Fiction authors who are also lyricists

Over in this thread, it’s mentioned that children’s author Shel Silverstein also wrote many hit songs. It got me to thinking about people who can write both fiction and song lyrics.

One obvious person is John Lennon.

One of my absolute favorites, unknown to most Yanks, is Ben Elton, who wrote a book called Blast From the Past, as did author/songwriter Kinky Friedman.

Who else writes both lyrics and fiction?

Well, Ben Folds’ new album Lonely Avenue is a collaboration between him and Nick Hornby, who wrote all of the lyrics. I’ve listened to several of the songs so far and they’re quite good. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what you had in mind.

Please note that I said FICTION. Many lyricists have published non-fiction. Tim Rice is an expert in both rock music and cricket.

Uh, Nick Hornby is a fiction author.

Oh…Okay then. Yes, he qualifies.

Odd that I just thought of the late, great Richard Farina, who died soon after having his first novel published, and also wrote and sang some great songs with his wife Mimi Baez (younger sister of Joan). A genius gone too soon.

I believe Michael Moorcock the fantasy author wrote some of Hawkwinds lyrics.

Neil Gaiman writes lyrics (and music), and contributed some lines (uncredited) to Alice Cooper’s The Last Temptation album.

Mercedes Lackey; some of her books even have lyrics in an appendix.

Roberta Rogow has had small press novels published, and is also an active filker, writing her own songs and lyrics.

David M. Honigsberg wrote and published short fiction, and also wrote and performed music professionally.

I can’t believe nobody has mentioned the GREATEST of them all: P.G. Wodehouse, who regularly wrote lyrics for Jerome Kern, when he wasn’t writing hilarious stories about Bertie Wooster and Jeeves.

Oh, and author/playwright William Saroyan wrote lyrics for some of his cousin David (Ross Bagdassarian) Seville’s pop/novelty songs, like "Come Onna My House.

What about all the lyricists+authors whose work was set to music at a later date? If they are game, open a book about German poetry at random, and you’ve found another one.

Carl Hiassen co-wrote Seminole Bingo and Rottweiler Blues with Warren Zevon.

Not just Hawkwind, but also Blue Öyster Cult (3 songs, and 2 of them are among the best BÖC songs recorded: Black Blade and Veteran Of The Psychic Wars (this song still gives me chills, and I’ve been listening to it for 30 years now)). He also had his own band back in the 1970s (Michael Moorcock and The Big Fix) where he sang and played guitar and mandolin.

Bob Dylan

Has Silverstein written stories in prose? The only Shel Silverstein books that I know are all poetry- not a far leap from lyrics.

Michael Nesmith has written two novels: The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora and The America Gene

I read The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora but not The America Gene, which is not available in traditional book form. From what I understand (and I haven’t delved too deeply) when you get the digital “book” there are several points throughout the story where you can choose on your own whether to follow links to pages of more detail on a particular point, or background information, or tangentally related supporting material- the idea that each reader creates their own reading experience. Sounds interesting, though I don’t know how accurate my understanding of it is, as I said, I haven’t checked it out yet.

Fellow fantasy author Emma Bull has also written some lyrics, though more often she has sung Neil Gaiman’s and/or provided the music as half of due The Flash Girls.

Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Geri Halliwell have all written childrens books, but with them it’s very much a case of “Singers/lyricists who are also fiction authors, on the side, like once or twice, years ago” (although Madonna’s series eventually expanded to something like twelve books).

SF author John Shirley – one of the leading lights of the cyberpunk movement – wrote songs and lyrics for Blue Oyster Cult, especially on their album Heaven Forbid

Nick Cave (of The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds, and Grinderman) has written fiction, but this may again be a case of “lyricist writes books” rather than the other way around. However, these aren’t kids books, they’re full-on novels.