“Galway Bay” is a song by Bing Crosby, and it can be found on his 1954 album, Bing: A Musical Autobiography. This song was one of Thompson’s favorites as a teenager, and he listened to Bing Crosby a lot while he was young.
“New Speedway Boogie” is a song by the Grateful Dead, off of their 1970 album, Workingman’s Dead. He mentioned this album in a letter to his editors at Rolling Stone in 1970. Thompson mentions taking a liking to it in his novel, Fear and Loathing in America, stating it as “the heaviest thing since Highway 61 or ‘Mr. Tambourine Man.’” He also said, “if the Grateful Dead came to town, I’d beat my way in with a f***ing tire iron, if necessary.” Of the song, he said, “It says more than anything I’ve read in five years.”
Sketches of Spain is an album by Miles Davis and Gil Evans, released in 1960. Under his pseudonym “Raoul Duke,” he mentions this album in a letter to his editors at Rolling Stone in 1970.
“Spirit in the Sky” is a song by Norman Greenbaum, off of his 1969 album of the same name. This was one of the songs played at Thompson’s memorial, in which his ashes were shot out of a cannon.
“Dancing the Night Away” is a song by country/rock group Amazing Rhythm Aces, off of their 1976 album, Too Stuffed to Jump. Thompson mentions it in his novel, Fear and Loathing in America. Also mentioned in this novel are songs like “Bad ‘n’ Ruin” by Faces (written by Rod Stewart,) off of their 1971 album, Long Player, “Country Song” by The Original Caste, off of their 1970 album, One Tin Soldier, and Eric Von Schmidt’s 1969 album, Who Knocked the Brains Out of the Sky?
“One Toke Over the Line” is a song by Brewer & Shipley, off of their 1970 album, Tarkio. The song is mentioned in Thompson’s novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, while in Fear and Loathing in America, Thompson wrote that he listened to this song while he wrote the former novel. The song was also featured in the film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Inventions is the 1965 album from folk artist Sandy Bull. Thompson mentions it in a 1970 letter to his editors at Rolling Stone.
Let it Bleed is the 1969 album from The Rolling Stones. Thompson listened to this album while writing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Springfield is the name of the 1966 album by Buffalo Springfield. Thompson mentions this album in a letter in 1970 to his editors at Rolling Stone. This letter was written under his pseudonym, “Raoul Duke.”
“Carmelita” is a song by Warren Zevon, off of his 1976 self-titled album. The song is mentioned in a love letter Thompson wrote to his future wife, Anita. Also, Zevon’s song “The Hula Hula Boys,” off of his 1982 album, The Envoy, was mentioned in Thompson’s novel, The Curse of Lono. Thompson was not only a fan of Zevon’s; the two were friends. Said writer Carl Hiaasen, “Warren was close to Thompson, and their work shared a certain twisted energy.”
“Battle Hymn of The Republic” is a song by Herbie Mann, off of his 1969 album, Memphis Underground. Thompson used the song in his campaign when he tried running for sheriff in 1970. The album is also mentioned by Thompson in his novel, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.
Surrealistic Pillow is the 1967 album by Jefferson Airplane. The album was mentioned in a letter to Thompson’s editors at Rolling Stone in 1970, while Thompson said of the album, “upon hearing the first note, I smiled. This was the triumph of the San Francisco people. We were all making it, riding a magical wave which we didn’t think would break.” In particular, Thompson liked the song “White Rabbit”; he mentions it in Fear and Loathing in America as the song he would listen to whenever he took mescaline. At an infamous club called The Matrix, Thompson watched Grace Slick perform before Jefferson Airplane was even on the map. Supposedly, Thompson called Ralph Gleason and informed him of this great band; Gleason would become known for making Jefferson Airplane popular. The song also makes an appearance in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in which Dr. Gonzo says of the song, “Let it roll!…Just as high as the f***er can go! And when it comes to that fantastic bit where the rabbit bites its own head off, I want you to throw that f***in radio into the tub with me.”
If you’re at all a Thompson fan, you should know how much he loved Bob Dylan. The 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited is mentioned in a letter to his magazine in 1970, under the pseudonym “RaoulDuke.” In Fear and Loathing in America, he wrote, “I’ve been arguing for years now that music is the New Literature, that Dylan is the 1960s’ answer to Hemingway.” He also wrote, “Dylan is a goddamn phenomenon, pure gold and as mean as a snake,” and “Bobby Dylan is the purest, most intelligent voice of our time…nobody else has a body of work over twenty years as clear and intelligent…He always speaks for the time…Let’s see…I just got the new Bob Dylan box set from the Rolling Thunder tour from 1975…It’s kind of a big package with a book and several CDs in there…It’s maybe the best rock and roll album I’ve ever heard.” Thompson also loved Dylan’s 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home; in particular, he absolutely loved the song “Mr. Tambourine Man.” People have said Thompson would listen to this track before and while he wrote, while he even dedicated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to “Bob Dylan, for Mister Tambourine Man.” He even chose this song to be played at his funeral. In Fear and Loathing in America, he described the song as “both an epitaph and a swan-song for the ‘hippy phenomenon.’”