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October 12, 2007

Books write the songs

Colin Murray devotes part of his Radio 1 show to songs referencing literature. (Track listing here). I would also add The Arctic Monkeys, sort of, who named their album Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not after a line from the best old book I discovered for myself this year, which was, of course, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (though they claim they were referencing the film, which was good too). And Courage by The Tragically Hip, of course, which took some lyrics from The Watch that Ends the Night. Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s Love Over and Over references the Brontes. And I’m sure there’s many many more: what fun!

5 thoughts on “Books write the songs”

  1. hip_ragdoll says:

    And even though I can’t think of the song off the top of my head, John K Samson sings about Derrida.

    Oh, and The Lowest of the Low’s great song Rosy and Grey talks of reading “Henry Miller and wandering around…”

    Although perhaps both are not quite what they’re aiming for?

  2. Crissy Calhoun says:

    i always wanted to write a paper on Shakespeare references in pop songs, but never got further than compiling a (rather short) list. but there’s a paper in there somewhere! i know it!

  3. Kerry says:

    There’s always “My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors”. And in 50s pop I’d give you “The Book of Love” and song that went “Don’t know much about history…”. “Paperback Writer”. In Squeeze’s “Pulling Mussles from a Shell” (which is a song I love) they sing about a Harold Robbins paperback. There will be more!

  4. Rebecca Rosenblum says:

    Disturbingly (or not) I know and adore every song everyone’s listed here. In addition, there’s Cake’s song whose name still excapes me that mentions “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” the Magenetic Fields’ “The Book of Love” (“…is long and boring / and written many years ago”), Elvis Costello’s “Every Day I Write the Book,” the Eels’ “Jeannie’s Diary” (not quite?), and the “book by an Italian poet / from the 14th century” in Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue.”

    Oh, I love these games!

  5. Kerry says:

    “And every one of those words came true, glowed like burning coal. Pouring off of every page like it was written in the soul from me to you.”

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