No matter where you go in the world, you’re bound to encounter a landmark or building with some sort of musical history. You could run into Freddie Mercury’s first home in Zanzibar, stumble across Abbey Road in London, or perhaps drive past Wet’n’Wild Splash Town in Texas, which was Beyoncé’s favourite place to visit as a kid. We’ve found eight pilgrimages every music lover should make at least once in their lifetime.
Graceland, Memphis, USA
Elvis Presley’s former home, Graceland in Memphis is the second-most visited house in America, beaten out only by the White House. The King’s famed mansion has been kept intact since his death in 1977, and is now a museum. Wander through the lavish rooms fitted out in their original 1960s- and 70s-style furnishings, explore his extravagant private airplanes, and even try his favourite foods at one of the onsite restaurants. Butter-soaked peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich anyone?
The Cavern Club, Liverpool, UK
Image © Claudio Divizia
Liverpool is positively littered with must-sees for Beatles fans – John Lennon’s favourite pub (The Philarmonic Dining Rooms), Strawberry Fields, and The Beatles Experience exhibition among them. The Cavern Club is perhaps the most iconic of them all. Notable as the club where Beatlemania began, the basement bar is now actually several doors down from its heyday location, but has been rebuilt from the club’s original bricks, to the original plans. Keep an eye out for cover bands and stacks of Beatles memorabilia. There are also artefacts from other bands who have played the venue, including The Arctic Monkeys, BB King and Queen. Be sure to check out the John Lennon statue opposite the entrance, and pay a visit to the lonely sculpture of Eleanor Rigby around the corner.
Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Image © Nicola Bertolini
As much as we see them as more than human, sadly rock stars die, too. Visit some of the world’s most famous musos in their resting place at Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, in Paris‘s 20th arrondissement. Lizard King Jim Morrison found his final home here, as did Édith Piaf. Polish composer Chopin was also buried in the cemetery, though minus his heart, which was returned to his homeland.
Hansa Studios, Berlin
What do U2, Iggy Pop and David Bowie all have in common? They’ve all recorded at Berlin’s Hansa Studios! The musically inclined still head here when they want to create some fresh sounds, and you can visit, too, by booking a studio tour. Nick Cave, Snow Patrol and Supergrass have all also recorded albums here, so who knows who you’ll bump into!
Yes, Dolly Parton has a theme park, and no, it’s not just packed with spangly dresses and fabulous wigs (though they do make an appearance). While it features traditional theme park fare like rollercoasters, a ferris wheel and bumper cars, Dollywood also pays homage to Dolly’s Smoky Mountains upbringing and career success. Visit the songstress’s tour bus and a replica of the two-room home where she and her 11 siblings were raised. There’s also an accompanying water park and hotel, if you feel so inclined.
Chelsea Hotel, New York
Image © Marco Rubino
Built in the 1880s, the Chelsea isn’t much to look at from the outside. It’s what’s happened inside its red walls that’s the key to its fame. It’s where Sid Vicious allegedly murdered his girlfriend Nancy. It’s where Leonard Cohen and Janis Joplin had a brief fling (chronicled in the song ‘Chelsea Hotel #2’). Bob Dylan had an apartment here, in which he wrote ‘Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’. Madonna, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and Cher have all called it home at some point. Sadly this Manhattan hotel has been bought by developers, and will re-open in 2018 after an extensive restoration – sans bohemians. You can still get an Instagram out the front, though!
Lennon Wall, Prague
Few musicians are as synonymous with ‘free love’ as John Lennon. In communist Prague, Lennon was a symbol of peace, love and freedom. After his death in 1980, a painting of him appeared on this wall, and since it has been continually updated with Beatles lyrics, quotes from the bespectacled man himself, and political graffiti. Even though the communist regime has fallen, the wall still serves as an outlet for artists and Beatles fans; musicians are usually to be found covering Beatles songs at the wall.
AC/DC Lane, Melbourne
Image © Blue Jacaranda
One of Australia’s most famous exports, AC/DC was permanently etched in Melbourne’s history when this lane was named after the pub rockers in 2004. The lane is also home to one of Melbourne’s most loved music venues, Cherry Bar, which Oasis scandal-monger Noel Gallagher was so taken with that he offered to buy it. The bar is famous for once turning away Lady Gaga’s after-party because a small local band was booked to play on its stage. Now that’s rock and roll.