Thursaday Thirteen - Literary Music

1. Paperback Writer - The Beatles

Paper back writer (paperback writer)
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear
The song's lyrics are in the form of a letter from an aspiring author addressed to a publisher. The song includes a reference to the nonsense poet Edward Lear.

2. Don't Stand So Close To Me - The Police

It's no use, he sees her
He starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in
That book by Nabakov
The line "Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov" alludes to Vladimir Nabokov's famous novel Lolita which covers similar issues. However, Sting mispronounces "Nabokov."

3. Wrapped Up In Books - Belle and Sebastian

Our aspirations, are wrapped up in books
Our inclinations are hidden in looks
The band name Belle & Sebastian is inspired by Belle et Sébastien, a children's book by French writer Cécile Aubry.

4. Atlantis - No Angels featuring Donovan

But a remnant of The Atlantian culture.
The antediluvian kings colonised the world
All the Gods who play in the mythological dramas
In all legends from all lands were from far Atlantis.
5. Hey Jack Kerouac - 10,000 Maniacs

Hey Jack, now for the tricky part,
when you were the brightest star who were the shadows?
Of the San Francisco beat boys you were the favorite.
Now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their blood stoned days.
This video outlines Kerouac's journeys.

6. Chapter 24 - Pink Floyd

The time is with the month of winter solstice
When the change is due to come.
Thunder in the other course of heaven.
Things cannot be destroyed once and for all.
These lyrics are inspired by text from chapter 24 of the ancient Chinese tome I Ching.

7. Slouching Towards Bethlehem - Joni Mitchel

For what is this rough beast
Its hour come at last
Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born
Slouching towards Bethlehem to be born
This song is adapted from Yeats poem called "The Second Coming."

8. Tom Sawyer - Rush

Exit the warrior,
Todays tom sawyer,
He gets high on you,
And the energy you trade,
He gets right on to the friction of the day.
In the December 1985 Rush Backstage Club newsletter, drummer and lyricist Neil Peart said: "Tom Sawyer was a collaboration between myself and Pye Dubois, an excellent lyricist who wrote the lyrics for Max Webster. His original lyrics were kind of a portrait of a modern day rebel, a free-spirited individualist striding through the world wide-eyed and purposeful. I added the themes of reconciling the boy and man in myself, and the difference between what people are and what others perceive them to be - namely me I guess."

9. Romeo and Juliet - Indigo Girls

Ah Juliet
When we made love you used to cry
You said I love you like the stars above
Im gonna love you till I die
10. Open Book - Cake

Shes writing, shes writing,
Shes writing a novel.
Shes writing, shes weaving,
Conceiving a plot.
It quickens, it thickens.
You cant put it down now.
It takes you, it shakes you,
It makes you lose your thought.

But youre caught in your own glory.
You are believing your own stories.
Writing your own headlines.
Ignoring your own deadlines.
But now youve gotta write them all again.
11. Desolation Row - Bob Dylan

Cinderella, she seems so easy
"It takes one to know one," she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he's moaning
"You Belong to Me I Believe"
The use of the word "Desolation" is a strong indication that Dylan was referring to Jack Kerouac's novel Desolation Angels. Kerouac spent the summer of 1956 as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak, and wrote The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels from his life transforming experiences on the peak. On the other hand, John Steinbeck's Cannery Row is a place where the outcasts of society found a home (as in "Skid Row"). A further indication that Dylan was inspired by Steinbeck is found in his reference to Cain and Abel.

12. Tell Your Story Walking - Deb Talan
Tell your story, tell it, tell it.
Tell your story to anyone who'll listen.
Tell your story, don't stop talking
Just tell your story walking.
This song appears on the 2002 album Songs Inspired by Literature (Chapter One), a benefit of the organization Artists for Literacy. Tell Your Story Walking was the winner of Artists for Literacy’s 2002 songwriting contest.

13. Breathe - Depeche Mode

I heard it from Peter
Who heard it from Paul
Who heard it from someone
I don't know at all
I heard it from Mary
Who heard it from Ruth
Who swore on the bible
She's telling the truth

What literary songs do you enjoy?


  1. That was a very well done TT.

    If you count the Bible as literature, there are a lot of literature-based songs I like. A recent album is Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay. I'm also a fan of Third Day and Jennifer Knapp.

  2. This is such a great TT - you've got some many great songs & authors on here. The videos are nice touch, too.

    Happy Thursday to you. :)

  3. What an awesome idea for a list. Love this!

  4. I think that Bob Dylan is a master poet. However my favorite on the post is Tom Sawyer by Rush. You did a great job on this post it's a pretty nice collection of literary songs. :)

  5. Wow, what a great post! I think you hit most of my favorites, but I'll have to think about this a bit. I know there are some more out there!

  6. Am steadily becoming a fan of yours. If thought provoking is what someone is looking for, this is a good one, and nice picks.

    One teeny thing, Romeo and Juliet - Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler


  7. Excellent TT! Welcome to the club! Wait until you see how addictive it becomes.....


  8. OMGOMGOMG I love you.


    A) This was the coolest thing ever, aside from The Beatles.
    B) You used a Beatles song.

    La-di-da, this made me happy. :)

    But hey, question. What's Thursday Thirteen?

  9. is a weekly meme where you post 13 of anything on your mind and then visit eachother! :D

  10. So. Better late than never, lovey. My LOVE this -- especially #2. Brilliant -- and so are you!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts