Add It To The Bucket List: Visit These Street Murals Dedicated To Your Favorite Musicians
The first time street art appeared in the U.S. was back in the 1920s and ’30s when gangs would tag up the streets of New York. What started out as graffiti has now evolved to artists being commissioned to brighten up the street, or pay tribute to an icon. The city of Detroit has launched projects like the “Detroit Creative Corridor” to breathe life into an area that went through hard times. Here we’ve gathered our favorite street art that pays tribute to musicians and you’ll definitely want to seek out your favorites.
Nashville Celebrates Tennessee’s Dolly Parton
Country sweetheart Dolly Parton was born in Sevier County, Tennessee in 1946. Parton has many titles to her name, including singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist, so is it any wonder that Nashville would want a mural of their country queen up on a wall?
Parton is the most honored female country performer of all time and has received 47 Grammy nominations. Dolly even has her own theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenessee called Dollywood – think: Hollywood meets Disneyland but with a country twist.
The Notorious B.I.G. Resides in Brooklyn
The Notorious B.I.G was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York in 1972. Born Christopher George Latore Wallace, but known professionally as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or simply Biggie, he is considered by many one of the best rappers of all time. Biggie was killed by a drive-by shooting in 1997 at the age of 24, leaving behind devastated fans around the globe.
Biggie’s double-disc album, Life After Death, is one of the best-selling albums in the United States and was certified Diamond in 2000 by the Recording Industry Association of America. Biggie’s famous mural is located in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York.
Minneapolis’ Tribute To Prince
Prince was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1958. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, the singer’s untimely death in 2016 is something the world still hasn’t recovered from. Known for his extravagant fashion sense, flamboyant stage presence, wide vocal range, and unique sound, there was really nothing Prince couldn’t do.
His innovative music integrated a wide variety of styles, including pop, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and funk, selling over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Located in Minneapolis, this Prince mural sits pretty at First Avenue & 7th St Entry.
Australia Loves Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper was born in New York City in 1953. The eighties queen is not only one of the most beloved singer-songwriters in the world, but she’s also an actress and an LGBTQ rights activist. With a career spanning over 30 years, Lauper’s most popular hits are, “Time After Time,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and “All Through The Night.”
While Lauper is recognized for her distinctive image, her powerful four-octave singing range and humanitarian work shouldn’t be forgotten. Located in Melbourne, Australia, this mural of Cyndi pays tribute to her She’s So Unusual album artwork.
Madonna Has Her Eyes on LA
Madonna was born in Bay City, Michigan in 1958. Referred to as the Queen of Pop, Madonna is a powerful force within the music industry, pushing the boundaries of mainstream pop since the 1980s. While frequently reinventing her image and music, Madonna has managed to maintain autonomy within the industry and is often cited as an influence by many of our favorite artists today.
Aside from being one of the best-selling female artists in the world, Madonna is also an actress, businesswoman, and activist. This mural was created in Los Angeles in 2009 by street artist Mr. Brainwash.
Michael Jackson is Gone, But Not Forgotten
Photo by Michael Hurcomb/Corbis via Getty Images
Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana in 1958. Dubbed the King of Pop, Jackson was one of the most popular entertainers in the world. The eighth child of the Jackson family, Michael made his debut in 1964 as a member of the Jackson Five. In 1971, he began his solo career with Motown Records, leading into his early ’80s domination in pop music, defining the genre for decades to come.
His death in 2009 shocked the entire world, triggering a global outpouring of grief. While there are many murals dedicated to the life of Michael Jackson, this one is located in Los Angeles.
Jim Morrison Was a 27 Club Member
Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Jim Morrison was born in 1943 in Melbourne, Florida. The lead singer of The Doors, Morrison was a singer-songwriter and poet. With his poignant lyrics, distinctive voice, wild personality, and eccentric performances, Morrison is regarded by fans and music critics as one of the most iconic and influential voices in rock music history. Morrison died in 1971 at the age of 27.
Since his death, his legacy has endured as one of pop culture’s most rebellious icons, representing the generation gap and youth counterculture. In 1993, Morrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This mural of Morrison was created in Los Angeles, California.
Jimi Hendrix’s Mural is Alongside His Old Apartment
Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington in 1942. Like Jim Morrison, Hendrix died at the age of 27 in 1970. Although his mainstream career only spanned four years, Hendrix is regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has described him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.”
A mural of Hendrix is located on the wall of the apartment where the late musician used to live in the Haight and Ashbury area of San Francisco, California.
Bob Dylan’s Impact is Celebrated
Photo by STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP/Getty Images
Bob Dylan was born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941. Aside from being one of the most beloved singer-songwriters in the world, Dylan is also an author and painter. An influential figure for more than five decades, Dylan got his start in the 1960s as he reluctantly became a voice of a generation with hits like “The Times They Are-a-Changin’” and “Blowin’ In The Wind” which became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war movement.
This mural of Dyland was created by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra, and is located in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Elvis Presley is Still Rocking in Knoxville
Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King.” Relocating to Memphis, Tennesse when he was 13 years old, Elvis began his career in 1954 with a mission of bringing the sound of African American music to a wider audience.
Presley was a pioneer of rockabilly – an up-tempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. His death in 1977 stunned the world, leading him to become one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century. A mural of The King is located in Knoxville, Tennesse.
Where It All Started For Carlos Santana
Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Carlos Santana was born in Autlán de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico in 1947. He first rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock and Latin American jazz. Mostly known for his melodic blues-based guitar lines set against Latin and African rhythms, Santana experienced a revival of sorts in the 1990s with his hit collaboration with Rob Thomas in “Smooth.”
Santana has won 10 GRAMMY Awards and three Latin GRAMMY Awards. In 2003, Rolling Stone listed him as number 20 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. This mural is located in the Mission District of San Francisco, California where Santana’s career originated.
Aaliyah Is NYC’s Angel
Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images
Aaliyah was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1979. One of the most beloved hip hop and R&B artists of the late ’90s and early ’00s, Aaliyah became a cultural phenomenon with the release of her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, in 1994. In 1996, Aaliyah teamed up with Missy Elliott and Timbaland for her second album, One In a Million and later again in 2001 for her final self-titled album.
Aside from her musical endeavors, Aaliyah was also an up-and-coming actress before her tragic and untimely death in 2001, starring in Romeo Must Die and in Queen of the Damned. A mural of Aaliyah can be found in the East Village in New York City.
Brixton Remembers David Bowie
Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images
David Bowie was born in Brixton, England in 1947. He was a leading figure in pop music from the release of his first album in 1967 until his death in 2016. Bowie won the hearts of fans and critics alike for his innovative work that spans generations. During his lifetime, his record sales – estimated at 140 million albums worldwide – made him one of the world’s best-selling artists. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Bowie remained musically active until he died of liver cancer two days after the release of his final album, Blackstar. A mural dedicated to Bowie is located in his birthplace of Brixton.
London Loves Amy Winehouse
Photo by David Corio/Redferns
Amy Winehouse was born in Southgate, London, England in 1983. Known for her deep, soulful, and expressive vocals and her eclectic mix of genre-bending work, Winehouse made her mark in 2003 with her debut album, Frank. Her 2006 follow-up, Back to Black, led to five GRAMMY Awards in 2008. She tied the then-record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night and became the first British woman to win five GRAMMYs.
Like Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, Winehouse died at the age of 27 in 2011. Her album Back to Black retrospectively became the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century. A simple and colorful mural of the late artist is featured on York Way in London.
The Princess of Pop, Britney Spears
Britney Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi in 1981 and raised in Kentwood, Lousiana. Spears came to prominence in 1998 with her debut single, “…Baby One More Time,” further defining the millennial generation while being the face of the revival of teen pop.
Referred to as the Princess of Pop, Spears is by far one of the most influential acts of the past two decades with her earlier material at the heart of every twenty-something’s nostalgia trips. With nine studio albums to her name and counting, there’s no stopping Spears at all.
Tupac Shakur’s Colorful Memorial in Florida
Tupac Shakur was born in East Harlem, NY in 1971. Shakur sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time, and like Biggie, is consistently ranked as one of the greatest and most influential rappers to have lived. His double-disc albums 1996’s All Eyez on Me and his Greatest Hits, released in 1998, are among the best-selling albums in the United States.
Most of the themes in Tupac’s songs revolved around the violence and hardship in inner cities, racism, and other social issues, making him an influential voice in his community. In 1996, Shakur was fatally shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. This mural paying homage to Tupac is by street artist Eduardo Kobra, located in Wynwood, Florida.
Drake Has Sway In The Streets
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV
Drake was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1986. He initially gained recognition as an actor on the teen drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation, in the early 2000s. He left the show in 2007 to pursue a rap career. In 2009, he signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment.
One of the most critically-acclaimed rappers of this generation, Drake has been breaking records left and right, earning him a few GRAMMY wins while holding the most number one singles on the Hot Rap Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, and Rhythmic Charts. This mural created for the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards nominations in First Street Green Art Park in New York City.
The Rolling Stones Shine Bright in Ireland
Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The Rolling Stones formed in London, England in 1962. The band – consisting of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood – were at the forefront of the British Invasion of bands that became popular in the United States in 1964 and were identified with the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the 1960s and were often introduced on stage as “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World.”
In 1989, The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This mural of the group is by Subset Dublin, located in Dublin, Ireland.
The Beatles on a Building
Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
The Beatles formed in Liverpool, England in 1960. Consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, The Beatles became widely regarded as the most influential band in music history. Forever experimenting with their sound, the band was integral to pop music’s evolution into an art form and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s.
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and all four main members were inducted individually from 1994 to 2015. This mural of the band is located in Los Angeles, California.
Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey was born in New York City in 1985. Her music has been noted for its stylized cinematic quality, and its preoccupation with themes of tragic romance, glamour, and its references to pop culture, particularly 1950s and 1960s Americana and old Hollywood.
Del Rey first saw critical success when her single “Video Games” was released in 2011, leading to her 2012 major label debut, Born To Die. Now, with five albums and counting under her belt, the sky is the limit for Del Rey. This beautiful chalkboard-like mural is located in Venice Beach, California.