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Jeruba's avatar

Can you think of a fairly recently published book that incorporates song lyrics?

Asked by Jeruba (46092points) April 18th, 2012

Looking for a fiction or nonfiction book published in, say, the past 20 or 30 years, that quotes song lyrics.

I’d prefer a novel or biography rather than something scholarly and analytical or something explicitly about the music industry.

I just want to see how they handle the song excerpts typographically and also how they handle the permissions statements. More than one example would be nice.

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12 Answers

chyna's avatar

Stephen King “The Stand”.

Seek's avatar

Stephen King often uses song lyrics. He lists permission information for the song on the copyright page. If I remember correctly, the song lyrics themselves are generally in their own paragraph and italicised.

chyna's avatar

Just looked and Stephen King’s “Tommy Knockers” and “Insomnia” also have lyrics.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The first one that comes to mind is Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs. The whole book can be viewed by clicking on the “Search Inside This Book” link below the picture of the jacket cover. The list of 33 song credits is at the end.

Dave Barry plays in a band with Stephen King. Just a nugget I wanted to throw in since Mr. King was mentioned in the three posts above this one.

CWOTUS's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr beat me to the answer I would have given. King refers to the Ramones pretty frequently, for one.

marinelife's avatar

Here’s one and the author’s dismay at how much he had to pay just to quote a couple of lines!

tinyfaery's avatar

Girlfriend In A Coma by Douglas Coupland. It has a few quoted lyrics not just the title.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks very much—all these examples are helpful.

@marinelife, thanks for that link. I’m not a bit surprised. The last time I read up on that part of copyright law, I was reminded that because songs are so short compared with other writings, a quotation of any length is considered a lot, and writers can expect pretty hefty permissions fees.

Blondesjon's avatar


@chyna . . . nearly all of king’s books have lyrics of one kind or another.

chyna's avatar

@Blondesjon Those were the only three I had handy and didn’t want to say that all of them had lyrics without checking. I like that you like King.

Earthgirl's avatar

Jonathan Safran Foer Everything is Illuminated (page 113) quotes Billie Jean by Michael Jackson

Earthgirl's avatar

I found this relevant discussion. Not sure how much useful information it has. Might be worth a perusal.

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