It seems like there are travel guides for most anybody these days -- the budget-conscious, the backpacker, the vegan. Now, there’s a guide for the music obsessive too. Robert Reid, U.S. travel editor for guidebook publisher Lonely Planet, has recently drawn on music for inspiration for his travels, and travel recommendations, in a list called “Top 40 Rock 'n' Roll Travel Sites.” He shares some of his favorite musical destinations, from Stonehenge to St. Louis, and he explains how songs can function as guidebooks. Read more about his favorite 'guidebook' songs here.
Below are some of Robert Reid's suggestions. Do you have a favorite rock and roll travel destination? What are we missing? Let us know!
Kavarna, Bulgaria, “the Heavy Metal City”:
“When Kurt Cobain had his flannel on and destroyed heavy metal, it never died. It just moved to Eastern Europe…. Everyone is so proud. These old grandmothers, sitting around. I asked them, ‘What do you think about being in the heavy metal town?’ [They said], ‘We love it! We tell people we live in the heavy metal town!’ It’s a funny new spin on something that was an old kind of Communist town.”
Chuck Berry’s monthly residency at Blueberry Hill, St. Louis, Missouri:
“He is rock ‘n’ roll. I mean, John Lennon said that: If there’s another name for rock n roll, you might call it Chuck Berry. I think that a lot of people forget how wonderful he is…. See him now, because he’s not going to be doing it much longer.”
Billy Joel’s Long Island:
“All these things that he mentions in [‘Scenes from An Italian Restaurant’] you can go to. You know, I ended up meeting neighbors and going to this bar where he went to, right next to the village green. It actually really leads you to a fun experience of seeing that part of Long Island in a way that you wouldn’t have.”
Stonehenge, where the demons dwell:
“[Black Sabbath] had an evil dwarf on stage having a fit in promoting their Stonehenge album, which is considered the worst rock album cover of all time, by the way. And one time, this evil dwarf — I have not seen footage of this, thankfully — fell off the stage, and everyone in the audience was either laughing or just wincing in horror.”
Waterloo Bridge, London, England, at sunset with The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset”:
“It’s just such an easy thing to follow. ‘Cause you talk about kind of a lonely narrator, leaving the buzzing swarms of people at Waterloo Station south of the Thames [River], walking on a Friday, looking at the muddy water of the Thames, and just calling it paradise. But he’s extremely lonely, you can tell through it.”
East Berlin, Germany, to see how the Red Elvis lived:
"[Marxist musician Dean Reed] was the conduit for a huge part of the world to understand rock 'n' roll. As many as a billion people, it's estimated, may have known Dean Reed over the course of his life. And he was active for like 20 years in music. But none here in the states, mainly because of his politics."