Sometimes books use music and sometimes musicians use books


Listed below are 8 songs inspired by books – interesting to see where musicians have got their inspiration from and what impact a book can have. There are plenty more songs inspired by books – maybe some more tenuous in their links than others.

  1. Scentless Apprentice by Nirvana inspired by Perfume by Patrick Suskind. It was Cobain’s favourite novel, and the inspiration behind the tale of a man with no sense of smell
  2. The Ghost Of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen was inspired by Steinbeck’s Great Depression novel Grapes Of Wrath which introduced the world to the down-on-his-luck figure Tom Joad.
  3. We Are the Dead by David Bowie is inspired by 1984 by George Orwell. The title of the track is taken from a recurring line in the novel.
  4. Ramble On by Led Zeppelin has direct reference to The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein: “T’was in the darkest depths of Mordor” and “But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her.”
  5. Who Wrote Holden Caulfield by Green Day is from Catcher in the Rye (one of lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong’s favourite books).
  6. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel inspired by The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
  7. 2+2=5 by Radiohead inspired by 1984 by George Orwell
  8. Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush based on the book of the same name by Emily Bronte

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