Dee Dee Ramone grave at Hollywood Forever Cemetery - Rock Star Graves

Rock Star Graves

Isn’t visiting the graves of people you’ve never met just a bit creepy? But what if they are Rock Star Graves? That’s homage, right? Visiting Rock Star Graves paying your respects to your heroes. Well, that’s how I’m looking at it.

Back in the mid 80s, I managed to persuade with my parents to sign up to the school French exchange. Of course, my teenage motives for wanting to sign up had little to do with language skills or a cultural experience. It was all about two things. Firstly, French girls. Secondly, scoring as much contraband as possible. Yep, the French Exchange was going to be a blast.

OK, so for most, the reality was that while there was indeed plentiful smokes, booze, porn and explosive bangers the access to worldly French girls ready to show us the light turned out to be way wide of the mark. Instead I got lumbered with a kid with smelly feet called Sebastian. He didn’t even have the good grace to have a hot sister.

Anyway… why am I telling you this? It is because of the third reason I wanted to go. The two days in Paris with the afternoon marked “free time”. While my mates all talked like a precursor to The Inbetweeners about how they were going to the red light district, I had other plans. While they would end up playing ping pong and drinking Orangina,I was going to visit Jim Morrison. Yes I know that he had died a decade and a half earlier. I was going to visit his grave. And so my fascination with visit rock star graves and memorials began. Some I have been to in person, but the majority, obviously not.

Rock Star Graves

Our list is clearly just a few based on our own experiences. So tell us, have you been to any rock star graves? Tell us in the comments or email us as we’d love to expand this post with your experiences and photographs

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Jim Morrison

They say your first is always your favourite… well, at least special. The Jim Morrison grave at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris is probably the granddaddy of Bohemian defaced rock n’ roll graves. When I saw it there was no bust of Jim there. Apparently there was one before that was removed/stolen. Then it came back. When The Doors movie by Oliver Stone happened the place got a bit of a tart up and a brass plate was added to a slightly fancier headstone. A headstone slightly more resistant to being carved into.

Jim Morrison's grave in Paris

Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris

Bon Scott

I arrived in Perth as a 19 year old backpacker. I was in Australia on a working holiday visa to get a job and replenish my funds after 3 months in loafing around the Far East. But first thing’s first. Bon Scott. I knew little about Perth other than Bon Scott was buried there. Actually, it turned out not to be in Perth, but nearby Freemantle. So off I went to Freemantle Cemetery.

But there were no hordes of hairy arsed bikers paving the way. There was not even a lone kutte clad rocker blasting out Highway To Hell on his portable ghetto blaster. With not much as a sign or map available I asked the first person I found that looked like staff, a chap sitting next to a lawnmower. Without so much as looking up from his newspaper “straight down, all the way to the end, turn left and he’s 6th from the end”*.

There I found a tiny plaque. No fan fair. No sign of a party. Just a couple of bits of graffiti and a respectful plaque. Not very rock n’ roll at all really.
*these may not have been the exact directions, but you get the idea.

Bon Scott at Freemantle Cemetery

Bon Scott at Freemantle Cemetery

Jimi Hendrix

Visit Jimi Hendrix’s grave today and it is what you’d expect from one of the highest profile rock star graves. It’s a whopping great mausoleum. But back in 1993, it was just a slab and a patch of worn out grass where a handful of fans had sat. I only found it because a women that looked like she had fallen asleep half way through a Grateful Dead show in 68 and had only just woken up showed me. So I went and sat on the little patch of grass, had my photograph taken and then moved on to see Bruce Lee.

Jimi Hendrix's grave in Seattle

BathroomWall founder, Alex visiting Jimi Hendrix

Joe Strummer

“grrrr you don’t know what you’re talking about rant rant…. Joe Strummer doesn’t have a grave etc etc”. Yes, I know and although there are a couple of plaques around – primarily the Blue Plaque outside Joe’s former squat in North London, we are talking the Joe Strummer Wall in New York that has served as the defacto memorial. Painted on the side of Jesse Malin’s Niagra Bar down in New York’s Bowery, it was removed during construction work and then lovingly restored and re-unveiled.

Joe Strummer Wall in New York

Visiting the Joe Strummer Wall in New York

John Lennon

We all know the story of John Lennon’s death and even though I was only a 6 at the time I remember hearing the news. As an over earnest teenager I read Catcher In The Rye in search of a hidden explanation for Mark Chapman’s motives and many years later I’d visit both the Dakota Building and the nearby Strawberry Fields area of Central Park where the famous mosaic is and where Lennon’s ashes were scattered. It is probably worth noting that Lennon himself wasn’t a fan of memorials and grave sites, having famously hated his trip to Graceland. Lennon said he found it distasteful and a circus. So we should probably respect that when dropping by Strawberry Fields. A quick stop, reflection, maybe a photo and then move on. He’s almost certainly have hated all the stuff being left there.

John Lennon Memorial, New York

John Lennon Memorial, New York

Gram Parsons

Country crossover star, Gram Parsons. While Gram’s body was eventually returned to his family, the story of his cremation remains a great tale. Road manager, Phillip Kaufman stealing Parsons’ body and attempting to cremate it in the Joshua Tree National Park to fulfil a promise. So while there is an actual grave site in New Orleans, those that loved not only Gram Parson’s music, but also have a love of great rock n’ roll stories will always see the makeshift memorial in the park as the place his soul was laid to rest.

Gram Parsons Memorial, Joshua Tree National Park

Gram Parsons Memorial, Joshua Tree National Park

Elvis Presley

Graceland is surely the most famous memorial to any rock n’ roll star, right? Well, that’s only right given it is THE KING. So just as there was only one Elvis Presley, there is only one Graceland. While John Lennon’s Strawberry Fields is about subtlety, surely The King’s is all about the show? So go, enjoy and revel in all things Elvis Aaron Presley. And be be thankful he came along and changed the world.
On an episode of his Heidi and Henry podcast, Henry Rollins tells a great story about being shown around Graceland by one of the Memphis Mafia. The place was closed to the public that day but our Henry had been interviewing Jerry Lee Lewis and got to know his manager, former Memphis Mafia man Jerry Schilling. Jerry offered him a personal tour. Now that is how I’d want to see Graceland. I’m sure the official tour is great, but I want to hear the real stories by a guy that wasn’t just there, he was THERE.

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Hollywood Forever

While Graceland is understandably the King of sites commemorating a single star, Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the biggest. There are so many legendary names interred here that there’s no way I could list everyone. From Rudolph Valentino and Fay Wrey to Bugsy Siegel and Mel Blanc. However, my interest was primarily Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Ramone. Dee Dee especially has a special and personal significance for me. More recently Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell was laid to rest here too.

Dee Dee Ramone grave at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Dee Dee Ramone grave at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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