Holiday with a Difference: Top 5 Rock ‘n’ Roll Pilgrimages

by Jules on September 16, 2011

It’s easy nowadays to get access to the newest tracks and your favourite singles from the comfort of your living room – thousands of songs and albums are uploaded and downloaded online everyday, it only takes one click of your finger before you’re tapping your toes. But if you’ve got true, music love, why not travel?

Pack up your guitar in its battered case, swap out your Nirvana drumsticks for some travel money and hop on a plane. It’s time to pay tribute to the genius of your hero – make like a rock band and go on tour to the top 5 most significant pop and rock pilgrimage sites in the world:

1. Graceland

Elvis bought this huge, be-pillared mansion when he was only 22 – and it is where he died, at the age of 49. Since it was turned into a museum in 1982 hundreds of thousands of people have come every year to pay tribute to the King’s genius (and to marvel at his ritzy décor).

Pay for a guided tour and you’ll get to see his iconic Vegas jumpsuits, his two jetliners and more – though a few rooms, including the toilet in which he died, aren’t open to the public. You can also spend time in the Meditation Garden where Elvis is buried – fans often have a moment of quiet reflection here and leave tributes. Over the years, teddy bears, candles, American flags and frog toys have all been gifted at the graveside.

2. Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

While we’re talking graves, one of the most popular posthumous rock ‘n’ roll destinations is the final resting place of Jim Morrison: poet, musician and lead singer of the Doors. It used to feature a bust of Morrison but that was stolen in 1988; after years of fans vandalizing and chipping bits off it, the site’s now regularly patrolled by cemetery guards. It’s a shady place to be at night, with drugs, drink and sleazy tributes to the musician, so pack a bottle of whisky and some travel insurance.

While you’re at Père Lachaise, pop over and see the graves of Chopin and Edith Piaf– then follow tradition by planting a lipstick kiss on the grave of the rock ‘n’ roll bad boy of Victorian theatre, Oscar Wilde.

3. The Cavern Club, Liverpool

Take a ‘magical mystery tour’ of the Fab Four’s old hunting ground. After seeing the plaque at Paul’s house and visiting Penny Lane, you can take a trip to perhaps the most famous music venue in Britain and the place where the Beatles performed almost 300 times before making it big nationally: the Cavern Club.

The Club that exists today is a replica of the one the Beatles performed in from 1961-1963 – that was demolished to make way for a car park. Still, the new Cavern is made on about 75% of the original site and is constructed from many of the bricks – and, there’s still live music almost every night. Grab a drink, enjoy the music and soak up the atmosphere.

4. Café Wha?, New York

This swingin’ club has regular live acts and some of the most talented house bands in the whole U.S. It’s also where several extremely famous musicians were discovered in the ‘60s. Drink and dance in the aisles of the place where Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen were discovered, along with the funky talents of Peter, Paul & Mary, and Kool and the Gang.

5. The Motown Museum, Detroit

The old ‘Hitsville’ house, where the founder of Motown Records Berry Gordy lived and where many hugely influential tracks were cut by the likes of ‘Little Stevie’ Wonder, The Supremes, Aretha Franklin and the Jackson 5. Now a museum, check out Michael Jackson’s famous fedora and glove and the sofa where Marvin Gaye took a kip; in the sound booth, you can even see marks on the wooden floor from where dozens of famous feet have tapped to the beat over the years…

Related Posts:

Leave a Comment