Blues fans can finally celebrate the long-awaited progress that has recently been made in the building of an actual Blues Hall of Fame. The Blues Foundation‘s “Raise the Roof” campaign raised over $2.84 million from more than 1000 contributors, with the goal of completing the project in time for an anticipated May 2015 opening. This summer, demolition work and interior construction of both the exhibit and educational spaces began in Memphis.
The Blues Hall of Fame will be a 12,000-square-foot site located directly across from the National Civil Rights Museum, a location which most recently served as the headquarters of the Blues Foundation, founded in 1980. That same year, its Blues Hall of Fame induction program was inaugurated. Since then, 143 performers – including Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Howlin’ Wolf, Paul Butterfield, Albert King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Etta James, T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner – have been honored with induction. Dozens of iconic blues songs and albums have been honored by the Blues Hall of Fame as well, along with 40 “Classics of Blues Literature.” On May 8, 2015, these combined 393 people and works will finally be honored with brick and mortar, and fans will finally have a much-deserved physical location to celebrate the blues.
– Samantha M. Lopez