Monday, 21 February 2011

Dead Rockstars: A Guide

Fancy spending a morbid day checking out the final resting places of rock's brightest and best? Of course you do. Good job we made this list of the most likely places to spot a celebrity ghost then...

Flat 9, 12 Curzon Place, W1J

Kill two birds with one stone (so to speak) and start your tour with a visit to the unluckiest, and most rock and roll, address in history. Originally owned by Harry Nilsson, the flat was the final resting place of The Mamas & the Papas singer Mama Cass, who was finished off by a ham sandwich on the 29th July 1974.

In a move more befitting of a rock star, The Who's Keith Moon snuffed it in the same bedroom on the 7th September 1978 after taking a massive overdose of a prescribed anti-alcohol drug. Rather strangely, neither of these deaths put off Keith's band mate Pete Townshend who purchased the flat from Nilsson shortly after Moony's demise.

Hotel Samarkand, 22 Lansdowne Crescent, W11 2NS

Way before it had become a cliché, Jimi Hendrix was a rock and roll trailblazer, choking on his own vomit on the 18th September 1970 at this London crash pad. The hotel has since been pulled down, but if you're the kind of person that gets their kicks from being close to dead people (and lets face it, if you're reading this you probably are) then why not book a stay at the new development that has opened on the site?

Until the 18th September 2011, the Cumberland is running a special Hendrix promotion which includes a bottle of Jack Daniels, an evening turndown treat (!) and breakfast the following morning for around £399 a night (based on two people sharing). Plus, good news for all you charidee fans. A £10 donation to the Jimi Hendrix Foundation will be made for every package booked. Ouija boards are not included in the price...

Queens Ride, Barnes, SW15 5RG

There are few opportunities to get as close to a rockstar's resting place than this. On the 16th September 1977, Marc Bolan of T-Rex careered his girlfriend's Mini into a tree in Barnes. Unlike Marc, the tree still remains and is maintained by the T-Rex fan club who have a permanent memorial erected there.

Heathrow Airport, UB3 5AP

According to folklore, the departures lounge of Heathrow Airport was the unfortunate final destination for much of the Sex Pistol's bassist Sid Vicious. On her way to scatter her son's ashes over the grave of his lover Nancy Spungen, Mama Vicious accidentally tripped, spilling much of her sons powdery remains over the floor and sending him spiralling up into the airport's ventilation system. Sure, it's only a rumour, but it is a bloody good one

Golders Green Cemetery, NW11 7NL

A veritable who's who of the decomposing celebrity world, Golders Green is home to a whole galaxy of stars, including jazz supremo Ronnie Scott, crooner Matt Monro, the composer Ivor Novello and chirpy punk geezer Ian Dury. If you feel you haven't seen enough of the 'Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll' star by the time you're done in the North London grave fest, you can also swing by Richmond Park where a memorial bench overlooks his favourite view of our fine city. A built-in headphone port allows mourners and fans to connect and hear a selection of eight songs plus Dury's appearance on Desert Island Discs.

Kensal Green Crematorium, W10 4RA

Queen's lead singer Freddie Mercury was cremated here. His ashes were reportedly scattered on the shores of Lake Geneva, but die-hard fans may still want to pay visit to the place where Freddie went gently into the good night. A slightly less morbid venue in which to pay tribute is the singer's last London residence, located at 1 Logan Place, Kensington. Queen heads, including a massive number of Japanese fans, have made pilgrimages to cover the outside wall with messages of love.

67 Overhill Road, East Dulwich, SE22

By the time he got round to dying of alcohol poisoning and vomit gargling on February 19th 1980, it was pretty old hat. He also technically didn't die in the house, croaking it outside in his car. However, Bon Scott, lead singer of AC/DC during their most famous period ('Back in Black', 'Highway To Hell' etc..) was voted the number one frontman of all time by 'Classic Rock' magazine, so who are we to argue? His grave is also the most visited in Australia, so while he may be unoriginal, he's clearly loved. Pay your respects with a trip to South London.

The O2 Arena SE10/ Foxbury Manor, Chislehurst, BR7 6LY

Candlelit vigils took place in the days following The King of Pop™ Michael Jackson's death at the site that was due to host his final tour. A year on, fans and impersonators met for another memorial. Knowing the level of devotion Wacko's fans exhibit, this is going to be a death lover's hotspot for some time to come. If you take a short train ride into the leafy suburb of Chislehurst (which clings on into Zone 5), you can also have a nose at the house Jackson was due to live in while he performed his O2 dates. The 28 bedroom, three-storey pile – built in the 1800s – has quarters for 20 staff as well as an underground cinema, music room, indoor swimming pool, lake and private wood and cost £21,548 a month. It is also built above haunted caves. Of course.

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