Stephen King gives a wry smile at the camera at an event for the movie It

Stephen King’s Wife Threatened Divorce Over Very Relatable Habit

Little bit of Carrie in my life, little bit of Misery by my side...

Master horror writer Stephen King is a music fan. Specifically, he seems to really, really like “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega.

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You remember that song, right? The one that played in every upbeat retail outlet in America from 1999 to 2001? The one that can earworm its way into your brain after you listen to just a line or two?

Speaking with Rolling Stone about his new novel, Holly, King extolled his love for “Mambo No. 5″—and jokes that it almost cost him his marriage. “I had the dance mix,” he says. “I loved those extended play things and I played both sides of it. And one of them was just total instrumental. And I played that thing until my wife just said, ‘One more time, and I’m going to fucking leave you.'”

Oh no! “Mambo No. 5” is supposed to bring people together, not drive them apart!

It looks like listening to “Mambo No. 5” was part of King’s writing habit, since he told Rolling Stone about other dance songs he likes to listen to when he writes. “When I write, there are things that I can listen to a lot. And a lot of it is techno stuff or disco stuff, but techno in particular. There’s this group called LCD Soundsystem, and I love that. Fatboy Slim is somebody else. I can just listen to that stuff.”

Let the man write, Tabitha

Look, as a writer, I have some odd rituals of my own.

You know Loreena McKennitt? That Canadian singer who did all the Celtic stuff in the ’90s? I’m not saying that she’s the best singer in the world. I’m not saying I would, like, put her on a jukebox in a crowded bar or something. I’m not saying that my husband deserves to be subjected to my very specific acquired tastes, like Bulgarian folk music or klezmer punk. But sometimes, there’s a certain mood you’re going for in your writing, and you have to evoke it! Sometimes the caffeine hasn’t quite kicked in yet, and you need to start forcing those words out with some dancy tunes! It’s in service of your art!

Would we have gotten some of Stephen King’s post-1999 classics without “Mambo No. 5”? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe we have Lou Bega to thank for King’s output for the past 24 years. Don’t mess with success!

Although if I were Tabitha King, I’d consider gifting the man a pair of headphones.

(featured image: Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Warner Bros.)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>