On the Road


On the Road has been an influence on various poets, writers, actors and musicians, including Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Jim Morrison, and Hunter S. Thompson.

From journalist Sean O'Hagan, in a 2007 article published in The Guardian:

" 'It changed my life like it changed everyone else's,' Dylan would say many years later. Tom Waits, too, acknowledged its influence, hymning Jack and Neal in a song and calling the Beats "father figures." At least two great American photographers were influenced by Kerouac: Robert Frank, who became his close friend—Kerouac wrote the introduction to Franks' book, The Americans—and Stephen Shore, who set out on an American road trip in the 1970s with Kerouac's book as a guide. It would be hard to imagine Hunter S. Thompson's road novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas had On the Road not laid down the template; likewise, films such as Easy Rider, Paris, Texas, and even Thelma and Louise. "[26]

In his book Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors, Ray Manzarek (keyboard player of The Doors) wrote "I suppose if Jack Kerouac had never written On the Road, The Doors would never have existed."

In the 2013 memoir Buck by M. K. Asante, Asante cites On the Road, which he read in high school, as a significant factor in his decision to become a writer. He writes: "I didn't just read On the Road, I understood it, related to Sal and Dean's journey, what they were felling, their quest for freedom and dream chasing."

On the Road influenced an entire generation of musicians, poets, and writers including Allen Ginsberg. Because of Ginsberg’s friendship with Kerouac, Ginsberg was written into the novel through the character Carlo Marx. Ginsberg recalled that he was attracted to the beat generation, and Kerouac, because the beats valued “detachment from the existing society,” while at the same time calling for an immediate release from a culture in which the most "freely" accessible items--bodies and ideas--seemed restricted (1). Ginsberg incorporated a sense of freedom of prose and style into his poetry as a result of the influence of Kerouac (1).[27]

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