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firehorse
04-10-2005, 07:28 AM
I started making a list of songs that were either inspired by literature, used literature as lyrics or were about books or writers. I'm sure there are more out there. I thought it would be cool if we could compile a list.

I've indicated where a song is inspired by or refers to a specific book or author (if it isn't obvious in the title :D )

"My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors" (Moxy Fruvous)
"Love in the Library" (Jimmy Buffett)
"Tell Your Story Walking" (Deb Talen - Motherless Brooklyn)
"Pablo Neruda" (Patty Larkin)
"Virginia Woolf" (Indigo Girls)
"Wrapped up in Books" (Belle and Sebastian)
"Hey Jack Kerouac" (10,000 Maniacs)
"Ghost World" (Aimee Man)
"Paperback Writer" (Beatles)
"My Book" (Beautiful South)
"Water to the Moon" (Bob Kemmis - To Kill a Mockingbird)
"Desolation Row" (Bruce Springsteen)
"Every Day I Write the Book" (Elvis Costello)
"House at Pooh Corner" (Loggins & Messina)
"The Lady of Shalott" (Loreena McKennitt - Tennyson)
"The Language of Birds" (Memphis - Keats)
"Green Eggs & Ham" (Moxy Fruvous - Dr. Seuss!)
"Einstein's Brain" (Nathan Caswell - book of the same name)
"All Good Books" (Paul Weller)
"Paranoid Android" (Radiohead)
"Sylvia Plath" (Ryan Adams)
"Pressed in a Book" (The Shins)
"The Book I Read" (Talking Heads)
"Tom Robinson" (Wide Mouth Mason)
"The Ground Beneath Her Feet" (U2 - Salman Rushdie)
"Ghost of Tom Joad" (Bruce Springsteen)
"Sun in my Mouth" (Bjork - e.e. cummings)

mommie4a
04-10-2005, 07:31 AM
Who Wrote the Book of Love? (that's the song title, I don't know who did it - Big Bopper??)

Chacounne
04-10-2005, 07:40 AM
It was The Monotones the did "The Book of Love?"

Yeah, even though I'm only 41, Buddy Holly is my guy, sigh!
Chacounne

gabbleandhiss
04-21-2005, 12:03 AM
"Catcher In The Rye" (Guns N' Roses) -- this happens to be unreleased material, though.

"Atlas Shrugged" (Guns N' Roses) -- Again, this happens to be unreleased.

firehorse
04-21-2005, 12:17 AM
Who knew Guns 'n Roses were so literary? It's always the hardest-rocking guys who have these little intellectual secrets ;) Smartest person - actor, musician, anybdy - I've ever interviewed was Greg Graffin, lead singer for Bad Religion. I'm sure they have literature-inspired songs, but I can't recall any offhand.

Maryn
04-21-2005, 12:27 AM
Add these:

Blind Guardian song And Then There was Silence (Homer’s The Iliad)
Blind Guardian CD Nightfall in Middle-Earth (Tolkein)
Iron Maiden song Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge)
Iron Maiden song To Tame a Land (Frank Herbert’s Dune)
Jag Panzer CD Thane to the Throne (Shakespeare’s Macbeth)
Bruce Dickinson CD The Chemical Wedding (Blake)
Symphony X song The Odyssey (Homer)
Symphony X song King of Terrors (Poe)
Star One song Sandrider (Herbert’s Dune)
Cream song Tales of the Brave Ulysses (Homer)

Maryn

gabbleandhiss
04-21-2005, 02:12 AM
Bad Rel . . . Off the top of my head, I can't think of any literary references within their songs. "Edward Teller" is the only name I recall Graffin singing.

The Clash sang about numerous pop culture icons. "Ghetto Defendant" features Allen Ginsburg. The song isn't about him, though.

firehorse
04-21-2005, 02:15 AM
Speaking of Allen Ginsbug, They Might be Giants have a song called "I Should be Allowed to Think" based on "Howl." I know they have other literature-inspired songs, but... at the risk of sounding like a broken record (no pun intended), I can't recall.

gabbleandhiss
04-21-2005, 02:40 AM
The Police -- "Don't Stand So Close To Me" (mentions Nabokov)
Elvis Costello -- "Everyday I Write The Book"
Red Hot Chili Peppers -- "Yertle The Turtle"

mudflat_marsh_hawk
04-21-2005, 01:12 PM
Moon Over Bourbon Street - Sting (Vampire Lestat)

DreamWeaver
04-23-2005, 06:44 AM
Back in the 60s, The Herd had a song about Orpheus leading (is it Eurydice?) out of Hades. I can't remember the title, but it began:

"Out of the land of shadow and darkness
We were returning toward the morning light..."

I think...it's been a while :).

Led Zeppelin is famous for Tolkien references, including an entire song titled "Misty Mountain Hop". "Ramble On" mentions Gollum and Mordor.

Glenn Frey -- Brave New World (from Huxley, title originally from Shakespeare)

Oh, of course! The Byrds, "Turn, Turn, Turn"--straight out of the Book of Ecclesiastes, I think?

Jefferson Airplane--Crown of Creation (from Re-Birth, by John Wyndham)

Who did "Just Like Romeo and Juliet"?

...and there's another one on the tip of my tongue that I'm forgetting...

Kris

mudflat_marsh_hawk
04-23-2005, 10:51 AM
Stolen Child - music by Loreena McKennit. She sets the poem, written by Yeats to music. This is one of the most beautiful, haunting tunes I've heard.




Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland
Of sleuth wood in the lake
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats
There we've hid our fairy vats
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries

Chorus:
Come away oh human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand
For the world's more full of weeping
Than you can understand

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light
By far off furthest rosses
We foot it all the night
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles
Whilst the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep

Chorus

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above glen car
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams

Chorus

Away with us he's going
The solemned eyed
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace unto his breast
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest

Chorus

For he comes, the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand
For the world's more full of weeping
Than you can understand

Optimus
04-23-2005, 01:40 PM
The song, "Century" by Live on their "Secret Samadhi" album mentions Aldous Huxley, if that counts.

Fractured_Chaos
04-23-2005, 05:23 PM
Mudflat, if you like that one, you will absolutely love "The Highwayman" by Loreena McKinnett. Based on the poem by Alfred Noyes

And I cannot believe that THE literary-based group was forgotten. Alan Parsons Project.

"Tales of Mystery and Imagination" (Poe)
"I, Robot" (Asimov)

Complete Discography here (http://www.theavenueonline.info/site3/discog-1.htm)

firehorse
04-23-2005, 06:08 PM
Speaking of Loreena McKennitt, "The Lady of Shalott" is gorgeous (Tennyson, I think). I put it in my original post, but I think it got lost among all the other titles. Definitely worth another mention.

gabbleandhiss
05-03-2005, 11:00 PM
I just remembered "Tom Sawyer" by Rush.

poetinahat
05-04-2005, 10:42 AM
Nice list! Some more:

"Jocko Homo" by Devo (Ayn Rand reference: Are We Not Men?)
"Mere Pseud Mag Ed." by The Fall
"Neal Cassady" by The Washington Squares
"Sometimes When We Touch" by Dan Hill (truly, truly awful)
"Cemetery Gates" by The Smiths ("Keats and Yeats are on your side, while Wilde is on mine")
"Brave New World" by Public Image Ltd.

firehorse
05-04-2005, 05:11 PM
"Cemetery Gates" by The Smiths ("Keats and Yeats are on your side, while Wilde is on mine") Is that Robert Smith's coming-out song, then? ;)

poetinahat
05-06-2005, 07:10 AM
Is that Robert Smith's coming-out song, then? ;)

Not a Robert Smith song, although that's perhaps what Morrissey and the lads had in mind when they chose their band name! I always thought of it as Morrissey's "The best artists don't have to be gay, but they certainly can't be straight" song....

Speaking of Wilde references (and why do they come up so often? Maybe Morrissey's right), here's one more:

"Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves", by Gavin Friday (ex-Virgin Prunes lead)
-- extract from Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Celeste
05-06-2005, 09:16 AM
The Doors got their name from the book The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley. His experimentation with drugs led to the writing of this book. Huxley interpreted his mescaline trips in terms of spiritual awareness and religious mysticism. Published in 1954, he explores the mind's remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness.

Most of The Doors songs are Jim Morrison's poetry just put to music.

The Beatles wrote a song about writing a book.


BEATLES - Paperback Writer

Paperback writer
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
Based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.
It's the dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn't understand.
His son is working for the Daily Mail,
It's a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.
Paperback writer (writer, writer)
It's a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I'll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.
If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.
Paperback writer (writer, writer)
Paperback writer - paperback writer ...



That's all I can think of...:Shrug:

paprikapink
05-06-2005, 09:36 AM
There's a very catchy version of that tune with the words changed to "Technical Writer." Any other former Sybase writers out there who remember Risa's lyrics? :)

-pk

poetinahat
05-06-2005, 10:33 AM
Magazine's Philadelphia ("I'd have been Raskolnikov, but Mother Nature ripped me off")

firehorse
05-06-2005, 04:26 PM
Not a Robert Smith song, although that's what Morrissey and the lads had in mind when they chose their band name! :Smack:

Can you ever forgive me? ;)

poetinahat
05-06-2005, 05:08 PM
:Smack:

Can you ever forgive me? ;)

Hey, you combined my two patron saints.... you're an alchemist!:Guitar:

poetinahat
05-09-2005, 10:45 AM
9 times! The green you see is my envy. I saw them once, in '85, when the 'Concert' album came out. They were on Friday night; the Smiths had played the previous night (couldn't get a ticket for love nor money *sigh*). Book of Love (remember them?) opened, and the Cure came on 2 1/2 hours late. They apologised, then played a brilliant set (including a claimed first-ever live rendition of 'Love Cats').

What a summer.

firehorse
05-10-2005, 08:37 AM
This has nothing to do with literature, but I was at Kinko's all night, putting together my portfolio, when I heard Joe Jackson's "Stepping Out" on the radio. It reminded me of a very sweet time in my life ;)

Sarita
05-11-2005, 01:04 AM
(including a claimed first-ever live rendition of 'Love Cats').


I'm jealous of both of you. I've never seen The Cure live. Love cats has to be one of my all time favorites, if not my absolute favorite.... hmmm Pictures of You/Love Cats/Pictures of You/Love Cats.... this could go on all night. :)

poetinahat
05-11-2005, 03:04 AM
I'm jealous of both of you. I've never seen The Cure live. Love cats has to be one of my all time favorites, if not my absolute favorite.... hmmm Pictures of You/Love Cats/Pictures of You/Love Cats.... this could go on all night. :)

Well, I think we can both be jealous of KTC! Not much chance for me to extend the list -- who comes to Australia? (Well, I did see the Buzzcocks here in '93, although Pete Shelley should know his Paul Weller wig looked like a wig!)

Cure songs? My fave has to be 'A Forest'. I'm sure it's a literary allusion (just to keep in the spirit of thread), but I'm not well-read enough to know what it is.

poetinahat
05-11-2005, 10:28 AM
Man! I forgot Caterpillar!

I also like 'Meat Hook', from the Three Imaginary Boys LP (which I'll buy if I ever see it again; it also has a cover of 'Foxy Lady', if I remember right).

Plus, 'Like Cockatoos' (yes, this COULD go on and on)

Celeste
05-11-2005, 05:40 PM
Ahhhh...yes! ''Pictures of You''. Excellent song!


I've been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they're real
I've been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are
All I can feel

Remembering
You standing quiet in the rain
As I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell in
Holding you close
How I always held close in your fear
Remembering
You running soft through the night
You were bigger and brighter and wider than snow
And screamed at the make-believe
Screamed at the sky
And you finally found all your courage
To let it all go

Remembering
You fallen into my arms
Crying for the death of your heart
You were stone white
So delicate
Lost in the cold
You were always so lost in the dark
Remembering
You how you used to be
Slow drowned
You were angels
So much more than everything
Hold for the last time then slip away quietly
Open my eyes
But I never see anything

If only I'd thought of the right words
I could have held on to your heart
If only I'd thought of the right words
I wouldn't be breaking apart
All my pictures of you

Looking so long at these pictures of you
But I never hold on to your heart
Looking so long for the words to be true
But always just breaking apart
My pictures of you

There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
All my pictures of you

Sarita
05-11-2005, 06:24 PM
Oh Celeste, you had to go and do it. Now you've broken my heart. That song is so tragic.

I've got another one: Tori Amos, Tear in your Hand. She says "Neil says hi by the way." She's referring to Neil Gaiman.

robeiae
05-11-2005, 07:21 PM
"Romeo and Juliet" Dire Straits

Rob

poetinahat
05-12-2005, 12:42 PM
More literal than literary:

"Read a Book", by Pylon (God bless Athens, GA!)
"Read It in Books", by Echo and the Bunnymen

And how have we gotten this far without...

"White Rabbit", by Jefferson Airplane

Feed Your Head! :o

tintinnabulation
02-04-2006, 07:47 AM
Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush. Minnie Mouse does the classic in under 3 minutes.

Eveningsdawn
02-04-2006, 07:55 AM
There's one called Lady Writer. By... have forgotten.

"Just the way her hair
falls down around her face
she recalls her fall from grace
lady-writer..."

something like that.

Shadow_Ferret
02-04-2006, 09:36 AM
Who did "Just Like Romeo and Juliet"?


You might be thinking of a lyrics from "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult. They also did a song called "Black Blade" that was about Elric's sword Stormbringer.

Deep Purple did a song called "Stormbringer" although I'm not sure if the two are related.

A band called Hawkwind collaborated with Michael Moorcock on several of their songs in the early 70s.

The Beatles did "Paperback Writer"

Alice Cooper did "Feed my Frankenstein"

Ragnarok
02-04-2006, 04:40 PM
Blind Guardian "Punishment Divine" (Nietzsche)
Virgin Steele "The Raven Song" (Poe)