Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, now in its 130th year, is one of country music’s most revered performance spaces. But on Thursday (May 26), the Ryman was honored for its impact on rock ‘n’ roll, when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame designated the Ryman as an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark.
Since the first Ryman concert, featuring the Theodore Thomas Orchestra, was held on May 4, 1892, numerous entertainers, musicians and speakers have taken the stage at the Ryman, such as magician Harry Houdini, actor Charlie Chaplin, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and musicians including Johnny Cash (who also filmed his television series, The Johnny Cash Show, at the Ryman from 1969-71), Harry Styles, Wu-Tang Clan (who in 2019 became the first hip-hop group to headline a show at the Ryman), Elvis, B.B. King and more.
During a ceremony held at the Ryman, Mark Fioravanti (president of Ryman Hospitality Properties), Greg Harris (president/CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame), Nashville Mayor John Cooper and band Old Dominion gathered to unveil a historic marker to commemorate the milestone.
The Ryman joins 11 other rock ‘n’ roll landmarks throughout the country, including the Austin City Limits studio, King Records, Surf Ballroom, Whisky a Go Go and others.
“It’s spiritual, and it’s one of the reasons she’s called the Mother Church. Like any good mother, she commands respect and makes you feel at home. As Music City and Country Music continue to expand around her, she remains the center of the family,” Old Dominion singer Matthew Ramsey said in a statement. “She’s a beacon and a bucket list experience for us all, creators and fans alike.”
A multi-year partnership between the Ryman Auditorium and the Rock Hall was also announced, including a daytime tour exhibit slated to open at the Ryman later this year, highlighting the more than 100 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees who have performed at the Ryman over the decades.
“The Ryman is one of the most storied music venues in the world. With an unmatched role in popularizing country music — one of the pillars of rock & roll — its legendary stage has hosted performances by a staggering number of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees and continues to do so today,” added Harris via a statement. “We recognize the significance of Ryman Auditorium and are thrilled to designate this iconic venue as a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark.”
There are 351 members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and one of those members, Bonnie Raitt, performed at the Ryman on Thursday evening and paid tribute to the Ryman’s contributions to the history of rock ‘n’ roll music.
“The Ryman has played an important role not only in the history of Nashville, but in country music and rock & roll as well,” Raitt said via a statement. “This stage holds a special place in my heart as I’m able to perform live with many of the incredible Nashville songwriters in the audience whose work has enriched my life and music. I’m honored to help pay tribute to of one of America’s great rock & roll venues.”
See also Ryman Auditorium – ONE OF THE MOST CELEBRATED VENUES IN MODERN MUSIC