Backed by Metallica, Cleveland gathers steam for next Rock Hall induction ceremony

Metallica (music group)Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and MuseumRock and Roll (genre)Elvis PresleyLittle Anthony and the Imperials (music group)Wanda Jackson

CLEVELAND (AP) — Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich pointed up at thousands of rock fans in the public seating sections at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's 2009 inductions.

"This is all about all of you people up in the balcony. Remember that!" Ulrich shouted, drawing a loud cheer.

The heart of rock 'n' roll was in Cleveland on Saturday, and the city, which hosted the induction ceremony for the first time since 1997, won't have to wait long for it to return. Officials expect to have the annual event in Cleveland every three years.

Saturday's ceremony also marked the first time the event was open to the public, and the Rock Hall made sure to give access to about 5,000 ticket buyers. Past inductions, including those in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria ballroom, only had room in the audience for VIPs, inductees and invited guests.

The city of Cleveland helped Saturday's ceremony in a big way, refurbishing and decorating the downtown Public Auditorium built in 1922.

"I think it's nice for Cleveland," said hip-hop music label and fashion entrepreneur Russell Simmons, as he walked in on the red carpet. "They fought to get it here. They deserve it. It's good for the people of Cleveland. It should be here every year."

Joel Peresman, CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, said the Public Auditorium was a fitting site because of its own rock history, hosting early U.S. performances of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and others.

"To have fans be able to come to this event, which is something we've never been able to do before, is great," Peresman said. "It's incredibly successful, and we're looking to come back every three years."

Since the 1950s, when Cleveland radio personality Alan Freed popularized the term rock 'n' roll, the city has been widely recognized for a passion for rock music.

The New York-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created 1983 and selected Cleveland as home of the Rock Hall in a national competition.

Metallica earned top billing in Saturday's eclectic 2009 class that included rap pioneers Run-DMC, virtuoso guitarist Jeff Beck, soul singer Bobby Womack and rhythm and blues vocal group Little Anthony and the Imperials.

Drummer DJ Fontana and the late bassist Bill Black — both of Elvis Presley's backup band — and keyboardist Spooner Oldham made it in the sidemen category. Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson was inducted as an early influence.

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Associated Press writer Tom Withers contributed to this report.

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On the Net

Rock Hall: http://www.rockhall.com/



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