Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Nicolas Genin)


From Bruce Springsteen to The Clash: Ethan Hawke's 10 favourite songs of all time

Ethan Hawke has cemented his legacy as a top actor by starring in some of the most iconic films ever made. Ranging from the youthful idealism of Dead Poets Society to the everlasting charm of Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy, Hawke has proven his versatility by taking on roles that have been demanding in their own unique ways.

In recent years, Hawke has branched out into other areas but he has shown that he is still capable of great dramatic work. He delivered one of the most powerful performances of the last decade in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed where he starred as a priest who is subjected to an all-consuming crisis of faith while navigating other personal struggles.

Hawke has also been attached to other prominent projects including Marvel’s new Disney+ series Moon Knight where he stars as the antagonist. However, many fans of the actor are more excited about his appearance in the upcoming Viking epic by Robert Eggers titled The Northman which is ready for a theatrical release later this month.

In order to understand the artistic sensibilities of Hawke, we have decided to compile a list of some of Hawke’s favourite songs. The actor named some of his greatest musical influences in an interview, claiming that Willie Nelson’s ‘Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain’ was actually the first song he ever fell in love with.

He explained: “That whole album is like a country opera – it’s the country music equivalent to The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. It’s a concept album. It’s incredibly simple and pared-down but it feels like one story told from multiple points of view. That song is just so lonely and tragic and heartbreaking and beautiful. I never stopped loving it.”

While citing other great works by The Clash and Bruce Springsteen among others, Hawke also revealed that there is one particular song that he wishes he had written himself every time he listens to it. On the other hand, he finds it too painful to listen to Prince’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ anymore even though it is one of his favourites.

Talking about Kris Kristofferson, Hawke commented: “He’s such a humanist. I made a CD of his 50 greatest hits for a friend, I call it the ‘Kris Kollection’. If you listen to the whole thing on a big car trip, it’s like finishing a novel. There’s something so literary and so wise about the rhymes. You feel like your heart gets bigger when you listen to it.”

Adding, “I interviewed Kris for Rolling Stone and directed him in my movie Chelsea Walls. He’s a true prince – deeply humble, deeply kind and very wise.” Ranging from Guns N’ Roses to Hank Williams, this playlist is truly eclectic and almost functions like an intimate biography of Hawke’s formative years as well as his adult life.

Check the full list below.

Ethan Hawke’s favourite songs:

  • ‘Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain’ – Willie Nelson
  • ‘Jambalaya (On The Bayou)’ – Hank Williams
  • ‘White Riot’ – The Clash
  • ‘I Want You Back’ – The Jackson 5 
  • ‘Hungry Heart’ – Bruce Springsteen
  • ‘Hard Drive’ – Evan Dando
  • ‘November Rain’ – Guns N’ Roses
  • ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ – Prince
  • ‘(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes’ – Elvis Costello
  • ‘Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’ – Kris Kristofferson

Stream the playlist in full, below.