‘A person’s musical taste says a lot about them… If you are new to the Rebus books you can ascertain his age, class and personality from his listening choices’
A frustrated rock star himself, Ian Rankin includes a great deal of music in the Inspector Rebus novels. Leonard Cohen, the Rolling Stones, Alex Harvey, Deacon Blue and many other bands and musicians make appearances in the books and even Ian’s new wave band from University days, The Dancing Pigs, have a brief cameo in Black & Blue. Ian uses music to give us insights into Rebus’s character: Leonard Cohen or Muddy Waters, for instance, suit the moody, introspective side of the Inspector while mid-period Stones indicates that Rebus is working class, thinks he’s a rebel and is probably in his fifties.
So which music is Rebus’s choice and which is Rankin’s? The two men don’t share exact musical tastes, being a generation apart, so Ian uses the musical preference of the younger Siobhan Clarke to give space to bands not quite to the Inspector’s liking – particularly Scottish bands more likely to feature in the Rankin CD collection. Siobhan’s bands of choice (and therefore Rankin’s) would include the Cocteau Twins and Belle and Sebastian rather than Van Morrison and Jethro Tull. The Inspector leans towards musicians who, like him, are survivors. As someone once said, the only living creatures to survive a nuclear war would be some scorpions… and Keith Richards.
The Rankin and Rebus Top Tens
Ian Rankin’s Top 10
Double Barrell: Dave and Ansil Collins
Inspector Rebus’s Top 10
Paint it Black: The Rolling Stones
Click here to hear the Rebus and Rankin playlists