Bruce Springsteen, Woody Guthrie and the gig that made the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Back in 1996, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was still looking for an annual event to hang its hat on.
The museum opened on the shores of Lake Erie a year earlier with the Concert for the Hall of Fame. The exhibits and programs drew people in. But Bob Santelli, Director of Education and Vice President of Public Programs, had an idea that would put an exclamation mark on Rock Hall‘s mission.
The latest episode of cleveland.com’s CLE Rocks podcast looks back at the very first American Music Masters, a Santelli brainchild and annual series honoring the roots of rock artists who laid the foundations for the development of rock and roll.
The first winner in 1996 was Woody Guthrie. Together with Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, Santelli and the Rock Hall created a 10-day celebration featuring exhibits, talks and concerts to salute Guthrie’s legacy as an American folk troubadour.
The festivities would culminate with an unforgettable tribute concert led by Bruce Springsteen, also featuring Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, a young Ani DiFranco, the Indigo Girls, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and others at Severance Hall.
The concert, which garnered international attention, would prove what Cleveland’s new museum was capable of, establish the power of the Woody Guthrie Archive and create an event that would last 20 years as a hallmark of music history. of Cleveland. Listen to the full episode above, or download/subscribe on Spotify, Apple, Stitcher, Audible and other platforms.