CLEVELAND — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame kicked off the civic celebration and concerts leading up to its April 14 inductions with the unveiling Wednesday of sidewalk "Walk of Fame" plaques honoring the newest inductees.
The initial 14 round plaques were unveiled in a windswept ceremony outside the auditorium where the inductions will be held.
Additional plaques will be installed in the next few days honoring this year's 17 inductees, including Guns N' Roses, the Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Rock Hall President Terry Stewart said 270 more plaques honoring the previously inducted Rock Hall members will be installed over the next two years around downtown.
Backers envision the plaques as gathering spots where fans will snap photos of plaques honoring their favorite groups and performers enshrined in the Rock Hall, located alongside Lake Erie.
"The concept is to have these plaques really connect all the downtown areas and highlight once more that Cleveland is the rock 'n' roll capital of the world," Stewart said.
This year's other inductees are Donovan, Laura Nyro, The Small Faces/The Faces, Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd, Glyn Johns, the Blue Caps, the Comets, the Crickets, the Famous Flames, the Midnighters and the Miracles.
Plaques will be auctioned to pay for the project and help pay for future induction ceremonies. The glitzy event currently is split between New York City and Cleveland, with every third year in Cleveland.
About a quarter of the people who came from out of town during the 2009 induction week activities in Cleveland didn't go to official Rock Hall events but wanted to experience the excitement, said David Gilbert, president of the Positively Cleveland travel and tourism agency.
"That shows what a very powerful event this is for the community," he said.
The Rock Hall, in a glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei, has attracted more than 8 million visitors since opening in 1995.
Stewart said he expects the Guns N' Roses members to attend the inductions but said there had been no word on whether they would reunite for a performance.