Music has an amazing ability to transport us back to a time or place that will evoke memories and remind us of significant moments. The band that you followed as a teenager will always have a place in your heart.
There is nothing like a tragic end to keep the memories even more alive. Every year fans travel across the world to be reminded of those moments by visiting memorials, attending tribute concerts and going to festivals for their favourite stars.
David Bowie – 1947 – 2016
The night David Bowie passed away I was at the first Bowie Fest in Grand Social Dublin. The next morning when I saw the headlines I thought it was a joke. We had been listening to Gerry Leonard talking about Bowie’s personal style and music and nobody suspected he was dying. So where would be go to remember him. There is a tribute concert on March 31 in Carnegie Hall in New York and some tickets are still available. Or we could go to the mural in Brixton scene of a major outpouring on the night he died.
Elvis Presley 1935-1977, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee
The most visited private home in the United States opened in June 1982, almost five years after the death of the King. To this day it still attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year, many born after Elvis’s death. Some visitors come to get married in the Graceland Chapel.
Elvis Presley Enterprises, the company behind the legend, have shrewdly purchased land and properties around the King’s mansion. EPE plan to turn 120 acres into the Graceland Campus with additional attractions for visitors.
Book your trip soon to the Heartbreak Hotel, the 1960s Elvis themed 120-bed hotel with a heart shaped swimming pool is going to close later this year. The Heartbreak is giving way to a much larger property The Guesthouse. The new 450-bedroom hotel opening in the autumn will also have convention and theatre facilities.
Marc Bolan 1947-1977, Queen’s Ride, Gipsy Hill, Barnes, London
Just a month after the passing of Elvis, Marc Bolan was killed in a car accident in the London suburbs of Barnes. The English rock star and his band T Rex had outsold The Who and Jimi Hendrix in their day.
The sycamore tree at the site when the purple mini came to rest became a place of pilgrimage almost immediately. The car driven by girlfriend Gloria Jones, went out of control and hit a fence first. The site is maintained by the T Rex Action Group and there is a bust of Marc, and plaques to other members of the band who have since passed away.
See the shrine and learn more about Marc on the Glam Rock, Bowie and Bolan tour. Here you will also see the birthplace and “death” of Ziggy Stardust, £35, londonrocktour.com.
Jim Morrison 1943 – 1971, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.
For some people it was hard to believe that one of rock’s most poetic voices could really have died in a bathtub in Paris. Years after his ignominious death from a probable heroin overdose, fans refused to believe that Jim Morrison was dead. Fans stalked his family and kept his memory alive with rumours or sightings and reincarnations.
Memorials on the Lizard King’s gravesite have disappeared over the years, stolen by diehard fans. Now there is a flat granite slab with a bronze plaque inscribed in Greek. The tribute by his father reads, “true to himself.”
Pere Lachaise Cemetery is in the 2oth arrondissement in east Paris, Oscar Wilde and Frederic Chopin are also buried here. Watch out for Doors Irish tribute band, the Roadhouse Doors.
Trivia fact; Jim Morrison and Van Morrison shared a stage in 1966 when the Doors were a support act to Van and Them at Whisky A Go Go club in West Hollywood.
Amy Winehouse 1983-2011, Camden, London
The deep-voiced singer burst onto the music scene with her critically acclaimed first album Frank in 2003. In her short career she racked up nominations and awards on both sides of the pond including various Brit Awards, Grammys, and Ivor Novellos. The BBC called her the “pre-eminent vocal talent of her generation.”
Amy took to the rock star life with gusto and in no time was overly tattooed, photographed drunk and stoned, fighting and going to rehabilitation. The tiny star was so hounded by paparazzi that she took an injunction against the leading agency Big Pictures.
In recognition of her love to Camden Town, a bronze statue to Amy was unveiled in Stables Market. The statue of the singer shows her, hand on hip, with a Star of David necklace and the signature beehive hair style. Amy is buried in Edgewarebury Cemetery, in Edgeware, with grandmother Cynthia Levy.
John Lennon, 1940 – 1908, New York.
35 years ago when Mark David Chapman took the life of John Lennon. He was one of the world’s most famous band members and songwriters ever. New York remembers its adopted son by a memorial in Central Park, aptly called Strawberry Fields.
In Liverpool the lives of John, George, Ringo and Paul are part of the fabric of the city. The airport was renamed John Lennon Airport in 2001. Fans travel to the city to immerse themselves in the Cavern Club, and tour the Beatlesstory.com. There’s even a tribute hotel called Hards Days Night with memorabilia from the Beatles heydays, hardsdaysnighthotel.com with rates from £95.
Sid Vicious 1957 – 1979, New York
Most associated with the Hotel Chelsea, Sid Vicious goes down in the annals as the alleged killer of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen here. Her ghost is believed by many to haunt the hotel. Vicious died of a heroin overdose three months after her death while on bail.
Favoured spot of the beat generation the Chelsea has a long and interesting history. Home to many famous and infamous writers, actors, artists and musicians, like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin, Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Dee Dee Ramone and more. Hotel Chelsea is undergoing a major renovation and will reopen in 2017, chelseahotels.com.
Kurt Cobain, 1967 – 1994, Aberdeen, Washington, USA
Although Nirvana only ever released three studio albums in their seven year career they came to be regarded as one of the most influential and important rock bands. The band sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.
The tragic suicide of founder and lead singer Kurt Cobain brought the band’s trajectory back to earth. The shock of Cobain’s action caused many to prefer to believe that he was murdered or a victim of some gruesome misadventure.
Fans of the Seattle grunge scene can remember Kurt Cobain at the small memorial park in his home town of Aberdeen, at the foot of the Young Street Bridge. An unofficial memorial place to the star is the Viretta Park in Seattle where fans gather on his anniversary, April 5.
Jimi Hendrix, 1947-1970, Renton, Washington
One of the world’s greatest guitarists is remembered in his home state of Washington with a marble monument, erected by his family in Greenwood Memorial Park, Renton, WA.
Phil Lynott, 1949 – 1986, Harry Street, Dublin
Every day of the week you will see fans posing with the bronze statue of Philo on Harry Street. 30th Vibe for Philo was held on January 4, in Vicar Street.
Rory Gallagher, 1948 – 1995, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal
Rated by Rolling Stone and Gibson Guitars among the top guitarists in the world, Rory Gallagher is remembered in his birthplace, Ballyshannon with a statue and festival. In June thousands of fans from all over the world will descend on the Donegal town to play, hear some great music and remember one of world’s best, June 2-5, 2016.
Museum of Rock
Cleveland seemed an unlikely place for a museum to Rock and Roll. At the time it was developed in the late 1990s the north Ohio city was undergoing a transformation from its industrial background. The striking modern building is now a place of pilgrimage to many famous musicians dead and alive. There is a programme of exhibitions through the year, rockhall.com.