CLEVELAND — Rock royalty snipped the ribbon Friday on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to thunderous cheers from thousands of people.
A recording of Jimi Hendrix's feedback-laced rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" opened the ceremony. A flight of Marine Corps Harrier jets, appearing in the Cleveland National Air Show this weekend, screeched overhead.
"We did it! We did it! Tell the world, we did it!" exulted Mayor Michael R. White.
The hall, which includes memorabilia, interactive displays and theaters, was not scheduled to open to the public until this morning. A benefit concert is scheduled for tonight featuring such stars as Bruce Springsteen, Little Richard and Johnny Cash.
Although they could not get in Friday, people swarmed to the glass-and-steel structure along Lake Erie. Police could not immediately provide a crowd estimate, but people lined a parade route five deep and mobbed the streets leading to the hall.
Singers Little Richard and Martha Reeves, artist Yoko Ono, Rolling Stone Publisher Jann Wenner and Atlantic Records President Ahmet Ertegun cut the ribbon.
"As a member of the rock 'n' roll family and community, I feel very happy that we now have our museum, a home," said Ono, who donated numerous articles of memorabilia of her late husband, John Lennon. "I think John would have loved this too. He would have loved the fact that he's here and not in my closet anymore."