Tag Archives: books

J.D. Salinger’s Short Story Inspired The Cure’s Robert Smith

NineStoriesPJ Harvey wasn’t the only English musician to get inspiration from J.D. Salinger’s short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”

The Cure’s singer Robert Smith titled the song Bananafishbones with Salinger’s short story in mind. The song was released in the album The Top in 1984. The New Yorker originally published the story in 1948, but later collected in Salinger’s 1953 book Nine Stories.

“The title (for the song), for some no-reason, from ‘a perfect day for bananafish’ – a short story by j d salinger .. again me hating myself,” Smith said according to the Cure News, a 1990 fan-produced newsletter.

[audio http://a.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcvtnoFRIg1rzbts1o1.mp3]

As incoherent as that respond is, Smith had great respect for Salinger, who was a recluse. In an interview with French magazine Rock and Folk, the singer said he was impressed by Salinger’s lifestyle and writings.

The_Cure_-_The_Top“He’s a character that I admire and that intrigues me also; isolating himself from the world, living as a recluse in a monastery, giving up writing and refusing any contact with the outside, it’s fascinating,” Smith said of Salinger in 2003.

Smith continues: “Sometimes as I look back at myself as a teenager, reading Salinger…it makes me want to laugh. But it would be a pathetic reaction, typical of a mocking father facing his child’s first emotions. The amazement is too pure to be laughed at. Authors for teenagers are considered as caricatures.”

This isn’t the only literature-inspired tune that Smith has written. In fact, many of his songs allude to classic literature. For example, Killing an Arab’s lyrics retell french author Albert Camus’ story the Stranger.

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Elliott Murphy’s Tribute To F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Gatsby_1925_jacketThe Jay-Z-produced soundtrack to the new Great Gatsby film gave the opportunity to contemporary artists to pay tribute to one of the most acclaimed novels in literature.

But before the Great Gatsby was cool, singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy had already lionized the book by writing a song titled “Like a Great Gatsby.” The tune was released in his debut album Aquashow, in 1973.

The reason why he idolizes the book’s author F. Scott Fitzgerald so much he says, according to the culture site Critical Mob: “On one level there was just the tragedy of his life – he is really the Van Gogh of authors, in that when he died he was so unknown there were still copies of the first edition of The Great Gatsby in  Scribner’s [the book-publishing company] warehouse, it wasn’t very successful. And that he kept at it, I think I found that inspiring.”

Murphy is from Long Island, New York, where the novel takes places.  That’s only one of the few things he finds in common with what he calls “my favorite writer, my literary hero.”

“Also, Gatsby took place in Long Island; I was from Long Island, and I think he dealt with this question of what it is to be an American, and I identified with that as well,” Murphy explained.

To show how much he idolizes the book, in his debut album cover he is pictured with a white Gatsby-like suit at the Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel, where some scenes took place in the novel.

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