Rockin' New Year, indeed. Celebrate Elvis' birthday (The King would have been 73 this coming Tuesday) with a road trip down rock 'n' roll's memory lane. Chris Epting, host of The Pop Culture Road Trip at webtalkradio.net and author of Led Zeppelin Crashed Here: The Rock and Roll Landmarks of North America, shares his list of favorite stops with Kathy Baruffi for USA TODAY.
Elvis Presley Birthplace Tupelo, Miss.
"Fans trek to Tupelo to tour the modest, two-room house that was built for $180," Epting says. "That's because it's where Elvis Presley entered the world on Jan. 8, 1935. The city bought the land in 1956 with funds from a Presley concert, and today it's an official state landmark. Set on the 15-acre Elvis Presley Park, the grounds also have a museum and gift shop." 662-841-1245; elvispresleybirthplace.com
Motown Historical MuseumDetroit
"The Motown sound was born in this old brick house, now a museum dedicated to the revolutionary musical style," Epting says. "Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five — they all got their start here under the orchestration of Motown Records' Berry Gordy Jr. Today you can see sheet music and the actual studio equipment they used, including the piano played by all the greats." 313-875-2264; motownmuseum.com
Benvenuto CafféWest Hollywood, Calif.
"The Doors' offices were once on the second floor of this building. The ground floor was a studio, and the classic album L.A. Woman was recorded here," Epting says. "In fact, the restroom in the restaurant today is the actual booth where Jim Morrison laid down his vocal tracks. Some gold records and framed, handwritten lyrics are on display in the restaurant." 310-659-8635; benvenuto-caffe.com
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and MuseumCleveland
"John Lennon's costume, The Supremes' dresses, Grace Slick's Woodstock outfit, Kurt Cobain's guitar, along with many other artifacts, can be found in this stunning building designed by I. M. Pei," Epting says. "In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum stages a number of temporary exhibits throughout the year, including large-scale shows. The museum also contains some remarkable interactive exhibits, films and videos." 216-781-7625; rockhall.com
924 Gilman St. Berkeley, Calif.
"This Berkeley club has seen it all since it opened in the 1980s, from many punk-rock legends to current punk-pop megastars (and winners of two Grammy Awards) Green Day, who first honed their chops here in the late 1980s," Epting says. Also known as the Alternative Music Foundation, this inexpensive music venue is volunteer-run. 510-525-9926; 924gilman.org
Chess Records Chicago
"Some of the world's most influential blues and rock 'n' roll recording sessions, including Johnny B. Goode, Rescue Me and Red Rooster were done here," Epting says. "The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds also recorded here. In fact, the Stones used the address 2120 S. Michigan Ave. as the title of a blues instrumental." Tours are offered through the Willie Dixon Blues Heaven Foundation, the current owners. 312-808-1286; bluesheaven.com
"Many legendary moments were captured at this tiny studio, and many artifacts remain in this ongoing recording studio and attraction — including Elvis Presley's mike," Epting says. "Magic moments include July 5, 1954, when a young Elvis recorded an obscure blues tune, That's All Right. Or when Jerry Lee Lewis recorded Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On here. Tours are given every day." 800-441-6249; sunstudio.com
Woodstock site Bethel, N.Y.
"A concrete marker sits near where the stage stood for this legendary 'Music and Art Fair,' three days of peace and love held in mid-August 1969. This seminal event included performances by now legendary artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills & Nash," Epting says. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts opened here in 2006, featuring a performing arts center; and in 2008, a '60s museum will open that includes the culture, politics and music of that most controversial decade. 866-781-2922; bethelwoodslive.org
Buddy Holly Plane crash site Clear Lake, Iowa
"In February 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper boarded a single-engine plane after performing at the Surf Ballroom to fly ahead of a heatless tour bus in the dead of winter," Epting says. "The plane crashed, killing all aboard. Don McLean paid homage to the tragedy with American Pie (The Day the Music Died), and fans pay respects at the site by maintaining a makeshift memorial in the windswept field." 800-285-5338; clearlakeiowa.com
Dylan Drive Hibbing, Minn.
"Hibbing was home to Bob Dylan, born in 1941 as Robert Allen Zimmerman. Bob's family moved here in 1948, and for most of his life in Hibbing, he lived at 2425 7th Ave. East, now renamed 'Dylan Drive,' " Epting says. The house is private, but the Hibbing Public Library has a permanent Dylan exhibit that includes vinyl albums, his birth certificate and bedroom window. Eat at Zimmy's bar and restaurant and see more Dylan photos and memorabilia. 218-262-3895; hibbing.org