Before they became full-pledged Rock 'n Roll Gods they first learn about the world as readers. Part of being perfectly human, they took the time for some breaks in playing their respective weapons-of-choice (i.e. guitar, drums, piano) and opted to read awhile perhaps thinking that investing on their minds might not hurt at all and also might enhance their craft further.
This short list about the favorite book/books of the modern Rock Idols is I think the first time compiled and published online, and my only assurance as a music fan is that I did my best to cross-check varied sources including my personal archive to finally present them here, aimed to the same loyal fans out there who might not be aware that their idols were also avid readers once in their lifetime.
I hope all of you will like this list.
He basically loved literature and poets like Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, and Woody Guthrie were his idols. Furthermore, the most memorable book for him was John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath when during his younger days he wrote a school essay about it.
Early in his career he despised the church and its dogma but he couldn't hide the fact that his family devotedly read the holy scriptures almost everyday, and until that final week of his days, the Rasta Man converted to Christianity via the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The Archbishop baptized him as Berhane Selassie meaning--- Light of the Trinity. He declared the importance of reading by saying that a page a day is the Rasta way. Though it is subject for inquiry if the Gibson guitar he owned was actually accompanied by a Holy Bible when he was buried on the 21st of May 1981, his conversion brought a new meaning to his well known phrase---Light up the darkness.
The only Rock 'n Roll God that you don't need to mention the surname--the first name is enough. Elvis is basically a Christian by virtue of his upbringing and it's not a wonder to expect him loving the Holy Bible. But besides that, he also respected other beliefs and even delved into existential books by reading the Impersonal Life by Joseph Brenner along with Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. He also liked Albert Camus' The Stranger and Tao Te Tseng by Lao Tzu.
Jim is the most prolific of the lot when it comes to book collection. His collection is vast like a library, and it has been rumored that he can also memorize every word and phrase in a specific page, he even challenged a visitor to secretly pick a book from his shelf and read a phrase and Jim can easily answer back with the book title and page number. So much for a rocker to obtain a photographic memory. Maybe that's what pure talent really is all about. His favorites were Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce, Albert Camus' The Stranger, and The Plague.
The weirdest of the lot was Jimmy Page's (and apparently his band's) affinity into the occult and ancient mythologies. Le Dragon Rouge and other grimoires like this one above is just one of the many "references" that influenced the band as shown in the cover of the Led Zeppelin IV Album. Deciphering the symbols and its meanings are discussed here.
John as a kid enjoyed Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and made him wish he was the one who wrote the novel. Later, he also loved James Joyce's well-known and highly criticized novel--Finnegans Wake and the sci fi opus The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick.
Kurt loved Beatnik literature and the Naked Lunch by William Burroughs is on top of them. But the only book that entertained Kurt more prompting him to write a song about it is Patrick Suskind's Perfume (originally published in Germany as Das Parfum). The central figure of the book is the antihero Grenouille--a character who has a very strong olfactory ability since birth but incredibly has no physical scent and no measure of moral judgment at all. "Scentless Apprentice" is a tribute song written by Kurt and performed by his band Nirvana in the 1993 album In Utero.
Sting is a self-confessed bookworm and late photos of him reading a book in his free time is proof to that. He usually trips with fantasy genre, not counting out that he played the antagonist Feyd Rautha in David Lynch's film adaption of Frank Herbert's sci fi epic Dune in 1984. He also loved the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake. Of all the classic books, he loved Ulysses by James Joyce and Vladimir Nabokov's most popular and controversial novel Lolita.
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There you go, I hope it influenced you to find out more about your own idol's favorite novel or non fiction. I would like to know what you think about this post and any reactions from both ends of the spectrum are highly encouraged. Happy reading!