When a musician or band has a profound impact on the world, sometimes a monument is built in their honor.
While this monument can range from a specially-made gravestone to something that a fan created, most of these monuments were built in honor of artists who were taken from the music world at the height of their careers. Sadly, they never got to produce any future music, making us wonder what could have been.
These monuments are reminders of the lives and the music of these musicians, that have changed the music industry and have helped shape our world today. Some are dedicated to individual musicians, some to festivals and some to various artists.
1. Strawberry Fields (John Lennon Memorial)
Located: Central Park West, Between 71st & 74th Streets
Strawberry Fields is a monument in New York City’s Central Park, dedicated to Beatle’s member John Lennon.
In 1981, one year after his death, the spot was chosen to commemorate the artist, as this was his and Yoko’s favorite area in Central Park. It was also the spot where Lennon was shot and killed, as he was walking home. He and Yoko lived in the Dakota Apartments, located adjacent to the park.
The design of the memorial is a tear-shaped, black and white mosaic, with the word “Imagine” written in the center. There is also a plaque at the location, listing donations from over 120 countries, while Yoko herself donated $1 million for the area. Strawberry Fields is also considered a Garden of Peace.
Many people from around the world come to this location to pay homage to this great musician an activist. Often, there will be flowers scattered around the mosaic. It is free to visit.
2. Jim Morrison’s Tomb
Located: Le Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Although the details of Jim Morrison’s death are controversial, he was in France when he was last seen living.
Morrison was buried in Le Pere Lachaise Cemetery in eastern Paris, in an unmarked grave. Fans from around the world still came to visit it, and some sadly tried to dig up the grave, as well as hold sexual orgies, drug parties, and devil worship initiations. Guards could not stop them from climbing over the walls at night to visit the grave, while some would leave behind litter, drug needles, bottles and graffiti. As a result, a stone was placed over his grave to seal it rightfully, security guards now patrol the grounds with dogs and cameras were installed. Still, officials say once the grave’s lease is up, a new burial site will be found.
I absolutely hate that anyone would want to disrespect his gravesite, no matter what their beliefs. However, I would still like to visit this location in reverence, at least once in my lifetime.
3. Elliot Smith Figure 8 Wall
Located: 4334 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
The “Figure 8” wall in L.A. was once the backdrop for Elliot Smith’s album, Figure 8. It was originally shot by Autumn de Wilde as Elliot’s album cover, and since his death, has remained a landmark for fans. Many would show respect for the artist by writing notes to Elliot, drawing pictures dedicated to him and writing lyrics. Still, others would sadly and disrespectfully draw random graffiti on the wall, causing it to be restored in 2007. However, it has since been vandalized. In May 2010, Roger Waters’ people covered part of the wall with a press poster, angering fans. Waters’ stated that he meant no disrespect, and ordered for the poster to be taken down.
4. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson Memorial
Located: Clear Lake, Iowa
In 1959, three great musicians were taken from the world in a plane crash. The irony is that Clear Lake, Iowa was not originally scheduled to be a stop on tour, while with the exception of one stop before, the musicians were using a charter bus. Don McLean wrote a song about it, and forever it is now known as “The Day the Music Died.”
In 1988, music fan Ken Paquette created a steel guitar monument made of stainless steel, as well as three records with the names of each deceased performer, at the location of the crash. There is also a pair of horn-rimmed glasses by the roadside as a signpost to fans that the memorial is near. Specifically, the memorial is located a quarter mile west of 315th Street and Gull Avenue, about five miles north of Clear Lake.
5. Woodstock Museum
Location: Bethel, NY
Woodstock, while once being a rebellious celebration of drugs sex and music, is now a key staple in pop culture. The event was legendary, and of the utmost importance in terms of cultural values, revolution, and most significantly, of rock n’ roll.
The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a concert venue and museum rolled into one, located at the original site of the 1969 event. The museum itself consists of interactive media exhibits and displays, educational events, dialogue, stories and much more, detailing the Woodstock experience and how it has affected generations to come.