Ryman Auditorium Earns ‘Landmark’ Status From Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

by Jim Casey

The Mother Church of Country Music knows how to rock. Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium was designated an official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Landmark by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on May 26. The Ryman is now one of 12 “Landmarks” throughout the country to earn the designation.

The designation comes as the Ryman celebrates its 130th anniversary in 2022. Since its first concert on May 4, 1892—then known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle—Ryman Auditorium has welcomed an array of entertaining acts on its hallowed stage. From magician Harry Houdini to comic actor Charlie Chaplin and former president Theodore Roosevelt to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., the Ryman has hosted just about everyone under the sun. Oh, and the artists. The list is long, including Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Garth Brooks, and more.

And speaking of rock and roll. Of the 334 artists/bands in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 112 have performed at the Ryman. Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, Neil Young, and more have taken the stage at the Ryman.

Ryman at a Glance

  • Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium opened in 1892
  • The Ryman is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year
  • Only 12 venues have earned Rock & Roll “Landmark” status
  • The City of Nashville recently recognized the Ryman as “Music City’s most famous and respected concert venue”

Rock On

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has only designated 12 venues/locations with “Landmark” status. The Ryman joins Austin City Limits (Austin, Texas), Whisky A Go Go (West Hollywood, Calif.), The Crossroads (Clarksdale, Miss.), King Records (Cincinnati, Ohio), and more.

In addition to an outdoor “Landmark” designation, the Ryman and Rock & Roll HOF will begin a multi-year partnership. In the coming months, an exhibit inside the Ryman will highlight rockers who have played at the Mother Church. Of course, Ryman visitors can expect to see rock memorabilia and more.

Mother Church

Earlier this month, the city of Nashville recognized Ryman Auditorium as “Music City’s most famous and respected concert venue” with an official resolution. The resolution, stated, in part: “The venue is most famous for being a home for country music. Its legacy has been defined by showcasing one of the most expansive lists of diverse performers ranging from jazz, pop and bluegrass to rock and roll, classical, and hip hop. From its very beginning, the Ryman has been a stage to just about every type of music and every type of performer.”

In 1943, the world’s most famous radio show, the Grand Ole Opry, began a 31-year run at the Ryman. When the Opry moved to its new home in 1974, the Ryman remained mostly dormant for 20 years. It was in danger of being torn down before a major restoration in 1994. Now, the Ryman is one of the country’s most iconic venues.

Additionally, throughout 2022, the Ryman will continue celebrating 130 years of its storied history.