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Friday, February 5, 2010

Salinger Feedback: Bananafishbones/The Cure, and More

In response to last week's re-posting of our Catcher in the Rye song list, a number of readers weighed in with additional musical references to author J.D. Salinger, who died on January 27th.  Most of them bend our Ground Rules, but they're fun anyway.

JustinBoston reminded us that The Cure's 1984 album The Top features a song called Bananafishbones. Robert Smith, the band's primary songwriter, confirmed the song's connection to Salinger's story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish," from his collection Nine Stories, in an issue of the fanzine Cure News: "the title, for some no-reason, from 'a perfect day for bananafish' - a short story by j d salinger .. again me hating myself..." [Capitalization and punctuation courtesy of Mr. Smith and Cure News].

Vanessa Wieland wrote to say "Pre-My Chemical Romance, the rhythm guitarist was in a band called Pencey Prep.  They had a song called The Secret Goldfish."  The guitarist in question is Frank Iero.  The name of the band and the name of the song both derive from The Catcher in the Rye.  Pencey Prep is the fictional school from which Holden Caulfield is expelled; and "The Secret Goldfish" is the title of a short story referred to in the novel, written by Holden's brother D.B.  The song appears on the band's 2001 album Heartbreak in Stereo.

Anonymous pointed out that the 2005 debut album from We Are Scientists is called With Love and Squalor--a reference to Salinger's story "For Esmé with Love and Squalor," available in the Nine Stories collection.

thevoiceofenergy points out that a song called Polar Bear, from Ride's 1990 album Nowhere, mentions Salinger's Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters. The same story lent its name to "a delightful Chicago-based band," according to Adam.

Michial recalled a song by the Old 97's called Rollerskate Skinny, from the 2001 album Satellite Rides. The song's title comes from Holden Caulfield's description of his sister, Phoebe, in The Catcher in the Rye: "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."

Chris Kubica called attention to the name of Lisa Loeb's band--Nine Stories--and to an album by the Winona Ryders called J.D. Salinger.

Finally, Paul Wilner suggested a song called "My Foolish Heart," from the 1949 film of the same name--the only film to date to be based on Salinger's writing (it was adapted from his story "Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut," another selection from Nine Stories).  The song was nominated for an Academy Award and has been recorded by many artists; Paul favors Bill Evans' version.


  1. "Rollerskate Skinny" by the Old 97's is from their excellent 2001 album Satellite Rides. It also appears on Alive & Wired, a live album from 2005.

  2. Anonymous--that's what I get for doing this late at night. This has been amended above--thanks for the correction.