In 1983, rock industry moguels including Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun and Rolling Stone creator Jann S. Wenner spearheaded an initiative to create the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The first inductions were held in 1983 in New York City as cities such as Cleveland, Memphis, Chicago, New Orleans and Chicago competed to be the home of the Museum. In 1986, Cleveland was selected as the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the building opened in 1995.

Since Alan Freed held the first rock concert here, Cleveland has been a rock and roll center. The city has a long reputation for breaking new acts and being a bellwether for identifying new stars.