From the churches and street corners of Harlem and The Bronx to the underground clubs of the East Village, New York City has been a musical mecca for generations, and Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City is the definitive story of its development throughout the five boroughs.
Plug in and walk the same streets a young Bob Dylan walked. See where Patti Smith, the Ramones, Beastie Boys, and Jeff Buckley played. Visit on foot the places Lou Reed mentions in his songs or where Paul Simon grew up; where the Strokes drowned their sorrows, Grizzly Bear cut their teeth and Jimi Hendrix found his vision. Rock and Roll Explorer Guide gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at how bands came together, scenes developed, and classic songs were written. Artists come and go, neighborhoods change, venues open and close, but the music lives on.
Upper Manhattan and Harlem
Upper West Side
The Velvet Underground
Upper East Side
John & Yoko
Chelsea & Hudson Yards
Jimi Hendrix & Electric Lady
Union Square & Madison Square
New York Dolls
Soho & TriBeCa
Lower East Side
Simon & Garfunkel
Staten IslandRock & roll may not have been born in New York, but this is one of the places it grew up and blew up and presented itself to the world. From the churches and street corners of Harlem and the Bronx to the underground clubs of the East Village, New York City has been a musical Mecca for generations, and The Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City is an historical journey through its development across all five boroughs.
The Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City restores a sense of time and place to music history by identifying and documenting critical points of interest spanning genres and eras, and delineating the places in New York City critical to its musical development and ultimate triumphs and tragedies. Through this lens, we can see and understand how bands came together, scenes developed, and classic songs were written. In some cases, the buildings are still there, in others only the address remains, but you still get a sense of the history that happened there.
Among the many locations in this book are addresses musicians and other key rock & roll figures once called home. In a very few instances we’ve included current addresses, but only when the location is historically significant and widely known; otherwise, we consciously left current residences out. The Rock & Roll Explorer Guide to New York City is intended as a fun travel guide through music history rather than a means of locating famous musicians. Most New Yorkers understand that everyone has a right to privacy. That’s one of the reasons many of these artists live here.
Because of the city’s rich history, this book cannot be a comprehensive encyclopedia of music, rock venues, or the music industry; nor do we present the definitive biographies of the musicians included. The artists and locations chosen represent a sometimes broad look at the history of rock & roll in the city, with an eye on those who either grew up or spent their formative years here. But there’s so much more we couldn’t include, and we hope readers will be inspired to go even further, whether they’re hitting the streets themselves or experiencing the city vicariously from afar. Artists come and go, neighborhoods change, venues open and close, but the music lives on.
Mike Katz was born in Atlanta, came of age in New Orleans, and eventually (or perhaps inevitably) found a home in New York City. Along the way, he has been an obsessive music fan, voracious reader, history buff, bookseller, and accomplished photographer. The Rock & Roll Explorer Guide is his warped love letter to this beautiful, dirty town.
Crispin Kott was born in Chicago, raised in New York, and has called everywhere from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Atlanta home. An avid music enthusiast and failed drummer, he’s written for numerous print and online publications, and has shared with his daughters Madeline and Marguerite a love of reading, writing and record collecting. As a longtime Brooklyn resident, Crispin has been able to indulge in his love of Rock & Roll of the past, present, and future.