Most Interesting People: Jim Henke

Curator for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Age • 53

Why he’s interesting • He has spent time with some of the biggest names in rock ’n’ roll. He’s received personal invitations from Yoko Ono and was the first American journalist to join U2 on tour in England (he’s stayed in touch with them).

Beatle beginnings • At 10, Henke was swept up in the British Invasion. He’s been hooked on rock ’n’ roll ever since.

His résumé • Henke never intended on a career in music. After receiving his journalism degree, the aspiring political writer got a job at The Plain Dealer. Through newspaper connections, he applied at Rolling Stone, where he worked for 15 years, serving as copy editor, writer, music editor and, finally, managing editor. He returned to Cleveland, his hometown, 14 years ago to work at the Rock Hall, where he’s vice president of exhibitions and curatorial affairs.

Can’t put down the pen • Henke’s written and edited books about John Lennon, Bob Marley and more. “The Jim Morrison Scrapbook,” which came out last October, includes Morrison’s report cards, personal notes and letters, lyrics and his first written poem, “The Pony Express.” “It shows a whole different side of him,” Henke says.

Guitar guy • In high school, he played bass for a band called Nirvana (before the Nirvana). While at Rolling Stone, he took guitar lessons, and he still plays in his spare time.

Top 3 bands of all time • 1. The Beatles, 2. The Band, 3. U2

Henke had his hand in ... • one of the best songs of all time: U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love)” was inspired by a book Henke sent Bono about Martin Luther King Jr.
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