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    Kerouac wrote in Desolation Angels, “The only truth is music….Music blends with the heartbeat universe and we forget the brain beat.”

    The Cactus Bar, 1844 18th Avenue South in St Petersburg, FL where Kerouac got into a serious fight three weeks before his death may have precipitated his abdominal hemorrhage. That plus 30 years of heavy drinking...

    Music was very important to Kerouac. In New York, he was always the first to have the latest recordings and the last to leave any jazz club he was at. He frequently talked about the importance of rhythm and flow in his music and felt that how the sentence or paragraph moved was as important as the words within. Musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dave Brubeck and George Shearing inspired Kerouac with their music and spirit of improvisation.

    Kerouac was known to frequent music venues in St. Pete such as The Manhattan Casino and The Cactus Club, despite some locations being segregated, in a quest to sate his appetite for music which has played a unique role as a unifying force in society. Despite our differences music serves as a reminder of what we have in common and can bring us together in celebration of our shared humanity. 

    Several bands and musicians claim Kerouac as inspirational to their lives such as Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison and Patti Smith. Songs by The Grateful Dead, The 10,000 Maniacs, and Billy Joel reference Kerouac. Nirvana front man Kurt Kobain had a list of favorite books heavily influenced by writers of the Beat Generation.

    Click here to watch a rare video of Kerouac reading his work along with jazz piano played by Steve Allen on his show The Steve Allen Show, a precursor to The Late Show, in 1959. The pair made an album together called Jack Kerouac & Steve Allen Poetry For The Beat Generation.

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