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References in On the Road

On the Road  by Jack Kerouac

Novels of Jack Kerouac
Published in:  New York, NY; USA
Published by:  Viking Press
Year of Publication:  1957 books
Language:  English
Catalogue code
ISBN:  0140042598
See Also: Modern Library 100 best novels
On the Road is a novel written by Jack Kerouac (1922–1969), during his early adulthood in the late 1940s, and published by Viking Press in 1957 books. The events in the novel are almost entirely drawn from Kerouac's life. His journals and notes were filled with detailed accounts of his travels across North America, including popular songs, books and products of the day. Even the characters in On the Road were given pseudonyms to conceal the identities of their real-life counterparts.

Page numbers given below refer to the 1997 Penguin reprint edition of On the Road, the most widely-available version of the text.



Ozone Park, NYChicago, ILNewton, IAStuart, IACheyenne, WYDenver, COSalt Lake City, UTSan Francisco, CAMarin City, CA (“Mill City, CA”) → Hollywood, CALos Angeles, CASelma, CA (“Sabinal, CA”) → Dalhart, TXIndianapolis, INHarrisburg, PANew York, NY.


Rocky Mount, NC (“Testament, VA”) → Algiers, LA → San Francisco, CA → New York, NY.


New York, NYTerre Haute, INSt. Louis, MO → Denver, CO Amarillo, TXTerre Haute, INSan Antonio, TXLaredo, TXNuevo Laredo, Tamps.Hidalgo, NLCiudad Victoria, Tamps. → Llera de Canales, Tamps. (“Límon, Tamps.”) → Mexico City, DF.

Character key

Sal Paradise Jack Kerouac New York, NY p.3
Dean Moriarty Neal Cassady New York, NY p.
Chad King Haldon "Hal" Chase Denver, CO p.3
Carlo Marx Allen Ginsberg Paterson, NJ p.4
Marylou LuAnne Henderson New York, NY p.4
Tim Gray Ed White Denver, CO p.4
Ed Wall Ed Uhl Sterling, CO p.5
Aunt Gabrielle Kerouac (Jack's Mother) New York, NY p.5
Old Bull Lee William S. Burroughs Algiers, LA p.8
Elmer Hassel Herbert Huncke New York, NY p.8
Jane Lee Joan Vollmer Adams Burroughs Algiers, LA p.8
Tommy Snark Jim Holmes Denver, CO p.8
Roy Johnson Bill Tomson Denver, CO p.8
Ed Dunkel Al Hinkle Denver, CO p.8
Rocco Paul Blake (Jack’s brother-in-law) Rocky Mount, NC (“Testament, VA”)  p.8
Remi Boncœur Henri Cru Sausalito, CA p.11
Lee Ann Dianne Orin Sausalito, CA p.11
Ray Rawlins Bob Burford Denver, CO p.18
Babe Rawlins Beverly Burford Denver, CO p.18
Mary Bettencourt Ruth Gullion Denver, CO p.18
Rita Bettencourt Helen Gullion Denver, CO p.18
Roland Major Allan Temko Denver, CO p.18
William Holmes “Big Slim” Hazard   William Holmes “Big Slim” Hubbard Newport, RI p.28
Betty Gray Joanie White (Ed White's sister) Denver, CO p.41
Camille Carolyn Cassady (née Robinson) San Francisco, CA p.42
Denver D. Doll Justin Brierly Denver, CO p.52
Old Dean Moriarty Neal Cassady Sr. Denver, CO p.58
Mr. Snow Marin City, CA p.62
“The famous director” Gregory La Cava Hollywood, CA p.73
Terry Bea Franco Selma, CA (“Sabinal, CA”) p.81
Peaches Ginger Chase New York, NY p.82
Dorie, “Tall redhead” Vicki Russell New York, NY p.83
Amy Moriarty Catherine Cassady San Francisco, CA p.110
Galatea Dunkel Helen Hinkle Denver, CO p.111
Lucille Pauline New York, NY p.116
Tom Saybrook Ed Stringham New York, NY p.125
Ian MacArthur John Clellon Holmes New York, NY p.125
Damion Lucien Carr New York, NY p.126
Mona Rhoda New York, NY p.126
Rollo Greb Alan Ansen New York, NY p.127
Dodie Lee Julie Burroughs Algiers, LA p.143
Ray Lee William S. Burroughs, Jr. Algiers, LA p.143
Dale Kells Elvins Algiers, LA p.145
Hal Hingham Alan Harrington Tucson, AZ p.165
Marie Lorraine p.193
Dorothy Johnson Helen Tomson (Bill Tomson's wife) Denver, CO p.193
Sam Brady (Neal Cassady's cousin) p.215
Inez Diana Hansen New York, NY p.246
Angel Luz García Jose García Villa New York, NY p.246
Walter Evans Walter Adams New York, NY p.246
Victor Villanueva Victor Tejeira New York, NY p.246
Jinny Jones Jinny Baker Lehrman New York, NY p.246
Gene Dexter Gene Pippin New York, NY p.246
Stan Shepard Frank Jeffries Denver, CO p.257
Victor Gregorio Victoria, Mexico, ("Gregoria") p.281
Laura Joan Kerouac (née Haverty) New York, NY p.307
Joanie Moriarty Jami Cassady San Francisco, CA p.308

Arts & Culture


Overture from Fidelio Ludwig van Beethoven p.52
Sweet Adeline (barbershop quartet) p.54
Central Avenue Breakdown Lionel Hampton p.88
Lover Man Billie Holiday p.98
Mañana Peggy Lee p.99
Blue Skies n/a p.100
The Hunt Dexter Gordon & Wardell Gray pp.113,127
A Fine Romance (music box) p.119
Cement Mixer Slim Gaillard p.176
C-jam Blues Slim Gaillard p.176
Close Your Eyes (male singer) p.198
Congo Blues Red Norvo Sextet w/ Dizzy Gillespie p.219
Gator Tail The Cootie Williams band w/ Willis Jackson p.250
Lester Jumps In Lester Young p.251
Baby's Pudding Wynonie Blues Harris p.273
Chattanooga de Mambo Perez Prado p.287
More Mambo Jambo Perez Prado p.287
Mambo Numero Ocho Perez Prado p.287
Mambo Jambo Perez Prado p.287


The Town and the City (“The book”) Jack Kerouac (“John Kerouac”)  pp.6
The New Yorker p.10
The Oregon Trail Francis Parkman p.19
Life in the Far West George F. Ruxton p.38
Green Hills of Africa Ernest Hemingway p.57
Blue Book adventures of Oregon p.64
Le grand meaulnes Alain-Fournier p.102
New Orleans Times-Picayune want-ads p.147
Les Mystères de Paris (en: “Mysteries of Paris”)   Eugène Sue pp.188,192
Mayan codices p.144


The Mark of Zorro Dir. Rouben Mamoulian 1940 p.64
''Sullivan's Travels Dir. Preston Sturges 1941 p.82
Of Mice and Men Dir. Lewis Milestone 1939 p.90
(“Hollywood prèmiere 10/26/47”)  p.101
Background to Danger Dir. Raoul Walsh 1943 p.244
(“Singing Cowboy Eddie Dean”) p.244

Radio shows

1948 Midnight New Year's Eve broadcast from Times Square p.124
Chicken Jazz'n Gumbo Disc-jockey Show from New Orleans p.140
Mystery programme p.156
(“Radio Show from Clint, TX”) p.162
The Lone Ranger Show p.214
The Symphony Sid Show p.246
Marty Glickman commentating New York Knicks basketball games  p.250

Consumer Goods


“Truck with a flatboard at the back”  p.24
“old Ford coupe p.38
1938 Chevy p.91
Plymouth p.106
1949 Hudson p.110
“Texas Chevy” p.142
“old ratty coupe” p.216
1947 black Cadillac limousine pp.224–5
“twenty-dollar Buick p.230
1949 or 1950 Chrysler p.245
1937 Ford Sedan p.265

Clothing & paraphernalia

Zoot Suits

Restaurants & clubs

Ritzy's Bar

Food & drink

Apple Pie & Vanilla Ice Cream

Recreational Drugs

Cannabis (also referred to as "tea")

Benzedrine (referred to as "benny")

Amphetamines (referred to as "goofballs")

Morphine (Referred to as "M")

On the Road in Popular Culture

  • The New York based alternative band 10,000 Maniacs had a song on their 1987 album In My Tribe entitled "Hey Jack Kerouac." The song includes multiple references to both Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
  • Kerouac is referred to in the Five Iron Frenzy song "Superpowers," "...sometimes I feel like I'm Holden Caulfield, sometimes Jack Kerouac. I wanted to be famous now I want to take it back..."
  • Brazilian rocker Cazuza wrote the song Só as Mães São Felizes ('Only Mothers Are Happy) after a quote from Kerouac; in this song he also mentions Allen Ginsberg in the lines nunca viu Allen Ginsberg pagando michê no Alasca, which can be translated as you've never seen Allen Ginsberg paying a male prostitute in Alaska.
  • In Billy Joel's song "We Didn't Start the Fire", he refers to Jack Kerouac, "...Mickey Mantle, Kerouac, Sputnik..."
  • In an episode of the 7th season of the television program That '70s Show, when asked by his father, Red Forman, if he had slept the whole day, Eric answered that he had been reading Jack Kerouac's classic On the Road, saying "why get out of bed when you can read about people that get out of bed?"
  • In Steve Earle's song "The Other Kind" he sings "You see it used to be I was really free, I didn't need no gasoline to run. Before you could say Jack Kerouac you'd turn your back and I'd be gone".
  • The book can be seen lying on the dashboard of the car at the beginning of the music video for "Youth of the Nation", by P.O.D., as well as on Lisa's bookshelf in an episode of the television program The Simpsons. (Episode 7F07 - Bart vs. Thanksgiving - see picture)
  • It's the favorite book of Seth and Marissa in the television program The O.C., but they refer to "the pancake tour of North America" in what may be an error by the writers of the show.
  • In an episode of the television program 3rd Rock from the Sun, now that high school's over for him, Tommy wants to follow Jack Kerouac's lead and hit the road. Later, he actually decides he's ready to go to college, and Harry suggests maybe he can study Kerouac.
  • On the television program Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander Harris is shown reading On the Road in "Choices", announcing his plan that after graduating from high school, he will leave the southern California town of Sunnydale to get out and see America. He got as far as Oxnard before the engine fell out of his car.
  • The Van Morrison song "Cleaning Windows" contains the lyrics, "I went home and read my Christmas Humphreys book on Zen,/ Curiosity killed the cat/ Kerouac's Dharma Bums and On the Road."
  • The Weezer song "Holiday" contains the lyrics "On the road with Kerouac/ Sheltered in his Bivouac/ On this road we'll never die..."
  • The Our Lady Peace song "All for You" contains the lyrics "Jack Kerouac, K-K-K-Kerouac / On the road and in my head."
  • After reading the book, The Mars Volta's guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez decided to hitchhike across the United States only to return home three days later.
  • The Band Spitalfield has a song titled "I Loved The Way She Said L.A.", which is a direct quote from the book.
  • On the television program Freaks and Geeks, Lindsay and Kim read Jack Kerouac's On The Road for class.
  • The Scottish indie-pop band Jesse Garon And The Desperadoes, had a song in 1986 called "The Rain Fell Down." It contains the lines, 'On the road, me and my best friend. Though Jacky Kerouac never meant it like this.'
  • Indie rapper Sage Francis recited: "I'm on the road reading Kerouac / It's poems versus battle raps" in his song "Escape Artist".
  • In an episode of the television program Quantum Leap, Sam Beckett leaps into a member of a 1950s biker gang in California. He meets the leader's girlfriend who wants to become a writer, and that On The Road is her inspiration for living. He even learns that Jack Kerouac is at a cabin nearby and visits him, hoping that Kerouac can convince the girl to make the right choices in life.
  • "On the road like Kerouac" is a phrase in the song "On the Move" by Mudvayne.
  • The Beastie Boys mention the novel and author in the song "3-Minute Rule" off of Paul's Boutique: "You slip, you slack, you clock me, you lack/While I'm reading On The Road by my man Jack Kerouac".
  • In Haruki Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart the main character Sumire's favorite book is On The Road
  • In the song "All The Madmen" on the 1971 David Bowie album, The Man Who Sold The World, Bowie sings "'Cause I'd rather stay here/With all the madmen/Than perish with the sadmen roaming free/And I'd rather play here/With all the madmen/For I'm quite content they're all as sane/As me," a clear reference to a line in "On The Road."
  • On Tom Waits' album Foreign Affairs there is a song called Jack & Neal, referring to Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. The style of the song lyrics imitates Kerouac's prose.
  • Eric Kripke, creator of the WB's Supernatural, has said in an interview that he based his characters Sam and Dean Winchester on Sal and Dean. In the show the two Winchester brothers are on an endless road trip through America, hunting ghosts and other supernatural phenomena.
  • In the movie Highway (2002) starring Jared Leto and Jake Gyllenhaal at the end of the final scene a few lines of On The Road are quoted
  • The phrase "stranger flowers" in "8:16AM" by 311 (Grassroots, 1994) is a reference to the Jack Kerouac book On the Road.
  • The opening track on King Crimson's 1982 album Beat is "Neal And Jack And Me", referring to Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. The band also used the title to name a live DVD released in 2004. Beat contains other Kerouac references, and, according to the Trouser Press Record Guide, was inspired by the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of On the Road.
  • In the book, Bloodsucking Fiends (1995) by Christopher Moore, the hero, Tommy, a would-be writer in San Francisco, idolizes Kerouac and Ginsberg and is reading On The Road for inspiration.
  • The lyrics "On the road like Kerouac" are found in The Bloodhound Gang (band)'s song "Asleep At The Wheel".
  • The German alternative rock band Sportfreunde Stiller released two tracks on their album Thonträger entitled "On The Road" and "Unterwegs" ("Unterwegs" as a German translation of "On the road"). The lyrics of "Unterwegs" tell about the singer's search for Jack Kerouac to ask him if it was really true back then, and the singer also questions whether he was perhaps with Sal, Dean, and Mary Lou only in his dreams.
  • In the song "Boxcar" by the Bay-area band Jawbreaker, lead singer Blake Schwarzenbach says, "Like killing cops and reading Kerouac".
  • Jon Foreman, lead singer for the San Diego band Switchfoot, refers to Kerouac and reads a passage from On the Road during a live concert on the band's DVD Live in San Diego.
  • The lyrics in the Styrofoam/Ben Gibbard song "Couches in Alleys," evoke Jack Kerouac: asking for advice based upon On the Road. Lyrics include "Hey Jack, it's me, I don't mean to bother you but something's been on my mind: that the end of this road that climbs the horizon will be reached in a matter of miles..." and "Oh Jack, you see, I felt like your mirror with the wind whipping through my hair..." Ben Gibbard has also stated that On the Road is one of his favorite books.
  • British band Marillion has a track called "Torch Song" on their album Clutching at Straws. Its opening lines are "Read some Kerouac and it put me on the track, to burn a little brighter now. Something about Roman candles fizzing out, shine a little light on me now." This echoes Kerouac's imagery at one point in On the Road.
  • The Hold Steady's third album, Boys and Girls in America, is taken from a quote in Chapter 10 of Part 1. The theme is further extended in the song "Stuck Between Stations" which features the opening line: "There are nights when I think that Sal Paradise was right / Boys and girls in America, they have such a sad time together."
  • The song "Stranger Than Fiction" by the punk band Bad Religion contains the line "Caringosity killed the Kerouac cat," acting as a metaphor and also as a reference to the Beatnik's stereotypical use of the word "cat."
  • The song "Lost in America" written by Pittsburgh author and singer/songwriter Bill Deasy contains the following line in the first verse "Stoned out on Kerouac, Trying to get it just right."
  • British Singer/Songwriter Richard Thompson references Jack Kerouac in his song "Sibella."
  • Irish band Bell X1 have a quote from Kerouac's On The Road towards the end of their song 'Beautiful Madness'- "and fabulous Roman candles explode like spiders across the sky..."
  • The song "Big Dipper," written by David Lowery and appearing on the 1996 Cracker album The Golden Age, has the lyrics "Hey Jim Kerouac, brother of the famous Jack/Or so he likes to say, lucky bastard."
  • The song "Children of Jack" by Guy Forsyth from his album Can You Live Without echoes much of On the Road. The following line of the chorus is taken almost directly from the book: "America, where goest thou in thy shiny car at night."
  • Acda en de Munnik, a Dutch cabaret duo, refer a lot to Jack Kerouac in their first show "Zwerf'On." Also in their third show "It's only cabaret but I like it," Jack Kerouac and his book On the Road are mentioned.
  • The Australian band The Go-Betweens had a song on their album Tallulah (1987) called "The House Jack Kerouac Built."
  • It is the first book to be read and discussed in the TV series The Book Group (in the first episode, also called On The Road). Claire claims it to be the great American novel only to become frustrated by the group's critical stance against Kerouac's style.
  • Kinyas character in a Turkish novel, Kinyas and Kayra, says "My name is Dean Moriarty. I lied over the steering wheel when I passed 140."
  • On an episode of the American sitcom Frasier, where they travel through America, Frasier says: "Jack Kerouac went on the road."
  • In the third episode of the television drama Traveler, at the "Will Travel" bookstore, Jay Burchell, who is on the run from the government, buys a tattered copy of On the Road after remembering a road trip he had been planning. His former friend Will Traveler had based their trip on On the Road.
  • The Third Eye Blind song "Burning Man" from their first album in '97 has the chorus of: "I live my life like a burning man." Lead singer, Stephan Jenkins, credits this to the famous line in On The Road when Kerouac writes, "Those are the ones for me...the mad ones...[who] burn, burn, burn like roman candles..."
  • On independent hip hop artist Pigeon John's release Is Clueless, one of his songs is named "Beautiful Little Sharp Chicks", which is the term Kerouac uses to describe Marylou at the beginning of the book.

Bibliographic Sources

  • Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. Penguin Books: New York.

External links

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