AKRON, Ohio – The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction is over, and the busts of the most recent class are on their way to the museum.
With that done, it’s time for music lovers to turn their attention to another Northeast Ohio-based hall of fame dedicated to a genre of music.
The R&B Hall of Fame, tentatively planned to be built in Cleveland, has announced its class of 2014. Several artists from a variety of eras will join the hall. This year’s inductees are the Whispers, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye, the Delfonics, Chubby Checker, the Sweet Impression, the Dells, the Funk Brothers, radio personality Norm N. Nite, the Spinners, the Impressions, and Russell Thompkins of the Stylistics. The Living Legend award will be given to Joe Jackson, father (and alleged tormentor) of the Jacksons.
The second annual R&B Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Canton Palace Theatre. There will also be a concert featuring the Kinsman Dazz Band, Enchantment, the Dynamic Superiors, the Delfonics and the Dramatics starring Willie Ford, the Hesitations and the Sweet Inspirations, and an after party. Last year’s event sold out quickly; go to www.rbhalloffame.com for more information and tickets.
Nominees are chosen on the following criteria: They must have rhythm and blues as the primary format or music style, have at least a 20-year history of R&B participation, made a historical contribution and had an impact and overall influence on R&B around the world.
This year’s class will join the inaugural class of 21 artists that included legends such as the Temptations and Sam Cooke alongside more contemporary artists such as Gerald Levert and lesser-known groups including the Dynamic Superiors and Sly, Slick and Wicked.
The man behind the museum, Lamont Robinson, is a lifelong R&B fan and collector with hundreds of artifacts. He grew up watching many of the enshrined artists perform at the fabled Leo’s Casino, the Cleveland R&B live music venue that played host to many R&B and jazz legends during its run from 1963 to 1972. Leo’s has been designated a rock ‘n’ roll landmark, but Robinson, who currently has a mobile version of the museum and is still looking for a permanent home, plans to use Leo’s interior design as a model for the museum.