10 Songs Inspired By Your Favorite Books

by Jessica on February 26, 2018

By Kelly

Did you know that some of your favorite books inspired songs by some of your favorite artists? Keep reading for 10 songs based on literary works!

1. “1984” By David Bowie – Inspired By 1984 By George Orwell

Books Inspired By Songs

This song by David Bowie highlights the novel’s totalitarian government and even mentions the telescreens featured in the book.

“Someday they won’t let you, but now you must agree/
The times they are a-telling, and the changing isn’t free/
You’ve read it in the tea leaves, the tracks are on TV/
Beware the savage jaw of 1984/
They’ll split your pretty cranium, and fill it full of air/
And tell that you’re 80, but brother, you won’t care.”

2. “White Rabbit” By Jefferson Airplane – Inspired By Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Songs Inspired By Books

Listen closely and you’ll catch references to everyone’s favorite rabbit and the “who are you” caterpillar. Jefferson Airplane even make reference to Alice herself, and her size changing adventure.

“And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall/
Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call/
And call Alice, when she was just small.”

3. “Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?” By Green Day – Inspired By The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Songs Inspired By Books

Green Day does a great job of capturing the feeling of being an outcast in this ode to Holden Caulfield.

“There’s a boy who fogs his world and now he’s getting lazy/
There’s no motivation and frustration makes him crazy/
He makes a plan to take a stand but always ends up sitting./
Someone help him up or he’s gonna end up quitting.”

4. “Banana Co.” By  Radiohead – Inspired By One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

Songs Inspired By Books

The title and subject of this song is a direct reference to the corrupt company in One Hundred Years of Solitude.

“Oh, Banana Co./
We really love you, and we need you/
And oh, Banana Co./
We’d really love to believe you/
But everything’s underground/
We gotta dig it up somehow/
Yeah, yeah.”

5. “Ramble On” By Led Zeppelin – Inspired By The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Songs Inspired By Books

Lord of the Rings fans will recognize the name of Mordor, a region in Middle Earth, as well as the references to magic, the character Gollum and the ring itself.

“Mine’s a tale that can’t be told/
My freedom I hold dear/
How years ago in days of old/
When magic filled the air/
This was in the darkest depths of Mordor/
I met a girl so fair/
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up/
And slipped away with her.”

6. “The Ghost of Tom Joad” By Bruce Springsteen – Inspired By The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

Songs Inspired By Books

This homage to Tom Joad from Grapes of Wrath takes lines directly from his famous speech in the novel about working together as a community and justice.

“Now Tom said, “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beating a guy/
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries/
Where there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air/
Look for me, Mom, I’ll be there/
Wherever somebody’s fighting for a place to stand/
Or a decent job or a helping hand/
Wherever somebody’s struggling to be free/
Look in their eyes, Ma, and you’ll see me.”

7. “Pet Sematary” By Ramones – Inspired By Pet Sematary By  Stephen King

Songs Inspired By Books

The Ramones originally wrote this song for the 1989 movie adaption of Stephen King’s novel. It captures the ambiance of the terrifying cemetery perfectly.

“The smell of death is all around,/
And the night when the cold wind blows,/
No one cares, nobody knows./
I don’t want to be buried in a Pet Sematary,/
I don’t want to live my life again.”

8. “Moon over Bourbon Street” By Sting – Inspired By Interview with the Vampire By Anne Rice

songs Inspired By Books

Sting takes on the perspective of one of Anne Rice’s blood sucking characters from the book and describes walking around the city in the moonlight.

“It was many years ago that I became what I am/
I was trapped in this life like an innocent lamb/
Now I can only show my face at noon/
And you’ll only see me walking by the light of the moon.”

9. “Yertle The Turtle” By Red Hot Chili Peppers – Inspired By Yertle The Turtle By Dr. Seuss

Songs Inspired By Books

The Red Hot Chili Peppers channeled Dr. Seuss to write this song about his character Yertle the Turle. It even rhymes!

“I’m Yertle The Turtle/
The things I now rule/
I’m king of a cow/
I’m king of a mule.”

10. “Wuthering Heights” By Kate Bush – Inspired By Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë

Songs Inspired By Books
After catching part of the 1967 BBC series of Wuthering Heights, Kate Bush was inspired to write this song  from the point of view of Cathy Earnshaw.

“Bad dreams in the night/
They told me I was going to lose the fight/
Leave behind my wuthering, wuthering/
Wuthering Heights/
Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy/
I’ve come home, I’m so cold/
Let me in through your window.”