From the King of Pop to one of the greatest Broadway songwriters of all time, Indiana counts many famous musicians among its natives. You can gain an even greater appreciation for their talents when you learn about their backgrounds.
Anything Goes! Cole Porter Inn & Indiana Historical Society
Cole Porter, who wrote still-popular shows like Anything Goes and Kiss Me Kate, was born in 1891 to a wealthy family in Peru, Indiana. While the family hoped he would be a lawyer, he followed his heart and became one of America's best songwriters, instead. You can stay in his birthplace, recently restored as the Cole Porter Inn. The inn features a gift shop and reception area—Kate's Parlor—and three elegant suites.
Visit the Cole Porter Room at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis to further your exploration into this talented man's life. Designed to be like New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the room takes you back to the 1940s. A live singer brings your favorite Porter works to life as you examine the displays.
Michael Jackson Birthplace
Fans of the Jackson Five and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, travel to a modest house in Gary, Indiana, to see where the family of 11 grew up. Well-tended, the home has a memorial to Michael in the yard and bricks with all the family names, including Janet, in the driveway. Sometimes neighbors who grew up in the 1970s with the talented Jacksons will be around to chat with visitors.
Gaither Family Resources
Bill and Gloria Gaither have inspired the world with their gospel music for four decades. Gaither Family Resources in Alexandria has gifts, books, music, home decor, a cafe and ice cream shop, and the Gaither Museum. You can take a tour of their recording studios and see memorabilia and awards in the museum. You'll be greeted with the delicious smells of farm-fresh cooking and the delightful sounds of their gospel music.
John Mellencamp's Southern Indiana Center for the Arts
As he so often writes, John Mellencamp was born in a small town—specifically, Seymour. Fans from around the globe, known as "Mellenheads," travel there to visit the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, housed in an 1800s Greek revivalist style brick mansion owned by Mellencamp. The center has one room with Mellencamp's paintings on display. A few have been printed as posters and are available for sale only at SICA.
Paul Dresser Birthplace
The official state song, "On the Banks of the Wabash Far Away," was written by Paul Dresser, one of the most important composers of the 1890s who was born in Terre Haute with the last name Dreiser. Unlike his author brother, Theodore, Paul changed his name to be more American. As he traveled the country in a vaudeville show, he reminisced about living along the beautiful Wabash and seeing his mother. It was deemed the state song in 1913. Now you can tour his birthplace in Fairbanks Park and see the sculpture commemorating the 100th anniversary of the state song.