Sunday, October 7, 2012

The 10 Most Mentioned Songs in Books

'notes of a rock song' photo (c) 2008, Bùi Linh Ngân - license:
I love music. It can define my mood, my outlook, and help me change it. Music can relax me and pump me up. I’m not surprised that music and musicians are mentioned in books. Sometime the song title or artist name is the easiest way to convey things to the reader.
I’ve been very pressed for time these last few weeks with chairing a major conference (next week) and our daughter’s wedding (the end of the month). When I browsed Publisher’s Weekly though, I had to stop to enjoy the music. Here is the article by Gabe Habash, a New York University professor, on the the ten most mentioned songs in books.  Gabe mentions a website, Small Demons that acts as a book content web, connecting people, places, music, movies, TV/radio, books, food/drink, magazines, events, vehicles, and weapons mentioned in books.
What songs would you (or have you) referenced in your writing? Why did you choose them?
I’ll start. I referenced light jazz in Knight of Runes. When my heroine in the 21st century drives 3 hours from London to her new home, Fayne Manor she listens to light jazz, probably Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.”  
Here are the top ten from Small Demons.
10. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

9. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

8. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson

 7. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles

 6. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

 5. “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley

4. “Dancing Queen” by ABBA

3. “We Are the World”

2. “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley

1. “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

My heroine's “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck


  1. I have not referenced any music. Mostly because I write Regencies and none of my heroines doing more than they must with the piano.

  2. Makes you wonder what universe of books it is he took this from...

  3. @ellaquinnauthor

    There are some great classical pieces that I imagine your heroine must play: brooding Beethoven, playful Mozart, and the child prodigy Chopin. For me, there is always music.

    ... Ruth

  4. @Regan

    Certainly not romance but it was fun to watch the videos all the same! Thanks for stopping by.

    ... Ruth

  5. That's interesting. I don't think I would have guessed most of those songs. As for what I would mention in my own writing, I'm a big Supernatural fan, so I wouldn't be surprised if "Carry On Wayward Son" pops up in something soon.
    Jennifer Sampson

  6. Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard. Got to see them perform is live last month.

  7. Not a list I've ever seen any of in my reading, and I agree, certainly not romance-style music. lol Interesting just the same, Ruth. I like a lot of these- though they ill probably never turn up in anything I write.

  8. Interesting list, very eclectic! But I've always been warned off even the smallest snippet of song lyrics -- or commerical jingles! -- in novels, b/c of copyright issues. So I don't dare. ;-D

    Savvy Authors