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1. John Martyn – I’d Rather Be The Devil 2. BB King – The Thrill is Gone 3. Nazareth – Love Hurts 4. Frank Miller – Caledonia 5. Rolling Stones – Tumbling Dice 6. Motörhead – Ace of Spades 7. Anne Briggs – She Moves Through the Fair 8. Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Tomahawk Kid 9. The Shadows – FBI 10. Johnny Kidd and The Pirates – Casting My Spell 11. Van Morrison – Educating Archie
John Martyn – I’d Rather Be The Devil.
This, surprise surprise, is where I got the title for my latest novel. I’ve been a fan of John Martyn since my teens. A great voice and an amazing guitarist. I decided to lose the word ‘I’d’ for the title of my book because I wanted the reader to wonder exactly who would rather be the devil – maybe we all do at some points in our lives.
B B King – The Thrill Is Gone.
Rebus is obsessed with an unsolved murder that took place in October 1978. When he goes digging through newspapers from that mont, he discovers that B B King played a concert in Edinburgh around the same time. As good an excuse as any to listen to the King.
Nazareth – Love Hurts.
Okay, I’m cheating a little here. Nazareth don’t merit a mention in the book. But thinking back to 1978, this is one band Rebus would have been listening to. Two reasons: he likes his rock raw and bluesy, and the band hail from the same part of Fife as him (and his creator).
Frankie Miller – Caledonia.
Another artist Rebus would have been putting on the record deck in 1978. And indeed would still be listening to in his sleepless nights, brooding in his living-room with the lights dimmed and a good malt for company.
Rolling Stones – Tumbling Dice.
Gambling plays a role in Rather Be The Devil, which gives me the excuse to include this Jagger/Richards classic. The Stones are probably Rebus’s favourite group. He would have bought Exile on Main Street the day it came out, a few years before I got into the band.
Motörhead – Ace of Spades.
There’s a nightclub in Rather Be The Devil called The Devil’s Dram. It plays a lot of heavy metal, and I’m guessing Lemmy and his merry band would be on the nightly playlist. Rebus’s ex-colleague Siobhan Clarke goes there for a night out, probably on the strength of the cheap drinks rather than the tunes.
Anne Briggs – She Moves Through the Fair.
There is a cop in the novel with the same name as this folk singer, and Rebus points out that he owns at least one album by Anne Briggs. This classic tune would feature.
Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Tomahawk Kid.
Another nightspot in the novel is called The Tomahawk Club. When I named it I was thinking of this song by SAHB. One of the best gigs I ever attended as a teenager was headlined by SAHB. They almost certainly played this number. They were a helluva group in their prime.
The Shadows – FBI.
I’d be giving away a plot point if I explained here the role The Shadows (and Hank Marvin) play in Rather Be The Devil – you’ll have to read the book! As for my choice of song, well, with a title like that…
Johnny Kidd and The Pirates – Casting My Spell.
There’s a bar in the book called The Pirate. It’s called that, so the story goes, because it was once owned by a man called Johnny Kydd. I’m guilty as sin of trying to put as many musical references and jokes into my books as I can. Why else would Siobhan Clarke’s boss be called James Page…?
Van Morrison – Educating Archie.
This is from one of Van’s recent albums. I won’t say too much about it, but it’s an angry song about commerce, banking, the whole grim system. And money is at the root of Rather Be The Devil’s plot in all sorts of ways…
Rather Be The Devil – Ian Rankin
Some cases never leave you. For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand still preys on his mind.
Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria’s killer has never been found.
Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position.
Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?
In a tale of twisted power, deep-rooted corruption and bitter rivalries, Rather Be the Devil showcases Rankin and Rebus at their unstoppable best.