Belt out “Dancing Queen” with holograms of ABBA or have a shot of espresso at David Bowie’s favourite Berlin café – there are many ways to show devotion to your musical icons, past and present. Here are 10 music pilgrimages to make before you die.
1. ABBA The Museum, Stockholm
Forget karaoke when you can put on a digital costume and sing and dance with holograms of Benny, Björn, Frida and Agnetha at Stockholm’s ABBA Museum. For those with stage fright, the museum’s permanent exhibition is well-stocked with the band’s many glittering outfits, instruments and gold records to peruse. There’s even the actual helicopter from the 1976 album Arrival to pose for pictures in.
2. Mathew Street and Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool
Liverpool is the birthplace of the famed English rock band and for die-hard fans, the best place to start is Mathew Street – be warned of the tourist crowds, though. Drop by the Cavern Club on 10 Mathew Street, a live music venue where the Beatles performed regularly in the early ’60s. A 15-minute walk away is the Royal Albert Dock, home to The Beatles Story, which exhibits memorabilia such as John Lennon’s glasses and Ringo Starr’s drums.
3. Greenwich Village, New York
Greenwich Village was – and continues to be – home to many poets, writers and artists who drew inspiration from its snug cafés and taverns. Probably one of the Village’s most famous residents of the ’60s and ’70s was Bob Dylan. People can visit the singer-songwriter’s former stomping grounds, including music clubs The Bitter End and Café Wha? Dylan’s old townhouse on 94 MacDougal Street still stands.
4. Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee
This nearly 14-acre estate was not just the private home of the King of Rock and Roll, but also his sanctuary and escape from the world. Today, it houses several museums, including the Entertainer Career Museum, with Elvis’ gold and platinum records and his sequinned jumpsuits on display, and the Automobile Museum with his impressive collection of Cadillacs, Rolls Royces and other cars. Have a walk in the meditation garden and pay your respects to the King at his grave.
5. Kingston, Jamaica
Bob Marley’s legacy lives on, and not just in Jamaica’s food-fuelled street parties that play reggae beats. February – Marley’s birth month – is Reggae Month in Jamaica, though the musical genre is celebrated year-round in bars such as Kingston’s Redbones Blues Café. In Kingston, fans can also visit the Bob Marley Museum, located in the reggae legend’s former home. Marley bought the stately 19th-century house in 1975 and the rooms have remained mostly unchanged since. And by Kingston Freeport Terminal is Tuff Gong, Marley’s recording studio, which is also a wholesale record shop.
6. Dollywood, Tennessee
Sometimes, it’s the most diminutive people who make the biggest impact and this country music songstress’ influence spans way beyond music. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of Pigeon Forge is Dollywood, an Appalachian-themed amusement park owned by Dolly Parton. Parton, who grew up in the area, bought the park in 1986 when it was known as Silver Dollar City, with plans for expansion to provide more jobs to locals. It’s since received the full Dolly makeover, with a museum of her costumes, a waterpark and an integrated resort.
David Bowie moved to West Berlin with Iggy Pop to escape drugs and alcohol and focus on making music. It worked because his three years there were some of his most prolific, having released three studio albums inspired by the city’s nascent electronic scene. Few of Bowie’s old haunts remain, including punk club SO36 and Neues Ufer (New Shore), previously the Anderes Ufer (Other Shore), a gay café with live music at night. The café is right by Bowie’s old home on 155 Hauptstrasse, which is marked by a memorial plaque.
8. Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian samba dates back centuries but it wasn’t until the 1920s that this dance-music genre entered the mainstream. Nowadays, it’s celebrated in the capital during the Rio Carnival, known for its colourful-feathered costumes as much as its choreography and beats. There’s no need to wait until February for the next carnival, though – the spirit of samba lives in Rio year-round. Sign up for samba classes or head to Bip Bip or Carioca da Gema, both popular bars to watch live samba.
9. Sunset Strip, Los Angeles
The centre of nightlife in West Hollywood since the Roaring Twenties, the Sunset Strip – a 2.4km strip of Sunset Boulevard – is home to bars and clubs with storied pasts. Many A-Listers, including Johnny Cash and Lady Gaga have performed at the Viper Room, but the club is most known to be the site of River Phoenix’s death. Fans of The Who, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix should check out Whisky A-Go-Go, where they have all performed. For a more low-key night out, The Roxy is your answer. The venue hosts more obscure bands, as well as performance art and live comedy nights.
10. Abbey Road, London
This is the famous crossing where The Beatles shot the cover of their 1969 studio album, Abbey Road. Many make the pilgrimage here, where a permanent webcam broadcasts live footage – so tell your friends at home to look out for you. The road is also home to Abbey Road Studios, where the band recorded nearly 200 songs. Opened in 1931, it started with recording classical music and later expanded to other genres. Michael Jackson, Adele and Ed Sheeran have also recorded songs here.