#MusicMonday – six songs inspired by books and writing

I’ve seen a few bloggers doing a #MusicMonday post where they feature a particular piece of music. I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a twist on that and feature some songs which have been inspired by writing and by books.

Well I have to start with the most obvious one. I’m sure that you don’t need me to tell you that Kate Bush’s 1978 hit Wuthering Heights is based on Emily Bronte’s novel of the same name. Apparently she wrote it after watching a BBC adaptation of the book when she was just 18!

My next choice is perhaps less well known. Or at least the song is known but the literary connection perhaps not so much. Sting’s moody Moon Over Bourbon Street was inspired by Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. It’s loosely about the character Louis de Pointe du Lac who Sting says is a vampire with a conscience doomed to carry out evil acts.

Heading back to 1966 now and looking at Paperback Writer by The Beatles. This is a fun and cheery little number which references Edward Lear and is about a desperate writer trying to get his book published. The writer tells us it’s taken him years to write so no wonder it’s weighing in at 1000 pages!

Another song where I don’t need to explain what it’s inspired by is Dire Straits’ 1980 hit, Romeo and Juliet. A song full of longing mostly on the part of Romeo but for the doomed lovers ‘it was just that the time was wrong’. I like that this also references Somewhere from West Side Story, Bernstein’s musical version of Romeo and Juliet set in New York: “There’s a place for us, you know the movie song”.

Now this next one is a song I came across when I was thinking what to include in this selection. Charlotte Sometimes by The Cure from 1981 wasn’t one of their bigger hits. It is based on the book of the same name by Penelope Farmer. I loved that book when I was young and read it to my own girls when they were younger too. This song uses words directly from the book as some of its lyrics and in the video, the character of Charlotte is seen recreating scenes from the book.

My final selection is Turn, Turn, Turn written by Pete Seeger in 1959. It’s perhaps better known for the cover version by The Byrds but I like this version with Pete Seeger singing with Judy Collins. I say it’s written by Pete Seeger but actually it’s pretty much entirely taken from the beginning of the third chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes in the King James Bible. The only real change is the addition of the final line, “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late” which makes this song a plea for peace.

These are just a few of many songs inspired by books and writing. What others can you think of?
Do you have a favourite literature inspired piece of music?

14 thoughts on “#MusicMonday – six songs inspired by books and writing

  1. I enjoyed thisi post. Back in the day, I loved “Paperback Writer” and “Turn,Turn, Turn, by the Byrs. ” I didn’t realize Pete Seeger and Judy Collins did a version. This was just wonderful. She has such a beautiful voice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked the post. I don’t know if this version was ever released as a single or if it was just a collaboration on a tv show. She does have a beautiful voice.


  2. You’ve set me off on a Stings greatest hits Spotify session. I love Sting. A nice idea to link music to books. I think if there was a theme tune to some books I’ve read recently it would be Titanium by Sia & David Guetta. Especially Savage Beasts inspired by the Greek myth Medea.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great idea for a post! I immediately thought of Paperback Writer, before I began reading your list. And, yeah, Wuthering Heights would have been a choice for me too. I think the Beatles’ song ‘I am the Walrus’ references ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’ from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through the Looking Glass’.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.