing.’”- Bob Dylan. “What a long strange trip it’s been.” - The Grateful Dead. I’m here today because rock and roll changed my life. And we are here because we love rock and roll, and the artists, and those people in the rock and roll business who bring it to us.

This building reflects the debt we owe to the music, and it provides a setting appropriate to its historical, and social, and artistic importance. But why does the world watch what we do here today? Because music speaks all of the languages of the earth, and it sang out, calling out, around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat? This music crossed boundaries of race and religion, politics and nations, and generations, and no one could stop it. And this building should remind us of that energy and that power. This music unites, and inspires, and it lifts you up. Whether its for a kid whose listening to a radio in his bedroom upstairs, or four of them in a garage jamming, or in a bar band, or in front of vast crowds in giant stadiums. With song about love, about loneliness, or asking us to give peace a chance, or raising money and concern about the human condition, or being on your own, with no direction home.

For many of us, that blend of instrument, voice and rhythm has been a voice for our soul, sometimes frightened souls and for emotions and ideas that we couldn’t fathom within us, and it will be our voice long after we are gone. We’ve gathered here in one place, at long last, before they’re lost to us, the artifacts, documents, the images and the work of those who are the fathers and the kings of rock and roll, and the queens, and the godfathers of soul, and those who have followed in their footsteps, and whose names have become written so large in our lives. Let these collections serve to remind us of the power of innocence, and rebellion and youth, and let us also be reminded of the value of maturity, and growth, and perspective, because both young and old have a place at this table and in this building.

You will see here four decades of musical, cultural, social history, which has been so provocative and powerful in our imaginations and in our lives. And to those of you here assembled today in front of this jewel-like tent that will shine across this country, and to those of you who are unable to come, and to those of you who can be here in spirit only, and to those of you whose vision, and patience, and faith enables us to complete our work, I say thank you with all our hearts, and I say, "May you stay forever young." Thank you. And now its with great pleasure, privilege, honor, amazement, and awe that I’d like to invite everyone on this stage to come down here, and let’s cut this ribbon.