Songs Inspired By Books

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I wonder, thought I, how many songs have been written that have been inspired by books. Wow! How naive could one person be? Clearly, the answer is very. In no particular order, here are a few of a very large group.

Mrs Hemingway by Mary Chapin Carpenter [about Hadley Hemingway, wife of Ernest]

All She Wants To Do Is Dance by Don Henley [inspired by The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) and The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer (1958)]

Phantom of the Opera by Iron Maiden [Gaston Leroux’s classic undergoes a dramatically different interpretation to that of Andrew Lloyd Webber. It runs over seven minutes but it’s worth the listen]

Disposable Teens by Marilyn Manson [alleged to be partly inspired by 1984 by George Orwell]

Fire on the Mountain by Rob Thomas [inspired by Dave Eggers’ What is the what]

Howl by Florence + The Machine [inspired, according to Florence by Gothic werewolf fiction]

Lily of the Valley by Queen [The song is believed to be about the 1835 novel Lily of the Valley by Honoré de Balzac]

Man of Constant Sorrow by The Soggy Bottom Boys [The song relates to The Odyssey: the line, “I am a man of constant sorrow. I’ve seen trouble all my days” refers to Odysseus and all the troubles he had on his journey home]

Shakespeare’s Sister by The Smiths [This song is named after a chapter in Virginia Woolf’s 1929 feminism essay, A Room of One’s Own]

Tea in the Sahara by The Police [This song is named after a chapter in the book The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles]

These select few are a small taste of what is available. The Shortlist have also collated a selection of songs ranging from Bowie to Manic Street Preachers to Elton John to Nirvana.

Not forgetting the kids…

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