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The final of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place on May 14, and 42 years after Swedish band Abba won the competition with Waterloo in Brighton, the contest will be held in Stockholm.
So, we decided to pay our own little tribute to Europe’s music scene with a round-up of the most iconic music locations, writes Tamara Hinson.
Must-see exhibits at this musical museum include the helicopter which Abba posed in for the cover of their Arrival album and Benny Andersson’s old piano, which is wirelessly connected to the one in his Stockholm studio – if the keys start to move, it’s Benny himself tinkling the ivories.
One of our favourite exhibits is the vintage red telephone, which is a tribute to the band’s song Ring, Ring. The only people who know the number are the four Abba members, who will occasionally ring it and speak to museum visitors. That’s one way to get feedback.
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The Cavern Club opened in 1957. Owner Alan Sytner named it after the famous Paris jazz venue Le Caveau De La Huchette and hoped to transform it into the UK’s top jazz club outside of London.
However, by the early 1960s it had become the centre of Liverpool’s rock and roll scene. The Beatles first played there on February 9, 1961 and the band quickly became the club’s signature act.
Today, it’s one of the UK’s most popular music venues and the Rolling Stones, the Who, Queen, Oasis and Arctic Monkeys have all played there.
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Visitors heading to Stockholm for Eurovision should sign up for a tour of City Hall. This beautiful building is where Abba’s Benny Andersson’s first ever public performance took place (he was six years old at the time), and in 2008 he came here to accept an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University.
City Hall is a popular stop off not just for Abba fans but for architecture buffs, too – it’s one of Sweden’s leading examples of national romanticism in architecture. Climb the 106-metre-tall clock tower for fantastic views over the country’s capital.
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This London street was catapulted into the limelight when the Beatles chose the location as the cover image for their Abbey Road album. Paul McCartney had suggested using a location close to the recording studios, and the shoot took place on August 8, 1969.
The photographer, Iain Macmillan, had 10 minutes to get the shot from the top of a stepladder while a local bobby stopped the traffic.
Not all the locals were chuffed with the new-found fame of their neighbourhood though. The VW Beetle in the background was owned by a man who lived in the block of flats opposite the studio. His number plate (LMW 281F) was repeatedly stolen and he eventually sold his car, which is now on display in a German museum.
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The most visited grave at Paris’ Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise belongs to Jim Morrison, although Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde are also buried at this cemetery. Thousands of music fans flock to his resting place every year, leaving bottles of whisky and vinyl records alongside the more traditional floral tributes.
The grave wasn’t always a tourist attraction – when the Doors’ singer died of heart failure in 1971, his grave was initially unmarked. Authorities installed a bust of the singer to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death, but this was stolen in 1988.
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At the Liverpool museum dedicated to the Fab Four, there’s an audio guide narrated by John Lennon’s half sister, Julia, and exhibits include a pair of John’s round spectacles, George Harrison’s first guitar and rare photographs taken during the band’s 1963 tour.
The museum’s different sections are replicas of iconic locations associated with the band; visitors can step into manager Brian Epstein’s record shop, take a seat on the Pan Am flight the group took to the USA ahead of their debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show or explore the offices of Mersey Beat – the Liverpool music magazine which documented the Beatles’ rise to stardom.
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Germany’s busiest recording studio has welcomed thousands of artists over the years. These musicians include David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, REM, Manic Street Preachers, Snow Patrol and U2.
Music fans who can’t quite afford the hourly studio rate can still see inside the studios on an organised tour, which includes a visit to studio one, used regularly by Depeche Mode, and the master hall. Both David Bowie and U2 raved about the acoustic qualities of this particular studio.
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At the Backstage Hotel, it’s a running joke that one of the best perks for guests is the free air guitar hire. But a much more tangible attraction is the piano, which has had its ivories tinkled by countless famous musicians. Visitors who look closely will be able to see the signatures of the Fleet Foxes and ex-Libertines front man Carl Barât, to name a few.
It’s a popular base for bands playing at Amsterdam’s biggest music venues, with amenities designed with musicians in mind – there’s a 24-hour private bar and the hotel’s staff can be hired as roadies. In the rooms, spotlights double as bedside lamps and wheeled flight cases have been transformed into storage units.
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There’s a reason music fans from all over the world have been flocking to this tiny town since 1959. The King of Rock and Roll lived here during his time in the United States’ army, and the cover of his 1959 number one hit record A Big Hunk o’ Love depicts the singer, wearing his military uniform, standing in front of the town’s Burgpforte building.
Thousands of Elvis fans flock to Bad Nauheim every year, and there’s an annual Elvis Presley festival and a town square named after the singer. Head to 14 Goethe Street to see where he lived and where he met his future wife, Priscilla.
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Have you been to any of the music locations in our round-up? Have we missed a great European location? Leave a comment below to let us know.
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