As a staff member for Rolling Stone, it's no surprise that Hunter S. Thompson's music tastes were vast and varied. He often listened to music while he wrote, but writing his most famous work ”” Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ”” he listened to the Rolling Stones album Let it Bleed.
Although Einstein studied the violin from a young age (and never traveled without his beloved violin "Lina"), he didn't truly fall in love with music until he discovered the music of Mozart at age 13. Einstein wrote often in his journals about Mozart's music, saying it "was so pure that it seemed to have been ever-present in the universe, waiting to be discovered by the master."
While on a lecture tour in 1869, Mark Twain crossed paths with a musician named Thomas Wiggins (although he went by the name "Blind Tom.") Wiggins was a blind and possibly autistic former slave who played the piano and completely enthralled Mark Twain. So much so, that Twain attended Wiggins' concert three nights in a row. After that, Mark Twain spoke and wrote often about the musician, saying that he never missed a chance to hear the man perform.
The Colombian author (along with most of the rest of the world) was a huge Beatles fan from the moment he first consciously heard one of their songs in Mexico in 1963. After that moment, he realized that the world was "contaminated" with the Fab Four. In Heriberto Fiorillo's documentary La cueva itinerante o García Márquez y su grupo de Barranquilla, Márquez states that while writing 100 Years of Solitude, he completely wore out Beatles records.
Einstein wasn't the only famous fan of Mozart. Haydn was already a household name by the time Mozart began rising to fame. In fact, Haydn was in some ways a mentor to the younger Mozart. However, he felt that Mozart was actually very much his superior. Haydn even made the following remark to Mozart's father Leopold:
"Before God and as an honest man I tell you that your son is the greatest composer known to me either in person or by name; he has taste, and, furthermore, the most profound knowledge of composition."
But this musical bromance wasn't completely one-sided! Mozart was also a huge fan of Haydn's. He dedicated a series of quartets to his friend and mentor, an unusual act in a time when most dedications were made to aristocrats. At one private party where Haydn's music was being performed, another musician stood next to Mozart and complained about the music, saying at one point "I wouldn't have done that." Upon hearing his friend's work criticized, Mozart replied: "Neither would I but do you know why? Because neither of us could have thought of anything so appropriate."
According to an interview with Bukowski's widow Linda, Charles was a big fan of both Mahler and Shostakovich, but was especially fond of the Finnish composer Sibelius. It was a common occurrence for him to go up to his upstairs studio with a bottle of red wine and play classical music while he wrote.
Wagner is mentioned several times in Van Gogh's letters to friends and his brother. At one point he exclaims about the composer: "What an artist! A man like him in painting would be quite something." Vincent and his brother Theo attended a number of performances of Wagner's music, and Theo wrote that they both enjoyed them very much.
Abraham Lincoln was a fan of many styles of music from opera to traditional folk hymns (the song "Dixie" was a particular favorite). Lincoln especially enjoyed the sentimental ballads of Stephen Foster, who is known today as the father of American music. Foster wrote over 200 songs, including "Oh! Susanna," "Camptown Races" and "My Old Kentucky Home."
The song "Blue Skies" as performed by Frank Sinatra was one of JFK's all-time favorite songs. In fact, Kennedy aides would eventually describe clear blue skies as "Kennedy weather," because of its positive effect on him. Kennedy often played Sinatra records at the White House, and even tried to intervene when Ol' Blue Eyes' casino license was revoked in 1963.