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Thread: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

  1. #1
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    Default What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    Hi, longtime lurker, new to posting here. Couldn't find a more appropriate area to post this in, sorry if it's incorrect.

    I've been reading King's work since I was 11, I am now 30. I've read everything by him, some quite a number of times.

    My question for the forum (or Mod?) is this:

    I know King is a big music fan. The thought occurred to me, that it'd be interesting to know what *music* King was listening to while writing each novel/short story etc. I'm sure I've read somewhere a few of his novels "music lists", but was curious about a more complete list? I realize that this is a rather comprehensive question, and even King may not remember at this point what he was listening to for *everything* that he wrote, or whether the music in question was truly inspirational, or just background music.

    I do recall King saying that he was a fan of thrash metal, and I think he has listened to it while writing (maybe).

    Personally, I would find it interesting if King was literally listening to ZZ Top when he wrote about the "god drums" (ZZ Top music) of Lud began playing in Dark Tower 3, that sort of thing. Personally I always harbored the theory that the Crimson King was an inversion of King Crimson, but that's just me!

    Does anyone know if King has answered this question before, or (better yet?!) does Mod know?

    I realize it's not a *Critical* question, but I like reading King's "behind the scenes" notes, getting to know his process, etc.

    Thanks to anyone who's able to help in advance!

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    Default Re: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    I don't think he's kept track of what music he was listening to every day as he's been writing. He listens to a lot of different music from what I've observed. Sometimes it's the heavy metal, sometimes it's country and I would guess what he listens to on at least some occasions is dictated by what he's writing. I can't say whether it's the music that dictates the story or the other way around but I would guess the latter.


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    Default Re: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    ...it was anything featuring "Hello Kitty"...what better way to get into the horror frame of mind?....

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    Default Re: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    Interesting thought! I don't know about Stephen King, but several other authors that I enjoy (Holly Black comes to mind) post playlists on their blogs. I'd love it if King did, but I think he's a comparatively private person, or at least a bunch less interested in PR. Think of it this way: the more time he spends keeping track of what music he listens to, the less time he'd be writing! Maybe MsMod can spy on him for us? (With permission!)

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    Default Re: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBook View Post
    Interesting thought! I don't know about Stephen King, but several other authors that I enjoy (Holly Black comes to mind) post playlists on their blogs. I'd love it if King did, but I think he's a comparatively private person, or at least a bunch less interested in PR. Think of it this way: the more time he spends keeping track of what music he listens to, the less time he'd be writing! Maybe MsMod can spy on him for us? (With permission!)
    Don't think that would be much fun for either him or me. Not to mention that it would either require a web cam or I'd have to make a 2-1/2 hour trip each way to do that as he doesn't do his writing in the Bangor office where I am. I might be willing to take the much longer trip, say around the middle of February when he's in Florida, though. I can only remember a couple times where he's kept a play list and in one case burned a CD of the tunes he was listening to as he wrote. Just don't ask me which book it was for as I'm not 100% sure which one it was at the moment. CRSS kicking in.


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    Default Re: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    "What do you listen to when you work?" a man in the balcony shouts.

    King answers, "I've been working on the Dark Tower books for the last 14 months, and I listen to two things over and over again. I can't believe that my wife hasn't killed me, I know that she would really like to - one is a CD that has seven different versions of a techno-funk thing called James Brown is Dead. It's by a group called LA Style, and each cut starts the same way, 'James Brown is dead [big deep voice].

    "Also I've got a dance-studio-size vinyl record of Lou Bega singing Mambo Number 5. And there are four versions of Mambo Number 5. There is the radio version, which you have probably heard, then there's the dance club version of Mambo Number 5 which is 7 minutes long, then there is a version called Mambo Boogie on the other side, and the last one is just called The Trumpet. It's a trumpet playing one phrase of music over and over again. Between cuts one day I heard my wife say to the housekeeper, 'He just does it to spite me'.

    >>> Source

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    Default Re: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    I assume sK was listening to this while writing The Tommyknockers...


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    Default Re: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    Maybe the better question is what do you listen to when you read a Stephen King book?? Personally, I think I need a couple of albums of theremin music. Really gets me in the mood. Maybe some theremin polka and a nice mug of oatmeal stout in one hand.

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    Default Re: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsBook View Post
    Maybe the better question is what do you listen to when you read a Stephen King book?? Personally, I think I need a couple of albums of theremin music. Really gets me in the mood. Maybe some theremin polka and a nice mug of oatmeal stout in one hand.
    As a rule, I can't listen to music when I read due to being distracted by noise. But I've broken this rule since reading only in restaurants, since I usually go to Mexican restaurants which usually play Mexican music, so I apparently prefer reading while listening to songs the lyrics of which I cannot understand. I think I'll look for restaurants which play Dylan, Elton John, and Desmond Dekker songs.

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    Default Re: What music was Stephen listening to while writing each novel/short story/etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moderator View Post
    I don't think he's kept track of what music he was listening to every day as he's been writing. He listens to a lot of different music from what I've observed. Sometimes it's the heavy metal, sometimes it's country and I would guess what he listens to on at least some occasions is dictated by what he's writing. I can't say whether it's the music that dictates the story or the other way around but I would guess the latter.
    Thanks for responding, Miss Mod (and so quickly!) Yeah, I didn't really expect there to be a comprehensive "list" per se for this, since it may not necessarily be considered a relevant or important aspect of writing for him, or worth keeping track of. I think the thought originated from my reading of Gaiman's "American Gods" (I believe), where in the end notes, he said (this is from memory) that he was listening to Magnetic Fields throughout the writing of that novel.

    Some of my favorite readings from Sai King, actually from his "notes", like the notes that preface his stort stories in his collections, for instance. I'm surprised he's not made more note of his musical inclinations in these, as he is a big music fan, but again perhaps it just never really occured to him or thought it relevant.

    I have immense respect for King, and would take any music suggestions he had very seriously. Whether it had an direct/indirect influence on his writing or not.

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