The Los Angeles mural that has served as a site for Elliot Smith fans to pay tribute to the much beloved singer-songwriter has just been given a recent revamp, by Punk Rock Marthas — an art-minded group of charitable folk — who felt the mural needed a pick-me-up in honor of the nine-year anniversary of Smith's death. As far as we're concerned, this is fabulous news, since the spot remains such an important symbol in remembering Smith and all of the wonderful music he left us with. To mark the occasion, we'd like to highlight some other notable street art that pay tribute to musicians we still wish were here. Here are our five favorites, in no particular order.
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Adam Yauch, Clarion Alley, San Francisco
This simple little piece of stenciling popped up down our very own Clarion Alley, shortly after Yauch's death last May. But it said more than an artistic reproduction of his face ever could. It has, of course, since been de-faced by numbskulled taggers. But, while it was still there and intact, it served as a beautiful tribute and a comfort to San Francisco fans after MCA's horribly premature death. Thank you to whoever did this. We loved it.
Amy Winehouse, Camden Town, London
Amy Winehouse lived in Camden Town, North London. She was a regular fixture at pubs and shows and was an adored member of the community there. So it was no surprise when multiple Winehouse murals popped up around the area after her sad death. This one, capturing Amy in all her snarling, bee-hived glory, is our favorite. And, as a cheeky bonus, it sits on the side of a Starbucks, thereby making at least one of the coffee chain's outlets vaguely interesting. Hallelujah.
Jim Morrison, Venice Beach, California
One time, we were taking a walk with our parents in Venice Beach and stumbled across this giant depiction of legendary Doors frontman Jim Morrison. “Who's that guy?” they wondered aloud, before subsequently having to suffer through an hour-long verbal history of The Doors. So support the (extremely famous) Jim Morrison mural — it's been forcing parents and old people to hear about all sorts of rock 'n' roll shenanigans since 1991.
Jam Master Jay, Queens, New York City
Not only did this rad mural go up in Hollis, Queens, after Jam Master Jay's horrifying murder in 2002, but the site of the artwork — 205th St — was renamed Run-DMC Way. Since most of the world would never have even heard of Hollis if it weren't for Jam Master Jay and his bandmates (and their festive classic “Christmas in Hollis”), we think that's only fitting.
John Lennon, Liverpool, England
While Americans are inclined to head to the low-key Strawberry Fields tribute in New York's Central Park to remember the Beatles legend, fans in his hometown of Liverpool go hang out with this gargantuan mural. It's 14 feet tall and takes up the entire side of a building. We love it because it captures the scrappy, young upstart John Lennon that so many people forget, while going so large that no one who views this can ever forget what a huge influence he left on the world. Amazing.