A Musical Overview of Bret Easton Ellis’ Oeuvre

Though cross-pollination between books and music is an age-old trend, cult novelist Bret Easton Ellis fills his books with more music references than anyone else we can think of, and his works are inextricably woven into the pop culture they portray — partially because it seems like every time Ellis makes a music reference in a novel, a band is making an Ellis reference in a song. Today is Ellis’ birthday, and to celebrate, we’ve put together a master list of music mentioned throughout his entire oeuvre, complete with streaming playlists so you can fill your day with a BEE soundtrack. We had some help from the official source, but finding that insufficient, went through ourselves and picked out some more of our favorite musical moments and shout-outs throughout the novels. Of course we haven’t managed to scrape together every last reference, but you need a hump day project, right? Click through to listen to the music from Bret Easton Ellis’ entire oeuvre, and have yourself a very ’80s Wednesday.

Less Than Zero (1985)

The bible of disaffected youth, this novel (like so many of Ellis’ works) is full of laconic ’80s song references — it’s even named after an Elvis Costello song. Bret Easton Ellis never gets sick of Elvis Costello. And why would he?

“New Kid In Town” — The Eagles
“Crimson & Clover” — Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
“In The Sun” — Blondie
“I Love L.A.” — Randy Newman
“Hungry Like A Wolf” — Duran Duran
“Somebody Got Murdered” — The Clash
“Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” — Culture Club
“Straight Into Darkness” — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
“LA Woman” — The Doors
“Los Angeles” — X
“Earthquake Song” — The Little Girls
“Sex and Dying in High Society” — X
“Stairway to Heaven” — Led Zeppelin

“Less Than Zero” –- Elvis Costello
“Song For Clay” — Bloc Party

Stream the playlist here.