The Greatest Rock n Roll Pilgrimages in the UK
For such a small island we don’t half outdo ourselves when it comes to music.
With the death of Prince back in April, the iconic musician left a lot of history behind
But aside from his musical legacy, one of the biggest things left by the late star is his 65,000 square-foot Paisley Park complex in Minneapolis, which is planning to open for public guided tours as of October 6 this year.
Minneapolis is a little bit far to go for us Brits, so what do we do if we want a musical journey of our own?
Well, how about these locations for starters…
The Haçienda, Manchester
[Credit: Flickr // Robert Scarth]
The Haçienda, one of the most influential nightclubs in UK history, saw just about everyone pass through its hallowed doors during its heyday.
Its melting pot of music gave rise to Madchester and Acid House, and saw Happy Mondays, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, and many more iconic acts take to its yellow and black hazard taped stage.
Sadly, only an apartment block (aptly titled Haçienda Apartments) remains in the shell of the original building.
430 Kings Road, London
[Credit: Wikipedia CC]
There’s basically no sign that Malcolm McLaren’s S&M-inspired punk clothing store –Sex – ever existed at the above address, but the now inauspicious location is basically the birthplace of punk.
The story goes that McLaren spyed a young Johnny Rotten wearing an “I Hate Pink Floyd” t-shirt , invited him into the shop and recruited him to the Sex Pistols after a brief audition singing Alice Cooper songs.
430 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London, SW10 0LJ
Abbey Road, London
The site of the world reknowned Abbey Road studios, made famous by The Beatles’ near-constant use. Even more iconic is the street’s zebra crossing, seen on the front cover of the Fab Four’s aptly-named and last recorded album.
It’s become a tourist cliché to have your photo taken crossing the sacred tarmac, but thousands of visitors indulge every year.
3 Abbey Rd, London, NW8 9AY
Glastonbury Festival, Somerset
The pilgrimage with perhaps the greatest prize at the end of it (a full blown, five-day music festival), and one that resembles a traditional crusade most closely, the trip to Glastonbury is one that every music fan should make at least once in their life.
Sure, it may not abide by the same everyman ethics as it once did, but it’s still the world’s biggest, most famous, and eclectic festival.
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
[Credit: King Tut’s Facebook]
King Tut’s is no doubt an iconic music venue, playing host to bands both big and small. But does that alone qualify it for a pilgramage?
Maybe not, but throw in the fact that the Glaswegian venue played host to a chance meeting between Oasis and Creation Records boss Alan McGee, which led to the band being signed on the spot after being impressed by them, and it plays a pretty integral part in UK music history.
272 St Vincent St, Glasgow, G2 5RL
Prestwick Airport, Glasgow
[Credit: Wikipedia // Thomas Nugent]
An airport is not the first thing you’d associate with a rock ‘n’ roll pilgrimage, and you might have a tough time just wandering around taking snaps in light of stringent security measures.
But Prestwick Airport remains notable in music lore, being officially the only place in the UK where The King himself, Elvis Presley, visited.
Returning from Germany in 1960 as part of his military service, Elvis’ stopover flight briefly saw him call into the airport.
Aviation House, Prestwick, KA9 2PL
Leeds Uni, Leeds
[Credit: Wikipedia CC]
Considered one of the most incendiary live albums of all time, The Who’s Live at Leeds wasn’t recorded in a huge arena or anything like that, but instead the fairly non-descript Leeds University student union.
It’s had a lick of paint since then, and there’s probably a few more food options than there was in 1970, but you can just about imagine Roger Daltrey and co. tearing the roof off all those years ago.
University Rd, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT
Salford Lads Club, Manchester
[Credit: Flickr // Apasciuto]
Any self-respecting Smiths fans has taken themselves off to Salford Lads Club, which still runs to this day.
It was made famous by the Manchester band when they posed in front of the building for the inside cover of their album The Queen Is Dead, and featured it in videos for the songs ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ and ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’.
St Ignatius Walk, Salford, M5 3RX
Cavern Club, Liverpool
[Credit: Wikipedia CC]
The Boardwalk, Sheffield