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The Libertines Inspired By Oscar Wilde


Photograph taken in 1882 by Napoleon Sarony via Wikipedia

The frontmen for English band the Libertines have been vocal about their literary inspirations in interviews. Oscar Wilde is just one of many writers Pete Doherty and Carl Barât, singers and guitarist for the band, have looked up to.

“[I]t was always my dream to study literature and to write. It fell by the wayside a little bit, but yeah, an amazing writer and amazing inspiration,” Doherty said according to music magazine NME.

His bandmate, Barât, an cofounder of the band, has also echoed Doherty’s sentiment on Wilde. In fact, he would would “like to spend [Christmas] with Oscar Wilde in the Dordogne,” Barât said, according to a Q&A with NME in 200 reposted on a blog.

Among some of the songs inspired by Wilde includes “Narcissist,” from the self-titled 2004 album, which alludes to the Picture of Dorian Gray.

In the song Barât sings: “Well wouldn’t it be nice to be Dorian Gray just for a day? They’re just narcissists! Oh, what’s so great to be Dorian Gray every day?”

[audio http://cdn.radiolala.com/T/The Libertines/01. The Libertines – Narcissist.mp3]

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Café Tacvba Inspired By Mexican Poet José Emilio Pacheco


Front cover of Las batallas en el desierto, published in 1981.

Artists who make literary references in his or her lyrics do it to pay homage to great writers. Others do it to drive a theme through the song. But at times those references go unnoticed by music listeners.

But José Emilio Pacheco, one of Mexico’s most celebrated poets, has great gratitude for the rock band Café Tacvba for bringing new readers to his short story Las batallas en el desierto.

“I like it a lot and I’m very grateful, because you have no idea how many people have read the book [Las batallas] thanks to Café Tacvba,” Pacheco said in 2010 at a public event.

The band is one of Mexico’s most successful rock groups, and in its 1992 freshman self-titled album included the track “Las batallas,” which retells Pacheco’s story in the lyrics.

Café Tacvba's 1992 self-titled album.

Café Tacvba’s 1992 self-titled album.

When asked by Peru’s newspaper El Peruano in 2010 what Pacheco thought about Café Tacvba’s song he had this to say jokingly: “A really young Peruvian writer, Santiago Roncagliolo, had told me he found out about the book thanks to Café Tacuba. He asked me how much [money] I have made. I responded not a single cent.”

The story is about Carlos a grade-school boy who falls in love with his friend’s attractive mother. When he confesses his love to her, his young life starts to unravel. His parents call him crazy and his friends start picking on him.

The book was published in 1981, but it is still one of Mexico’s most read books. Part of its success is the winsome story, but the book has been hailed because of it’s reminiscence of  the country’s pop culture of the 1940s and United States’ cultural influence on Mexicans.

José Emilio Pacheco tells an anecdote of Café Tacvba, inviting him for dinner after a concert, at the National Autonomous University of Mexico with Mexican novelist Ignacio Solares in 2010.


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