Bruce Springsteen recently chatted with The New York Times about his favorite writers and what books he's been reading recently (he's promoting his children's book Outlaw Pete).
Amid a high-minded discussion of Philip Roth, Moby-Dick and Flannery O'Connor, Springsteen let slip a humanizing fact -- like the rest of us, he sometimes pretends he's read classic books he hasn't.
Specifically, Springsteen admitted he hadn't read John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath until after he released his 1995 album The Ghost of Tom Joad. So yes, the Boss titled a song/album after the protagonist of a book he had not yet read. Incidentally, Springsteen re-recorded "The Ghost of Tom Joad" with Tom Morello for his most recent album, High Hopes, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Springsteen isn't the first rocker to do this, however. Iggy Pop has long admitted his 1977 classic solo album The Idiot came out before he'd finished reading the Dostoyevsky novel. And of course, Britney Spears has a song called "Brave New Girl," and it's anyone's guess if she knows who Aldous Huxley is.
The Boss lauds Moby-Dick as "a beautiful boy’s adventure story" and describes his first brush with literature thusly: "The first book I read was The Wizard of Oz, one lazy summer on my front porch on Randolph Street in New Jersey."