Now and then, an artist of particularly notability will make a transition in their field, jumping from one art form to another. Though this is relatively rare, it is getting less so- and whether it be painters trying their hand at music or a ballet dancer venturing into the world of sculpture, crossovers of this kind can produce some pretty unexpected results. Here’s a look at some musicians who have created widely celebrated works of literature.
10. In His Own Words – John Lennon
Though it’s no secret that the late great Lennon enjoyed the occasional foray into literature, this publication is unknown to most. Composed of the Beatles early literary ventures, In His Own Write is packed with poems, illustrations and short stories written by Lennon in the early part of his career. Release at the height of Beatle mania in 1964, you may be surprised to hear that the book is jammed full of a large number surreal and improvisational themes. Certainly worth a read.
9. Hard Ground – Tom Waits
A similar kind of feel to ‘In His Own Write’, Hard Ground is too a collection of the poetry and literary prowess of a man most commonly celebrated for his music. Containing stunning photography by the highly talented Michael O’Brien, Hard Ground is a fascinating journey of affecting poetry with some pretty interesting ideas thrown in for good measure. Though it’s hardly rare for musicians of similar calibre to Waits to practice poetry with as much panache as their song writing, Waits does much to set himself apart in this instance.
8. Life – Keith Richards
Whilst most may be surprised to know Keith Richards can read and write at all, it would simply shock others to the core to know that he’s created one of the most compelling and popular memoirs of all time. Released in 2010, ‘Life’ was created with the help of journalist James Fox who conducted various in depth interviews with prominent figures in the Rolling Stones’ turbulent life. Whereas some rock n’ roll memoirs are a cheesy championing of former exploits and a bit of sly complaining about how things are oh so different nowadays, this one holds a definite air of compassion and sincerity within its pages, as well as one hell of a story.
7. The Death of Bunny Munro – Nick Cave
Best known as the quirky frontman of the eponymous ‘Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’, this Australian is also partial to a bit of writing. Having penned several novels as well as the screenplays for classic period dramas ‘The Proposition’ and more recently ‘Lawless’, it would be fair to say he knows what he’s doing too. This particular novel was released in 2009 and follows a protagonist by name of Bunny Munro and his obscure life as an aging lothario with a deep interest in both women and alcohol. Though it hardly sounds like the most original synopsis, it’s certainly a great read.
6. Threepenny Memoir – Carl Barat
Another surprisingly sincere recollection of former glory, Carl Barat discusses his time at the top with former band The Libertines in this most substantial of obvious cash-ins. As well as the expected stories about staying up for days on end surviving solely on booze and cocaine, another dimension of attraction is added by the eloquent yet very relatable style in which Barat reminisces on his time spent with Pete Doherty and co.