It just occurred to me a few minutes ago; the Hard Rock Cafe is really like a church. The Detroit Hard Rock Cafe has stained glass depicting kiss, The Supremes, Alice Cooper, Stevie Wonder and other images synonymous with the Detroit music scene. This is not unlike the Christian churches in the world, great and small, which honor saints of centuries past by memorializing them in colored glass.
The photos of rock gods on the wall are like icons and statues so important to Catholic and Orthodox worship. More than anything, what we call “memorabilia” has value because of its connection to famous people. We’re fascinated to see Eminem’s (grubby) sweat pants or a guitar Eddie Van Halen played on a wall. “He touched those!” we think when we see them, or at least we’re supposed to have that reaction. Otherwise, why would we care to see a shirt worn by David Crosby? The stuff on the wall works out to be modern relics. Maybe we no longer fight wars over a splinter from the “true cross” or an article allegedly touched by a saint or Christ Himself.
I know it’s only rock and roll, as Mick Jagger once said — I know that’s a little corny. But I see a deeper meaning: places like the Hard Rock Cafe are little hints that people need a God or gods to worship. The Judeo-Christian Father God is not seen by us under what we would consider normal conditions. But these gods we can see and touch.
If the Hard Rock Cafe is like a local church, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is like St. Peter’s in Rome. Think about it.