Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Wikimedia)


From AC/DC to The Rolling Stones: Writer Stephen King's favourite songs of all time


Stephen King may well be one of the most popular novelists of all time. The serial horror hero has contributed some of the world’s most recognisable titles to both literature and cinema, counting The Shining, Pet Sematary, Carrie and hundreds more as an intrinsic piece of his catalogue. But while King’s unique style is known the world over, the fact that he is a musical nut may well have evaded people. But, the truth is, Stephen King is a keen muso.

We know this because the novelist has always been happy to share the singers, songwriters and bands who have helped to form his own artistic expression with his audience. Whether it is professing Bob Dylan to be a saviour of music and the written word or declaring his love for Rihanna’s ‘Pon De Replay’ for BBC’s Desert Island Discs, King has never been afraid to show his musical side. Below, we’ve got another collection of his favourite songs to share with you.

When King appeared on Desert Island Discs in 2006 he arrived with a truly eclectic mix of songs it featuring huge named artists such as The Beatles and their song ‘She Loves You’ or Bob Dylan and ‘Desolation Row’ even picking out Bruce Springsteen, Pretenders, as well as the aforementioned Rihanna. What’s notable, is that given the chance to select another set of his favourite songs for a BBC 6 Music feature Paperback Writers which asked novelists to pick their favourite tunes, he chose a completely new collection of tracks.

It’s the sign of a true music fan that, when asked to pick your favourite songs, you can only ever think of your most recent favourite songs and, in truth, it is a list that is constantly changing with the tides and seasons. It means, we can be safe in the knowledge that while the 14 songs selected below are certainly some of King’s most cherished, it would be a very different list today.

Contained within the list are some of the biggest names in rock, including AC/DC who King described as “the best rock and blues band of all time,” as well as picking out the country legend John Mellencamp who King once had a “crazy idea” about a musical with. But perhaps the most telling or perhaps most contradictory moment comes when King reveals, “One of the questions that defines a person is…‘is it Beatles or Stones?’”

Considering he only picks out The Rolling Stones in this piece, and their track ‘Dance Little Sister’ suggests he has made his choice, but we’d revert to his Desert Island Discs appearance to confirm his conflicted ears.

In fact, King says that he “got into a lot of arguments in the 70s with rock purists who absolutely hated disco,” something King has always held affection for. “I thought to myself, if people hate me and if they want to downgrade my musical taste, I’ll just have to live with that and cry hot tears of shame on my pillow. If I had more time here, I’d have put on one of the Bee Gees disco songs, but that’s another story.”

Below, we’ve captured all of the songs mentioned on that programme and pulled it together as a collection of Stephen King’s favourite songs. It’s a top tier playlist form one of the world’s greatest living writers.

Stephen King’s favourite songs:

  • ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ – AC/DC
  • ‘At the Hop’ – Danny and the Juniors
  • ‘Pink Houses’ – John Cougar Mellencamp
  • ‘The New Girl in School’ – Jan and Dean
  • ‘Dance Little Sister’ – Rolling Stones
  • ‘That’s the Way I Like It’ – KC & the Sunshine Band
  • ‘Dirty Water’ – The Standells
  • ‘Louie Louie’ – The Kingsmen
  • ‘It Came Out of the Sky’ – Credence Clearwater Revival
  • ‘Secret Agent Man’ – Johnny Rivers
  • ‘Anarchy In the UK’ – Sex Pistols
  • ‘Needles and Pins’ – The Searchers
  • ‘S.O.B.’ – Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
  • ‘My Sharona’ – The Knack