I grew up listening to The Beatles, my late elementary school days were spent drowning my 11-year-old sorrows to “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” and I’ve been known to head bang to “I Love Rock And Roll” with the best of ‘em. So when Paul and Ringo, the guys of Green Day and rock goddess Joan Jett are all in one spot together, celebrating their careers, I pay attention. In fact, most of America pays attention.
Welcome to the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, which returned to Cleveland, Ohio, April 18. The event was covered by almost every major traditional and nontraditional news organization in the country, including: Rolling Stone, CNN, Buzzfeed, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Billboard and more.
Throughout the process of planning the 2015 induction ceremony, the Rock Hall faced a tough public relations problem: When a majority of inductees were popular during their parents’ young adulthood, how can the Rock Hall make Millennials care about the induction ceremony?
“There’s an effort to keep things relevant,” said Joel Peresman, the president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, in an interview with Joe Coscarelli of the New York Times.
And the Rock Hall did just that through expert event planning. To catch the attention of music lovers of all genres and generations, the Rock Hall had its inductees perform alongside some of the biggest names in the industry today. Miley Cyrus introduced Joan Jett, shocking (but are we really all that surprised anymore?) the audience by wearing nipple pasties with the inductee’s initials on them. Grammy award-winning artist Beck covered a Lou Reed song with songstress Karen O. John Legend performed alongside Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder.
But perhaps the Rock Hall’s best move of the induction was including punk-rock group Green Day in its Class of 2015. As Coscarelli observed, “Actual teenagers were present and screaming from the rafters for Green Day.” The group barely meets the Rock Hall’s requirement of being part of the industry for at least 25 years, but it is clearly still relevant to the Millennials who grew up singing “American Idiot” and “21 Guns.” By inducting such a relatively young group, the Rock Hall caught the eye of younger generations while still appeasing rock purists.
Through brilliant foresight and event planning, the Rock Hall solved an important PR problem while keeping the nation abuzz with excitement over the inductees and the modern-day celebrities who introduced, performed and celebrated with them. Kudos, and rock on!