These Lyrics Were Inspired by Literature

We bookworms love words. When we listen to music, most of us pay a lot of attention to the lyrics. We love the poeticism and once the words combine with a tune, it’s a masterpiece. If you’re a bookworm, odds are you’ve stopped a song, hit rewind, and listened to a lyric over and over. Why? Because, occasionally, a bookish surprise awaits in the form of a literary reference. 

Here are 10 songs with lyrics inspired by literature! Do you know any more? Tell us in the comments! 


1) “The Lady of Shalott” by Loreena McKennitt

Reference: The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Lyric: “Four grey walls, and four grey towers,

          Overlook a space of flowers,

          And the silent isle imbowers

          The Lady of Shalott.”


2) “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush

Reference: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Lyric: “Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy

         Come home, I’m so cold!

         Let me in-a-your window”


3) “Hurricane” by Thirty Seconds to Mars 

Reference: The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Lyric:  “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”


4) “Thieves in the Night” by Black Star

Reference: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Lyric: “Give me the fortune, keep the fame,” said my man Louis

          I agreed, know what he mean because we live the truest lie

          I asked him why we follow the law of the bluest eye

          He looked at me, he thought about it

          Was like, “I’m clueless, why?”


4) Annabel Lee by Stevie Nicks 

Reference: Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe 

Lyric: “That the wind came out

           Of the cloud that night

           Killing my, my Annabel Lee”


5) “I Am the Walrus” by The Beatles 

Reference: The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll 

Lyric: “I am the eggman (Ooh)

          They are the eggmen (Ooh)

           I am the walrus

          Goo goo g’ joob”


6) “Lost Boy” by Ruth B

Reference: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie 

Lyric: “I am a lost boy from Neverland

          Usually hanging out with Peter Pan

          And when we’re bored we play in the woods

         Always on the run from Captain Hook

         “Run, run, lost boy,” they say to me,

         “Away from all of reality.”


7) “Oedipus” by Regina Spektor 

Reference: Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

Lyric: “And one morning I woke up

          And I thought Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus

          Then one morning I woke up and I thought Rex, Rex, Rex

          Then one morning I woke up

          And I thought Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus, Oedipus…”


8) “Off to the Races” by Lana Del Rey

Reference: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lyric: “Light of his life, fire of his loins

          Keep me forever, tell me you own me

          Light of your life, fire of your loins

         Tell me you own me, give me them coins.” 


9) Forrest Gump by Frank Ocean

Reference: Forrest Gump by Winston Groom 

Lyric: “I know you Forrest

          I know you wouldn’t hurt a beetle

          But you’re so buff and so strong

          I’m nervous Forrest

          Forrest Gump.”


10) “The Cave” by Mumford & Sons

Reference: The Odyssey by Homer

Lyric: “So tie me to a post and block my ears

           I can see widows and orphans through my tears

           I know my call despite my faults

           And despite my growing fears”


Featured image courtesy of Newsweek