William S. Burroughs Was A “Rock Star” To “Rock Stars”

William Burroughs was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist and spoken word performer.  A primary figure of the Beat Generation, he is considered to be “one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century.”  In the music industry he is a cultural legend, having influenced several generations musicians.  He is on the album cover of The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“, he is in the video for the U2 song “Last Night on Earth“, he released a collaboration with Kurt Cobain and his writings even inspired the band name Steely Dan.

His cult like status in the music industry is evident in these photos of Burroughs with some of the musicians he has inspired.  Remember, these musicians wanted to meet him, not the other way around…

Frank Zappa

William Buroughs Frank Zappa Musicians

Mick Jagger 

Wiliiam Burroughs & Musicians Mick Jagger Rolling Stones

 Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page Led Zeppelin WIlliam S. Burroughs 1975

Jimmy Page WIlliam S. Burroughs Led Zeppelin Rock Stars

David Bowie

David Bowie William S. Burroughs Musicians

Deborah Harry

Deborah Harry Debbie William S. Burroughs Blondie Music

Joe Strummer

William S. Burroughs Joe Strummer The Clash Musicians


William S. Burroughs Madonna Musicians

Tom Waits

Tom Waits William S. Burroughs Musicians

Patti Smith

Patti Smith William S. Burroughs Musicians

Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) & Michael Stipe

William S. Burroughs Michael Stipe Kim Gordon Music

Kurt Cobain

And finally Kurt Cobain, who even collaborated with his idol Burroughs on a lengthy 9:42 song titled The “Priest” They Called Him (1992) in which Cobain provided a distorted guitar backing track behind Burroughs spoken word.  The two did not meet in person during the collaboration but they did meet a year later at Burroughs home in Lawrence, Kansas in October of 1993.

Kurt Cobain WIlliam S. Burroughs 1993 Meeting

Kurt Cobain WIlliam S. Burroughs Meeting 1993

As Kurt drove away, Burroughs remarked to his assistant,

“There’s something wrong with that boy; he frowns for no good reason.”

The “Priest” They Called Him (1992)

William S. Burroughs died on August 2, 1997 but he left an infinite amount of material to the future generations.

Steely Dan Band Name Inspired From A “Strap-On Dildo” In Williams S. Burroughs “Naked Lunch”


  1. spent bullets says:

    don't forget about Ministry: wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_One_Fix

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