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Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger 1919-2010

In honor of J.D. Salinger, who passed away yesterday at the age of 91, Classics Rock! is reprising our post from June 5, 2009--a roundup of songs about The Catcher in the Rye:

Green Day's Who Wrote Holden Caulfield? from their 1992 album Kerplunk, is named for the novel's protagonist. Apparently the book is a favorite of the band's lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong.

In answer to Green Day's query, Screeching Weasel released I Wrote Holden Caulfield on their 1994 album How to Make Enemies and Irritate People. The song includes the suit-provoking lines: I wonder if you'll ever come to realize what I always knew/I wrote Holden Caulfield and so did you.

The definitive statement on the question of authorship comes from the Shy Guys 2006 album Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, with their song J.D. Salinger Wrote Holden Caulfield.

The Guns 'N' Roses song "The Catcher in the Rye" appears on their Chinese Democracy album from 2008. It seems to have as much to do with John Lennon's murder as with Salinger's novel--Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman, had a copy of The Catcher in the Rye in his possession when he was apprehended.

William Holden Caulfield, from Too Much Joy's 2005 album From All of Us to Both of You, includes the lyrics: I'm afraid of people who like Catcher in the Rye/Yeah I like it too but someone tell me why/People he'd despise say I feel like that guy.

Bodi Bill expresses a sentiment we can all get behind in their song I Like Holden Caulfield.

There are also songs called Holden Caulfield from a variety of artists, including Tom Freund, Stefan Couture and the Campfire Orchestra, Harris Eisenstadt, Paul Kotheimer, and the Green Pajamas.

Songs with the title Catcher in the Rye have been recorded by a number of artists as well.


  1. You should also mention the band Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories http://fmp.fm/8d and the Wynona Rider's album called "J. D. Salinger" http://fmp.fm/8c.

  2. Old 97's have a song called "Rollerskate Skinny," which is, I believe, Holden's description of his sister.

  3. Chris and Michial, thank you both for these leads. Michial, you're right--I found the passage you refer to: "She's quite skinny, like me, but nice skinny. Roller-skate skinny. I watched her once from the window when she was crossing over Fifth Avenue to go to the park, and that's what she is, roller-skate skinny." I also found an Irish band called Rollerskate Skinny.

  4. There is also the Ride song "Polar Bear" that refers to the story Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters in the lyrics.

  5. Not to mention the We Are Scientists album "With Love and Squalor."

  6. There's also a delightful Chicago-based band called Raise High the Roof Beam.


  7. Pre-My Chemical Romance, the rhythm guitarist was in a band called Pencey Prep. They had a song called The Secret Goldfish.

  8. The Cure's 1984 album The Top has a song entitled Bananafishbones

  9. And of course there was a great band called the Caulfields!

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  11. Unconfirmed- song by Sordid Humor- Ben and Mary; Anyone know this to be JDS inspired?