Lyric Literature

My first exposure to the Avett Brothers was Colleen Hoover’s Slammed.  Over dinner a few months after she became a client, we talked about the band and she recommended one of their live albums.  Since I’m almost as crazy about music as I am about books, I went off and started listening…and promptly fell in love (“I and Love and You” is on constant rotation in my brain).

But, this isn’t the first time I’ve been led to an artist that I became infatuated with through a reference in a book.  The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love led me to explore the golden age of Cuban music (pre-Castro, pre-exodus), for instance.  And, novels like  A Visit from the Goon Squad  are veritable treasure troves of musical references while memoirs like Patti Smith’s, Keith Richards’ and Neil Young’s can keep you looking up song titles on iTunes for weeks.  Since I believe great songwriting is poetry and poetry is storytelling that rhymes (or doesn’t), I love the marriage of literature and music.

On this Valentine’s eve, what devastating, unforgettable songs have you come across in books?

74 Responses to Lyric Literature

  1. Marie Paullus says:

    Thanks to Colleen, The Avett Brothers have become one of my favorite groups. The lyrics from the song she listed in the chapter of Slammed, really touched me and were perfect for the book. I was always clicking on Google to find the song and listen before reading the chapter. Then, of course, I had to purchase the entire album from iTunes. Great was to feel a book as you read!

  2. Rhonda Beyer says:

    When I read Slammed I wasn’t even sure the Abbott Brothers were real, until I looked them up. I can’t wait for Will and Holder’s POV.

  3. Lexi Edwards says:

    Hmmmm, I’d probably say Led Zeppelin. I’d hear some Led Zeppelin here and there (who hasn’t?) but I’ve never really gave them much thought until I read Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. Now I’m a crazed Led Zeppelin fan, and I feel kind of ashamed that I hadn’t realized their greatness years ago!

  4. Erin Bailey says:

    Colleen Hoover has made me fall in love with the Avett Brothers. I and love and you is one of my favorites. I also fell in love with The Civil Wars Barton Hollow thanks to J.A. Redmerski.

  5. Melissa Oien says:

    I have come across so many songs or bands that are mentioned in the novels I have read! I was immediatley into The Secret of Ella and Micah by Jessica Sorenson within the first chapter simply because she mentioned bands like Chevelle, Awolnation and Florence and the Machine. (All favorites of mine).
    A band that I had not yet heard of was Every Avenue until S.C. Stephens posted the playlist for her novels Thoughtless and Effortless and used many a song by them for inspiration. I found myself listening to them and able to relate their songs to the books. I am a big fan of them now because of that.
    I’m a huge music and book junkie and I love when authors talk about the music they draw inspiration from or name them in their work. I absolutely loved Colleen Hoover’s Hopless and after reading it, when I found out she was an Avett Brother’s fan, I dare say I loved her even more! Hopless was the first book I read by her, but am going to read Slammed and anything else she writes based on her wonderful taste in music and of course because she is an amazing writer. 😉
    As an avid reader and writer myself, I agree that music and reading go hand in hand. There is nothing better than finding something that can inspire you and give you the warm fuzzies. With every book I read, I find more and more, that I can relate songs of all genres to certain situations in novels and I love that!

  6. Melanie Stinnett says:

    One musical reference doesn’t stick out in my mind. However, I love when books have musical references. I often look up the artist and/or song mentioned and listen to their music in between reading the book. I feel like it puts me into the story of the book even more.

  7. Angie Clements says:

    I too have really become an Avett Brothers fan because of Colleen Hoover and I was also introduced to The Civil Wars while reading The Edge of Never! I love when stories mention music or the author puts a playlist at the end of the book. Most if the music I listen to these days comes from books I’m reading!

  8. Ana Estrella says:

    I would also thank Colleen, I absolutely love the Avett Brothers because of her and her amazing books.My children love them now too, the ballad of Love and Hate is one of my boys (age 5 and 7) favorite songs. they not only sing along in the car but whenever the mood strikes and it is so cute to hear them sing that song.. even my 2-year old is starting to sing it.
    I love to re-read a book after I have collected all the music mention within and play it while reading it, I makes me feel like I am there leaving the moment. Also as I hear the music in my car or wherever I think back to the book and the scene and it makes me smile. I have my playlists in my Ipod according to book.

  9. shelley Routt says:

    Not only is Colleen my new favorite Author she also has great taste in music love the Avett Brothers

  10. Nikki Swick says:

    This is definitely a unique phenomenon! I haven’t really discovered ‘new’ music, per se… I’m kind of a music buff and pride myself on knowing a lot of diverse and unique artists… BUT, I have rediscovered my love for certain songs, genres or artists through books. One book that comes to mind that really brought me back to some good classic/older songs was the book “Saving June” by Hannah Harrington. One of my main characters made mix tapes, including The Velvet Underground, Billie Holiday, the Pixies, Bowie, The Clash, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Simon & Garfunkel, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin, Tom Petty… and so on. It really brought back so many memories of my own remembering these classic songs. Good stuff!

    Awesome discussion! :) Thanks for getting us thinking about this stuff. Incorporation of music into books is a really wonderful way to expose people to new music, or to help them further identify with characters/situations. I, personally, am a HUGE fan! :)

    I also agree that both The Avett Brothers AND Colleen Hoover rock!

  11. Ilaria says:

    Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. When I read the book more than 10 years ago, it became an instant favorite and it made that particular Beatles song very special. Whenever I hear it, I ALWAYS think of the book. As for the Avett Brothers, I already had “I and Love and You” on my ipod, but I hadn’t really listened to it. It was afterI started reading Slammed that I realized these guys must be pretty damn special if the author went to such length to include the lyrics. So I started listening, and after I saw them live I listen to their songs every day. Their songs keep me grounded, make me smile, make me think about the inevitability of death and appreciate all the blessings I have been given, even during the hardest days. I cannot wait to see them live again. Thanks, Colleen!

  12. Steffani Geary says:

    Have you read Wallbanger by Alice Clayton? If not you should, because it is a fantastic book, by I digress. This book incorporates music in a fun and sexy way. Now, I don’t want to spoil the book for those who have not read it, but, the story centers around two people, Simon (Wallbanger) and Caroline (Pink Nighty Girl). Caroline has the unfortunate circumstance of sharing a bedroom wall with Simon, and as luck would have it, their apartments have NO insulation…so she hears all of his late night trysts.

    Now, when they finally become friends Simon agrees to play songs on his record player to drown out his erm *cough* lovemaking. Your intrigued right? I loved the songs that he played for her, because they were big band, and fun. Some examples: songs by Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Guns and Roses, and finally my favorite song that he played for her “Pussy Control” by Prince. it was fun, romantic, and it just worked. Whenever songs are relayed through text its always at a romantic moment. A song the hero writes, love songs, etc. I loved that this had a lot of playfulness to it as well as romanticism.

    That is one of the best examples that I can give, aside from the obvious Avett Brothers. I have read other books that have worked songs into the story, but Wallbanger is the one that stands out the most. Read it. You won’t regret it.

    Now…is it July yet?

  13. Francesca says:

    I never liked Slam before reading Slammed. Then I felt the power and the emotions behind the words, it was so beautiful I began to listen to this kind of music.

  14. Lisa Farhana says:

    Apparently like everyone else here, I started to know and love The Avett Brothers after reading Slammed. My favorite song of theirs so far is a tie between I Never Knew You and Winter in My Heart. I love it when the author includes his/her playlists with the books. I got to know so many new songs that way.

    Some of my favorite books with playlists:

    The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
    First Comes Love and Second Chance by Katie Kacvinsky
    Saving June by Hannah Harrington
    Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

    I usually collect all song mentions and make playlists on Youtube, lol

  15. Jessica George says:

    I also found the Avett Brothers through Colleen Hoover’s Slammed. I want to tell you that it has been the greatest experience of my life. Not only did I get to read an AMAZING story about wonderful people (Slammed and Point of Retreat), two stories that I got to share with a lot of people, but I began a love affair with one of the most talented group of men in the country! I’m seeing the Avett Brothers in concert tomorrow night and I have ONLY to thank Colleen for guiding me toward them!

    I also found some other groups through books…but none were as good as The Avett Brothers. Thanks again, colleen!

  16. shaz says:

    The civil wars-the edge of never by j.a. redmerski
    The avett brothers-slammed by colleen hoover

  17. Sara says:

    Have you read Tasting Never and Finding Never by C.M. Stunich? Highly recommend the books if you haven’t. Well one of the songs on the playlist for Tasting Never is Numb by Lincoln Park. To me, that song is extremely devastating, but is a perfect theme song for that book. Numb is the perfect word to describe those characters throughout most of the book. Having that song in my head while I read really made me feel what those characters were going through.

    What I really enjoy is seeing how the songs on the playlists change from book to book in a series. Numb was a great song for the Tasting Never playlist, but I wouldn’t put it on the Finding Never playlist and I’m sure the songs on the Finding Never playlist wouldn’t go on the Keeping Never playlist (book 3).

  18. Jen w says:

    I love music as much as reading. I think music gives the book another dimension, something more tangible. It’s also cool to find new artists that I might otherwise not be exposed to. I really love Barton Hollows by the Civil Wars and it will always remind me of The Edge Of Never, as well as the Avett Brothers and Slammed.

  19. Vicki H says:

    I’m pathetic. Had never even heard of them until I read her books and blog.

  20. Brandi Wa says:

    I had to listen to Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” and “Besame mucho” by Diana Krall while reading Gabriel’s Inferno. I haven’t heard either until this book. It’s not something I listen to on repeat, or very often for that matter, but they are songs that I won’t forget!

  21. Bethany Mac says:

    It is not a song I have heard, but the lyrics by Sed really spoke to me in Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning.

    You don’t see me
    Blind to the real me
    I’m not who you think I should be
    But I can’t be someone I’m not
    I’ll try to be who you need,
    what you need,
    I fail again
    tear me, cut me make me bleed
    If it opens your heart to me
    Just don’t leave me with nothing
    less than nothing
    Like the last time
    use me
    It’s better than existing without you

    If I could have Sebastian Bach formerly of Skid Row sing this to me, I would melt in to a puddle of goo. :::swoon::::

  22. Alyssa says:

    Colleen introduced me to The Avett Brothers and I could not be happier. I love hearing the soundtracks to books. It sets me in the mood and I feel like I actually know the characters and their mindsets.

  23. amy says:

    Thanks to Colleen for sharing The Avett Bros. Never would’ve found them otherwise. I also love the Fifty Shades soundtracks because it allowed me to rediscover old faves. It is touching and very endearing to listen to what authors find as inspiration for their work. I’m a huge fan of yours Colleen!

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