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If you know where your favorite musician was born, have visited their childhood home, seen their first concert venue, know what kind of guitar they played and perhaps laid flowers on their grave, you might be a Rock Super Fan.
Just for you, here are some attractions that celebrate Rock ’n’ Roll’s greatest hits.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Cleveland, Ohio
“Long Live Rock.” The giant, red letters in front of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland are a rallying cry for Rock fans everywhere. Inside this museum that celebrates the genre’s history, evolution and artists are some of music’s most-treasured artifacts, including Michael Jackson’s glove, Ringo Starr’s drum kit, Janis Joplin’s car and Slash’s black top hat. You’ll also find sections dedicated to Hip-Hop history and modern Pop artists. Afterward, stroll along the Lake Erie shoreline and try Cleveland comfort foods like Polish Boys and pierogies. Fun fact: The term “Rock and Roll” was coined in the early 1950s by Allen Freed, a Cleveland-based disc jockey.
The I.M. Pei-designed Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on the banks of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio
Graceland – Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock ’n’ Roll, where world-famous Beale Street hums with live music. Visit Elvis Presley’s opulent Graceland estate, where he lived from 1957 to 1977, and it’s hard to believe that the man who would become The King of Rock ’n’ Roll started his life in a two-room shack in Tupelo, Mississippi (which is also open for tours, if you’re ever in that area). Tour Presley’s mansion, car museum and personal airplanes, and pay your respects at his burial site.
Elvis Presley’s pink Cadillac parked in front of the Graceland mansion in Mempis, Tennessee
Sun Studio – Memphis, Tennessee
If there’s someone to credit with Elvis Presley’s rise to stardom, it’s Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Studio. It’s also where Jackie Brenston recorded his 1951 hit “Rocket 88,” believed by most to be the first Rock ’n’ Roll song ever recorded. In 1956, Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins ran into each other at the studio and recorded an impromptu jam session, a historic musical alignment known as the Million Dollar Quartet. No trip to Memphis is complete without a visit – you can even take a shuttle from Graceland.
Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, where the first Rock ’n’ Roll record was made
Woodstock – Bethel, New York
This rural hamlet will forever be associated with the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, which took place in Bethel, about 90 kilometers southwest of Woodstock. What was promoted as a three-day festival of “peace and music” turned into one of the most fabled events in music history. The lineup included ‘60s icons like Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Joan Baez. The original festival site is now home to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which hosts cultural events and live performances, and the Museum at Bethel Woods, full of black-light posters, set lists and other groovy Woodstock memorabilia. The site is officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is just two hours from New York City. Don’t miss a chance to visit.
A plaque commemorating the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival in Bethel, New York
Paisley Park – Chanhassen, Minnesota
With his bold look, incredible vocal range, prolific music and inventive sound, Prince was arguably one of the most influential musicians of the last half-century. At Paisley Park, tours of Prince’s production compound include his recording studio, performance stage and famous purple piano. Impromptu shrines are set up outside; be sure to leave a memento. Minneapolis has other Prince sites, including “Purple Rain” filming areas, the Dakota Jazz Club he was known to frequent and Electric Fetus, an independent record store where Prince shopped.
Paisley Park, where the musician Prince lived and worked, in Chanhassen, Minnesota
Allman Brothers Band Museum – Macon, Georgia
Pay homage to this beloved Southern rock jam band at the Allman Brothers Band Museum, also known as The Big House, in Macon. View the largest collection of band memorabilia as you walk through the living room and kitchen where Dickey Betts wrote hits like “Blue Sky” and “Ramblin’ Man.” Afterward, sit down for some authentic soul food at H&H Restaurant. This unassuming soul food eatery was a band favorite, evident in menu names like the Midnight Rider, Ramblin’ Man and Skydog biscuits.
Memorabilia on display inside the Allman Brothers Band Museum in Macon, Georgia
Bob Dylan’s Boyhood Home – Duluth, Minnesota
With politically charged lyrics and an unmistakable warble, Bob Dylan gave a voice to the 1960s Summer of Love generation, and he continues to produce and perform, even earning the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature. The nondescript duplex where he lived until age 6 is privately owned, but you can take a photo of the plaque in the sidewalk that reads “In Bob We Trust.” Get to know Duluth’s pubs, shops, art studios and restaurants by following Bob Dylan Way through downtown, where street signs indicate Dylan-related sites. Look for the Bob Dylan manhole covers and, if you visit in May, attend the annual Dylan Fest.
Mural of Minnesota native Bob Dylan at Fifth and Hennepin in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Miller’s Downtown – Charlottesville, Virginia
The Dave Matthews Band hails from Charlottesville, Virginia, home to significant historical landmarks like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the University of Virginia, a combined UNESCO World Heritage Site. The band won a Grammy Award for “So Much To Say" in 1996, but back in 1990, the lead singer was bartending at Miller’s. You won’t find shrines to the band at this three-story locals’ favorite. Instead, you’ll find a great cocktail selection, tasty menu items – try the fried pretzel bites – and live music seven days a week. Notably, John D’earth, the band’s stand-out trumpeter, still plays here every Thursday.
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