Why visit your relatives when you could get a glimpse of musical monuments to your fallen rocker role model icons instead? Spread across America, are tributes in the form of parks, paintings and sound studios, all with a bit of nostalgia and a whole lot of love for music’s greats.
Strawberry Fields (John Lennon Memorial)
Across the New York City street from where Lennon lived in the last years of his life is the Strawberry Fields Memorial, a tribute to the fallen Beatle and the song “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The monument is a 2.5-acre patchy of New York’s Central Park with a landscaped section and “Imagine” mosaic embedded in its grounds. Lennon was shot in that neighborhood in late 1980.
“Figure 8” Wall (Elliott Smith Memorial)
Since his passing just over a decade ago, Elliott Smith has been immortalized on the walls of Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood. The symbol is a reference to Smith’s last album, "Figure 8," released in 2000. Smith died in late 2003 from an apparent suicide, although his death is still a bit mysterious.
Adam Yauch Park
Brooklyn, New York, is the home of Beastie Boys rapper/activist Adam Yauch, one of the three boys who changed the landscape of American hip-hop in the 1990s. Yauch was met with an untimely death in 2012 at the age of 47 after a three-year battle with salivary gland cancer. Palmetto Park — near where Yauch grew up — was renamed Adam Yauch Park in his honor.
Sound City Studios
Los Angeles’ most historic recording studio has recently been retired, but it stands as a musical monument to many great recordings, in particular one of the greatest rock albums of the ‘90s, "Nevermind" by Nirvana. Sound Studio stands as a landmark to the fallen Kurt Cobain, as well as many other still-standing musical greats.
The tiny little Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, has been home to more than 60 years of rock history — especially of note, to the early works of both Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Anybody who saw “Walk the Line” might recognize Cash’s first studio experience at the historic Sun Studio. Presley too recorded his first official tracks in the very same studio back in 1953.
The 14-acre Memphis estate of the late Elvis Presley has been a gathering spot for vigils and memorializing the fallen "King of Rock and Roll." Presley died and was buried at Graceland where upwards of at least half a million people flock to pay tribute each year since his death in 1977.
Jimi Hendrix Park
Seattle is not only home to good coffee, grunge music and the Seahawks, but now it’s the stomping grounds for Hendrix fans who can — as of 2012 — visit the 2.5-acre park with its custom lyric stepping stones, rain drums, guitar shape sculpted garden, and performance area. The park is located in Seattle’s Central District and opened to celebrate the 70th birthday of Hendrix.
Electric Lady Studios
Owned by Jimi Hendrix himself, the Village Barn nightclub was bought with the intention of opening it as his own nightclub before he turned it into a recording studio. Now home to many great recording artists like Patti Smith, David Bowie and Stevie Wonder, Electric Lady Studios is a musical landmark that has a bit of Jimi’s “steez” still left in its walls.
CBGB & OMFUG
The ever-famous CBGB of Manhattan’s Bowery and Bleecker streets was the homey forum for '70s punk and rock bands — namely acts like the Ramones, The Police and Joan Jett. The venue closed its doors in 2006 with the final show belonging to Patti Smith with guest Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers. And for those who don't know or can't remember, the name stands for "Country Bluegrass Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers."
Canyon Country Store
An unofficial monument to music history is the Lauren Canyon’s longtime makeshift Country Store, which was visited and written about by The Doors' Jim Morrison. Songs like “Love Street,” as well as songs by other musical acts like Joni Mitchell and the Grateful Dead, have history in its small walls. The store sets at the bottom of the canyon, right before you enter Hollywood Boulevard. From there, the tributes to fallen rockers unfold like a wild orchard.
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Whether it’s a landmark you deem appropriate to visit, it is a landmark nonetheless, home of the late Jackson 5 star and solo dance machine, Michael Jackson. Neverland Ranch, Jackson’s Santa Barbara home, boasted a playful amusement park with its own petting zoo, a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel, among much childhood favorites. The park was to be the resting place and Graceland-esque memorial for the late Jackson beginning in 2009, but now the family is mainly focused on its use being for the enjoyment of sick children. The family and its supporters are currently in the hopes of purchasing the property and restoring its liveliness in Michael’s honor.