Subscribe to Roaring 20s

Blog powered by Typepad
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 07/2008

Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

  • Copyright 2009.
    HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
    10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022 Phone: (212) 207-7000

« English 101 Reads: Brave New World | Main | What's your must-read for March? »

March 10, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Edward Cole

Paul Simon's "Richard Corey" is a great reworking of the poem of the same name.


Jimmy Buffett has a line in a song that goes "Travis McGee down in Cedar Key - that's what John MacDonald said" referring to an entire series of Travis McGee novels.

Yume Katoya

My favorite is probably "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane. Said to have been Grace Slick's jab at Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for using "drug-like" substances to produce "highs" and "lows" for Alice. LOL


Not sure if this counts, but The Moody Blues album "Seventh Sojourn" was "supposedly" loosely based on the Canterbury Tales - I don't believe they quote at all, but the concept was that of a journey filled with different "morality" tales.

Bartholomew Sharpe

Nick Lowe's "Cruel to be Kind" and Shakespeare's Hamlet "I must be cruel, only to be kind: / Thus bad begins and worse remains behind." Act III, Scene 4

Ben Rubinstein

I've got two. Modest Mouse's Bukowski

"Woke up this morning and it seemed to me,
that every night turns out to be
A little more like Bukowski."

And Bjork turns one of e.e. cummings' sonnets into sonic genius.


It was a proud moment when I realized all on my own, back in high school, that "Killing an Arab" by The Cure was directly influenced by Camus' "The Stranger".

I also love Tori Amos referencing Neil Gaiman's "Snow Glass Apples" and other works in multiple songs.

the little reader

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Deep Blue Something.


Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights"


I love 10,000 Maniacs. I think that Hey Jack Kerouac and Gold Rush Brides were inspired by books.


The Sheltering Sky, referenced in Tea in the Sahara by The Police.

Dana Rodriguez

I have to agree with the Kate Bush "Wuthering Heights" pick


quite appropriate--'sheila take a bow' is a reference to shelagh delaney, the playwright (a taste of honey) on the cover of louder than bombs


Amanda, you are so on target with the Cure and Killing an Arab! I love that one, the whole album, actually.


Hold Steady: "There are nights when I think that Sal Paradise was right / Boys and Girls in America, they have such a sad time together."

How about how Steely Dan got their name? Or Ryan Adams' song Sylvia Plath?

Mark F

Ramble On by Led Zeppelin - the hardest-rocking allusion to J.R.R. Tolkien that has ever been or will ever be created.


Charlotte Sometimes by The Cure

Great thoughts on the intersection of music and literature (and thanks for a reminder on the many reasons to love NYC)!

Nick Hornby is my all time classic author with a heavy influence on music... But the newly released debut from Peter Bognanni, HOUSE OF TOMORROW, effectively uses punk rock to depict the emotions and feelings of his teenage characters, as well as bring them together through the lyrics of the Misfits and the Ramones: All the girls are in love with me. I'm a teenage lobotomy!

Maybe taken out of context it doesn't seem as strong, but for an angst-ridden teenage boy, solace is in the lyrics!


Mimi -That reminds me! There's now a band called Charlotte Sometimes.

Kelly Allen

How about The Indigo Girls - Virginia Woolf. A beautiful tribute to the writer & her work.

Dawn Frederick

Not even an allusion, a tribute. "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors" by Moxy Fruvious. I hope that's the right title to the song :)


I like that goofy song Fire sung by Bruce Springsteen (among others) which includes the lines:
Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah....


Man, "Hey Jack Kerouac" by 10000 Maniacs always makes me smile. And your example, The Police & Lolita, is geek-trivia for me.


Rush's Tom Sawyer.

The comments to this entry are closed.