Musicians Turned Literary Authors

Animated celebrity and noted philosopher Homer Simpson once mused, “Rock stars. Is there anything they don’t know?” Although many musicians parlay their stage success onto the printed page with memoirs, few make the foray into fiction. Last week, news broke that Bob Dylan signed a six-book deal, set to include two follow up volumes to his 2004 autobiography Chronicles as well as three other books of undetermined content. Dylan crossed over early in his career with the experimental novel/stream-of-consciousness liner notes/poem Tarantula in 1966, placing him among a small group of musical chameleons who — like their academia-inclined and thespian colleagues — have jumped artistic genres. While we wait to see if Tarantula 2 is among Dylan’s new literary offerings, here’s a list of stand-out works of fiction by other rock stars. Missed your favorite? Let us know in the comments section.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

As the ship’s captain at the helm of the Decemberists, Colin Meloy is best known for writing songs about whales and other esoterica. But for his first literary foray, he’ll publish a series of books aimed at a young adult audience. Wildwood, which will debut in the fall, is a collaboration between Meloy and his illustrator wife, Carson Ellis, whose art adorns the covers of several Decemberists records. Last year, Meloy told NPR the books were “a classic tale of adventure, magic, and danger, set in an alternate version of modern-day Portland, Oregon.” Isn’t that what Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are up to on the IFC Channel?