‘Ready Player One’ Playlist: Songs From The Novel


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Ready Player One Playlist
The novel certainly immersed us in the future while giving a strong nod to nostalgia, but will the movie do the same? (Image from Warner Bros. Pictures)

As I write this we are just a few weeks away from the premier of Ready Player One and I just hope the movie can project the same nostalgic “awesomeness” that the novel was able deliver while at the same time giving us a taste of what immersive technologies could potentially be like for us in the future. But why wait until the movie comes out to enjoy the 80’s? Every fan of the book needs a Ready Player One playlist! I don’t have any spoilers in this article so feel free to read it through to the end and enjoy some great (and a few maybe not so great) songs from the 80’s.

This effort started when I recently re-read the Ready Player One novel (the paperback version) and took note of all of instances of songs and artists that are mentioned in the book. I then created my own playlist on Apple Music of all of the songs I could find that were mentioned in the novel. I know that not everyone subscribes to Apple Music, so in addition to just sharing a link to my Apple Music Playlist (which I have shared publicly), I have also created a list of each song mentioned in the book and provided you a link to each track in iTunes. If you get your music from Amazon or from Google or another streaming service like Spotify then at the very least the tabular list I have below will help you make sure you capture all of the songs within your music service of choice. If you create a playlist in another service and want to share it let me know and I’ll add it to this article.

Ready Player One Playlist
If you have every used a good set of virtual reality gear you know what it feels like to be immersed like Wade is in this image (Image from Warner Bros. Pictures)

Let’s start with a short list first, which is the artists/bands that are mentioned throughout the novel:

  • The Police (p.63)
  • Journey (p.63)
  • R.E.M. (p.63)
  • The Clash (p.63)
  • They Might Be Giants (p.63)
  • Devo (p.63)
  • Van Halen (p.63)
  • Bon Jovi (p.63)
  • Def Leppard (p.63)
  • Pink Floyd (p.63)
  • Midnight Oil (p.63)
  • Rush (p.104, p.259)
  • Falco (p.200)

Now it’s time to for the fun part, which is to take a specific look at the songs that are either mentioned or play an important role in the book. There are a few things about my playlist that I need to point out. First, there are a few songs that I couldn’t find. “Video Fever” by The Beepers was not available for purchase or to stream through Apple so it is missing from my actual playlist. I was, however, able to find a YouTube video of the clip from the movie that is referenced in the book. The song “Video Fever” is playing in the background of this scene. I’m not mentioning the movie here in the article because I promised no spoilers, so click on this link if you don’t mind knowing that this movie and this clip plays an important part in novel (and I sure hope the movie too).

The next song I ran into trouble with was the original score from the movie Conan The Barbarian. The original motion picture soundtrack from the movie was not available in iTunes, but I was able to find a version of the main theme song I liked, so that is what is in my playlist. If your music service of choice has the original or a version you like better, then by all means make a change.

This one makes me really sad. “James Brown Is Dead” by L.A. Style was not available on Apple Music. There are a lot of other mixes of this song that are available, but in this case there is nothing quite like the original. I’ve included the following link to a YouTube video of the music video for this mix of the song for your enjoyment.

Ready Player One Playlist
You will notice that Tom Sawyer by Rush is playing at the point shown in the image above in the movie trailer but it’s not in my playlist because it wasn’t specifically called out in the novel (Image from Warner Bros. Pictures)

The next song that gave me a bit of problems was “A Million Miles Away” by the Plimsouls. Originally I was able to add this to my playlist but recently the song won’t play. It still shows up when you search Apple Music but you are no longer able to download the song into your local library or play it from a custom playlist. I suspect the licensing for this song has recently changed so I have added a live version of the to the playlist instead.

Speaking of licensing, there has been a recent licensing change that actually worked in our favor and that is that Def Leppard has finally negotiated streaming rights for its music collection. That means that we can now stream or purchase the original version of “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”

The last non-spoiler item I have to mention is that watching the music video of “Subdivisions” by Rush is a must. Once you read the book (or watch the movie when it’s released) there is something that is shown towards the very end of the music video that plays a key part in the novel. Again no spoilers so you will have to figure out the reference for yourself.

For those of you that use Apple Music here is a link my playlist above in Apple Music.

I have also created a much longer playlist of songs that include tracks from movie soundtracks or artists that weren’t specifically called out in the novel but mentioned in passing. So I made a playlist of my favorite songs from these artists and movies. I hope to share that with you in a future article, so for now enjoy my Ready Player One playlist!

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