Rock and roll music has a rich history in New York City. The term "rock n roll" was coined by DJ Alan Freed in 1951, and New York has seen the life and death of many rock groups since then. If you take a trip to New York City, you can immerse yourself in the culture, history and tradition of rock and roll music. Rock and roll is an experience many people take seriously or even religiously, and in New York City, you can see places that influenced or were impacted by music.
There are numerous companies in New York City that offer walking tours, and many of them focus on rock and roll. Most locals say the best way to see the city is to walk. You can strut and dance on the same streets your favorite rock stars have walked, ending the day by taking in a live performance. Rock and roll-themed walking tours often take place in the East Village. The Lower East Side is jam-packed with punk rock history, and it is full of boutiques and clubs such as the famed CBGB.
Rock and roll bands need a place to perform, and New York City is bustling with night clubs, concert halls, amphitheaters and other venues. CBGB is perhaps the most sought-after rock and roll tourist attraction; the Ramones got their start at this club. Other famous venues include the Peppermint Lounge, the Apollo, the Fillmore East, Electric Ladyland, Madison Square Garden, the Palladium and the Knitting Factory. Some of these venues are still operating today, others have been reinvented to another kind of venue and still others are closed but their structure and history remains.
Go to Manitoba's to see Bob Gruen's punk rock photo exhibit. The Ritz and Irving Plaza are sites where bands such as Bad Brains, Black Flag, Motohead and the Buzzcocks performed. The Clash's "London Calling" cover was photographed at the Palladium. Go shopping at punk stores in the East Village. Madison Square Garden is the New York City home of the Grammy Awards. Walk through Greenwich Village, which has ties to Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, the Animals and Woody Guthrie. Visit some apartments such the Dakota building, where John Lennon lived, and St. Mark's Hotel and St. Mark's Place, pictures of which are featured in the Led Zeppelin album "Physical Graffiti."
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland, but New York City has an impressive annex in SoHo. Check out videos of life-changing concerts and see exhibits of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, the Ramones and others. The Hall of Fame also has many temporary exhibits that change throughout the year. Look up the Morrison Hotel Gallery for rock and roll photography. Go on a Beatles tour and check out Strawberry Fields and the Lennon mosaic in Central Park.
- New York Daily News: New York Places at the Center of Rock 'n' Roll History; Jim Farber; October 22, 2009
- Rocks Off: Rock N Roll History Walking Tours
- NYC Go: The Official Guide
- "Rock Junket: New York City: The Ultimate Source to New York City's Rock n' Roll Landmarks; Bobby Pinn; 2009
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