1. New York City, New York, USA
New York City’s influence on rock ‘n’ roll history is incalculable. The Big Apple has been central to the development of a whole range of rock and popular music styles, namely punk, new and no wave, alternative rock, folk and electronica.
From the ground-breaking alternative rock of The Velvet Underground, the Ramones and Sonic Youth to the afrobeat rhythms of Talking Heads and collegiate folk of Simon & Garfunkel, there has always been something for every taste in NYC.
New York has also provided a safe haven for artists and musicians (such as Minnesota transplant Bob Dylan in Greenwich Village), and an inspiration for countless albums and songs, from Frank Sinatra to Lou Reed.
In recent years the hipster electronica of LCD Soundsystem, experimental folk pop of Grizzly Bear and scrappy lo-fi rock of The Strokes has kept New York right at the forefront of alternative rock.
Urban music has also thrived in the city that never sleeps, with the likes of Jay-Z, Nas and the Notorious B.I.G. arising from NYC’s projects to bring hip-hop and rap to international audiences. The Beastie Boys too famously moved from their early punk and hardcore influences to embrace the cut-and-paste, sampling style of hip-hop.
And lest us forget that one of the most shocking moments in popular music history took place here- the fatal shooting of John Lennon outside the front entrance of the Dakota Building on the 8th December 1980.
Associated acts: The Velvet Underground, Blondie, Bob Dylan, Sonic Youth, Ramones, New York Dolls, KISS, The Heartbreakers, Television, Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Talking Heads, The Strokes, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Lou Reed, Suicide, Patti Smith, Swans, Beastie Boys, Luna, TV On The Radio, The Walkmen, The National, Interpol, LCD Soundsystem, Liars, Grizzly Bear, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Landmarks: CBGB, Hotel Chelsea (both now closed), The Dakota Building, Strawberry Fields memorial, Gem Spa