Empire Records

9 Amazing Songs Inspired by Literature

Books can change the way you think about things; the right strand of words can strike something up inside of you. It’s not unlikely to feel uneasy, dizzy, overwhelmed, inspired, or full after reading the right essay, poem, story, or novel. (Words are, like, insanely cool.)

 

So, it’s no wonder so many musicians have drawn inspiration from within the pages of the books they read!

 

Stand up and jam out to these nine incredibly songs inspired by pieces of literature! 

 

Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

 

 

An eighteen-year-old Kate Bush wrote this insanely popular classic after finding inspiration within Emily Brontë’s novel of the same name.

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home. I’m so cold
Let me in-a-your window
 

 

Charlotte Sometimes by The Cure 

 

 

Although not their first foray into slipping literary references into their songs, The Cure held nothing back when they wrote this song based on the Penelope Farmer novel of the same name.

Charlotte sometimes crying for herself
Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself
But it’s always with love
With so much love it looks like
Everything else
Of Charlotte sometimes
So far away
Glass sealed and pretty
Charlotte sometimes

 

Suffragette City by David Bowie

 

 

Bowie never ceased to draw inspiration from his favorite literary works (Diamond Dogs was influenced heavily by George Orwell’s 1984) and for a large part of his Ziggy Stardust phase he drew from Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange

Hey man, Henry, don’t be unkind, go away
Hey man, I can’t take you this time, no way
Hey man, droogie don’t crash here
There’s only room for one and here she comes
Here she comes

 

 

Off to the Races by Lana Del Rey

 

 

Lana Del Rey has drawn inspiration for much of her work from Nabokov’s Lolita, but the chorus of this song is especially Lolita-esque.

Light of my life, fire in my loins
Be a good baby, do what I want
Light of my life, fire in my loins
Gimme them gold coins
Gimme them coins

 

 

This Is Just A Modern Rock Song by Belle & Sebastian

 

 

Belle & Sebastian have always been big promoters of book love (i.e. Wrapped Up In Books), see if you can catch all the literary references hidden in this gem!

I’m not as sad as Doestoevsky
I’m not as clever as Mark Twain
I’ll only buy a book for the way it looks
And then I stick it on the shelf again

 

Tangled Up In Blue by Bob Dylan

 

 

Dylan has based much of his works off of F. Scott Fitzgerald and various poets, along with basing much of the lyricism on his Blood on the Tracks albums off of popular short stories by Anton Chekhov.

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside

 

Baobabs by Regina Spektor

 

 

This sweet little single by Regina Spektor (and one of my personal favorites) was based off the popular children’s book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.

You have tamed me
Now you must take me
How am I supposed to be?
I don’t have my thorns now

And I feel them sprouting
They’ll grow right through if I don’t watch it
They’ll grow through even if I watch it
And a sunset couldn’t save me now

 

 

Catcher in the Rye by The Dandy Warhols

 

 

Listening to The Dandy Warhols is always a good time, and this 2016 song about the infamous J.D. Salinger novel of the same name is no exception!

Stop look around keep your head down and let the words stop it pass on by you
Words that are somewhere in told are cold if it’s not fun then it’s funny to show
With the advice like this what else could you want if a body need a body I know

 

 

Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell

 

 

Joni Mitchell wrote this heartbreaking classic while reading Saul Bellow’s Henderson and the Rain King.

Moons and Junes and ferries wheels 
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real 
I’ve looked at love that way

 

 

via GIPHY

 

 

 

Featured Image via Bustle