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Stephen King's Favorite Music

The songs on these pages originate from three sources: an April 2005 Stephen King radio appearance with Steve Earle on an Air America program called The Revolution Starts Now and two editions of his Entertainment Weekly column, The Pop of King - April 2005 which encouraged readers to download several songs, and December 2005, reviewing the best albums and singles out in 2005.

This page contains the songs from the two Entertainment Weekly columns. Songs mentioned in the Air America program are provided on a different page, linked here and at the bottom.

Please note this page is under construction. While all information is posted, fine tuning on placement is still required.

Much of the music mentioned here is available for preview, either partially or fully, from the artists' websites, CD Baby,, Yahoo Music and other similar hosts. Enjoy your stay.

Song Title: Artist and Notes:

Dance With Me

California Stars

To Be Young

City of the Damned


Our Love

Tell Mama

Diamonds and Rust

Blue on Black

Manifesto No. 1

What I Got

Don't Leave Me This Way

We Can't Make It Here

Yeah (Pretentious Mix)

Delirium Tremolos

Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1

Kicking Television:
------------Live in Chicago

All Jacked Up

Childish Things

If You Didn't Laugh,
-------------------You'd Cry

Sugar, We're Goin' Down

My Humps

Land Locked Blues

4th of July

If I Ever Leave
--------------- This World Alive

Maria's Bed

We Can't Make It Here

I Summon You

Entertainment Weekly, April 2005

Michael McDermott

Album: Ashes
Released: 2004

"Crazy-mad, obsessive dance track. McDermott, who sounds a little like Springsteen and a little like Bono but mostly like himself, has never quite happened (yet). This track is the most recent evidence of why he still could. And should." If you're interested in the whole album, be aware that McDermott put out a second record that year called 'Beneath the Ashes;' be sure to get the first album for this particular song.

Song By: ?

Billy Bragg & Wilco

Album: Mermaid Avenue
Released: 1998

"The best track on 'Mermaid Avenue,' the album with lyrics written by Woody Guthrie. Should be next to 'sweet, lonesome, and in love' in the dictionary."

Song By: Woody Guthrie

Ryan Adams

Album: Heartbreaker
Released: 2000

"Ryan Adams can do just about everything, okay? This just happens to be everything together, boiled down to three minutes and change."

Song By: Ryan Adams and David Rawlings

Gothic Archies

Album: New Despair
Released: 1997

"Do I need to explain what's great about a heavy metal group called the Gothic Archies?" Their music has been described as running a gamut from punk to folk to goth-rock and the album received mixed reviews. Reviewers agreed, however, that this was one of the best songs on the album and represented Merritt well.

Song By: Stephin Merritt

Alejandro Escovedo

Album: A Man Under the Influence
Released: 2001

"This song rocks harder than anything since the Stones did Brown Sugar, and expresses (at least according to a female friend of mine) the dream one-night stand from the male point of view: 'I like her better when she walks away.'"

Song By: Alejandro Escovedo

Rhett Miller

Album: The Instigator
Released: 2002

"Bouncy, funny, sharp, and impossible to get out of your head perfect power pop, in other words. The best song of its ilk not found on a Fountains of Wayne record."

Song By: Rhett Miller

Savoy Brown

Album: Street Corner Talking
Released: 1971

"Savoy Brown was one high-tension cocktail: a jigger of Grateful Dead and two shots of The Band. This is maybe the best evidence, five minutes of pile-driver, truck-stop rock & roll."

Song By: Dave Walker and Kim Simmonds

Judas Priest

Album: Rocka Rolla
Released: 1974

"You can download the Joan Baez version, but
be the first on your block to get the one by the
band that did You've Got Another Thing Comin'.
Pretty cool."

Song By: Joan Baez

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Album: Trouble Is
Released: 1997

"A lowdown and dirty rock-country-blues hybrid. This is the kind of music you do 'The Snake' to when the lights are low and just before last call." This song became very popular on most rock-n-roll stations and the album reviewed well.

Song By: Mark Selby and Tia Sellers

Shooter Jennings

Album: Put the "O" Back in Country
Released: 2005

"This one's a joyous rock-country-gospel hybrid, although...Let your hair down/Get out of that skirt/But leave them high heels on...hmm, neither Hank Williams nor the Mighty Clouds of Joy were ever quite like that. All the same, I think you'll say amen."

Song By: Shooter Jennings


Album: Sublime
Released: 1996

"Rappy, slaphappy, obscene, and delightful. So nice you gotta play it twice." Just before the release of this album, the lead singer and guitarist for the band passed away. A few other albums were released posthumously and the band dissolved.

Song By: Bradley Nowell

Thelma Houston

Album: Don't Leave Me This Way
Released: 1976 (as single)

"I loved disco with a love that was deep, unabashed, and unashamed; I love it still. Of the maybe two dozen tracks I revere (I Love the Nightlife, by Alicia Bridges, for instance), this is the best, its powerful beat overtopped by Houston's amazing pipes and that heartfelt '70s cry: Get over here, honey, and finish what you started!"

Song By: Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff

James McMurtry and the Heartless Bastards

Album: Childish Things
Released: 2005

"Stark and wrenchingly direct, this may be the best American protest song since Masters of War. Love it or hate it, you'll never forget it...and this one's actually a free download, at McMurtry's website." The song will be included on his upcoming album, scheduled for release this August. Follow the link below to McMurtry's website for a free download of the song in both band and acoustic versions.
Click here

Song By: James McMurtry

LCD Soundsystem

Album: Yeah
Released: 2004 (as single)

"Yep, this one comes to you directly from EW's own 'Must List,' and all I can say is if this is where disco went when it died, then it was very good and went to heaven. It's 11 minutes of funk."

Song By: James Murphy


"That's 63 minutes of total bliss that will fit easily on most blank CDs. Just remember who gets the credit when you play it for your friends, and also remember your Uncle Stevie's motto: It all sounds better when you turn it up to 11."


Entertainment Weekly, December 2005

|- Albums -|

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Released: 2005

"Alt-country with its slow groove on. Takes a while to get a hold on you, but then it doesn't let go. Cooler-N-Hell could be the Great Lost ZZ Top Track; The Beauty Way will break your damn heart." The album was released under the Philo/Pgd label.

Jackson Browne

Released: 2005

"Clear, calm, and beautiful; sane music for late at night. Doctor, I think the fever has broken." Browne's website plays songs from the album, definitely worth a listen; just follow the link below.
Click here


Released: 2005

"I was a Wilco doubter for the longest time, especially after 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,' which seemed both dissonant and self-indulgent to me a keep-your-distance slap in the face at their fans but this live set is just about right, swinging between tender and angry. Best cut? Maybe Handshake Drugs, probably At Least That's What You Said."

Gretchen Wilson

Released: 2005

"Best country album of the year, hands down. I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today is beautiful and old-school, but the one I keep coming back to is Skoal Ring. The subject is ridiculous, but those sweet harmonies are total Opry." Wilsons's website offers no downloads but plays songs from the album and allows visitors to watch at least one music video. To listen or watch, just follow the link below.
Click here

James McMurtry

Released: 2005

"The cut that people talk about is We Can't Make It Here, but what amazes me is the narrative brilliance of songs like Memorial Day and Holiday. Like Dylan's early tales, McMurtry's songs bear repeated listenings." McMurtry has one song from the album available for free download; see |- Singles -| for more.


Released: 2005

"An apt enough title, when you consider that this is probably the best rock band in America that nobody knows. Am I being an elitist here, trying to one-up my audience? Nope. Marah is great in the scat, bop, and jive way Springsteen was great on 'The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.' One listen to songs like The Closer and Fat Boy on this amazing record and I think you'll agree. These guys are either the American U2 or close enough for government work." Marah's website has one downloadable track and lyrics for the album, just follow the link below.
Click here

|- Singles -|

Fall Out Boy

Released: 2005

"Sweet-heavy pop that sounds like a lost track from American Idiot." By all accounts, one of the year's most popular songs. The song has been included as a track in the pop-punk album 'From Under the Cork Tree' on Island Records.

Song By: ?

The Black-Eyed Peas

Released: 2005

"Stupid and juvenile? So what's your point?" This song was also a very popular play for the 2005 year. The track was included on their recent A&M Records album 'Monkey Business,' which was described as a mixture of hip-hop, rock, folk, funk, and pop.

Song By: ?

Bright Eyes

Released: 2005

"Maybe the saddest song of the year, but gorgeous in its spare misery, and imagery." The song was originally included in a 2004 sampler album from Saddle Creek Records, titled One Foot In Front of the Other, but was not a duet. It was re-released last year on the Bright Eyes album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning with EmmyLou Harris sharing vocals and has been widely hailed as his best to date. It is the later version Mr. King references.

Song By: ?

Shooter Jennings

Released: 2005

"The perfect evocation of America's holiday, and maybe the best fusion yet of rock and country, by Waylon Jennings' son...a chip off the outlaw block, by the look and sound of him." This song was part of Shooter's debut album 'Put the O Back In Country' from Universal South Records.

Song By: ?

Flogging Molly

Released: 2002

"A couple of years old, but I never caught up with it until this fall. This is a total Irish rave-up. Try to listen and stay sitting down." The song was recorded as part of the 'Drunken Lullabies' album released under the label Side One Dummy.

Song By: ?

Bruce Springsteen

Released: 2005

"'Devils & Dust' may not have been the Boss' finest hour, but there's never been a better celebration of 'Oh God, tonight I'm gonna get lucky.'" It was released by Columbia Records in DualDisc format, one side containing the full album on CD and the other side with DVD content featuring the first live performances of 'Devils & Dust' material.

Song By: Bruce Springsteen

James McMurtry

Released: 2005

"This is how America appears when you're looking up from the bottom, and every word rings true." This song is available as a free download from McMurtry's label, Compadre Records, by following the link below.
Click here

Song By: James McMurtry


Released: 2005

"In the end, the best songs defy explanation or analysis. I played this one over and over in 2005 on my computer, on my stereo, and in my truck. I never understood it, never got tired of it, and never failed to get a chill at the line 'I summon you here, my love.' For me, that was the summer of '05. We should all have someone to summon us once in a while, I guess." This song is available to hear or download free from Spoon's website, just follow the link below and click "Bonus" on the Spoon navigation bar.
Click here

Song By: ?


"Those are my picks for the year's best. I guess they won't put me on the cover of Rolling Stone, huh?"


For more music information, visit the Music From Air America page linked below.

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