As lead vocalist and lyricist of Guns N’ Roses – and the band’s only constant member since its 1985 inception – Axl Rose is widely considered to be one of the greatest singers of all time. A brash embodiment of ’80s rockstar decadence, the heavy metal legend took a lengthy hiatus before coming back with the much-anticipated Chinese Democracy album.
The 2008 release featured a track called “Catcher in the Rye,” which Rose wrote after watching a documentary on John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman. In a fan forum Q&A, he described the literary inspiration behind the song:
“It started as fascination and curiosity with Holden Caufield Syndrome and what was or could possibly be in the book that obviously certain vulnerable people have seemed to become so passionate about and resort to outrageous public attempts or acts of violence.”
Besides the nod to Salinger, Rose was also asked to name his five favorite books. From Stephen King to Mary Shelley, find his reading list below. Complement with the bookshelves of hard rock icons Henry Rollins, Kurt Cobain, Lenny Kravitz, Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine.
The Stand by Stephen King
A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
James Dean: The Mutant King by David Dalton
Zodiac by Neal Stephenson