10 Great Songs That Are Actually Inspired By Books

Published on March 16, 2024

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Music and literature have always intertwined, and musicians have a long tradition of drawing inspiration from their favorite books to create musical homages. From timeless classics to modern novels, these songs pay homage to the written word in their own way, attempting to capture the ideas behind each book in a melodic form.

Join us to find out the inspiration behind 10 popular songs that celebrate literature through music.


"Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush

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Kate Bush's haunting ballad "Wuthering Heights" is inspired by Emily Brontë's classic novel of the same name. The song - written by Bush at age 18 - was her debut single and strived to capture the tumultuous love between the novel characters Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, echoing the book’s gothic themes through an ethereal composition punctuated by a gliding guitar solo. Even more, some of Catherine's dialogue from the novel is directly quoted in the lyrics.


"The Trooper" by Iron Maiden

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Iron Maiden's lyrics for "The Trooper" are inspired by Alfred, Lord Tennyson's epic poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" - which, in turn, was inspired by a historical cavalry charge that took place in the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, during the Crimean War.

With a galloping rhythm that evokes the fast-paced action of the soldiers of the Light Brigade and powerful lyrics that pay homage to Tennyson’s prose, "The Trooper" transcended genre boundaries, and is now one of the most popular songs of the band.


"Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones

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One of the band’s many rock’n roll anthems, The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" is mostly penned by Mick Jagger, but it draws inspiration from a couple of sources. In particular, the song derives ideas from the writings of French poet Baudelaire and a novel by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov called The Master and Margarita , a satirical dark comedy where the devil visits the Soviet Union. Interestingly, it was English singer Marianne Faithfull who gave Bulgakov’s book to Jagger, believing he could be interested.


"1984" by David Bowie

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As you would guess, David Bowie's "1984" is inspired by George Orwell's dystopian novel of the same name. Originally, Bowie intended to produce a full-fledged musical out of the novel’s plot, but the owners of Orwell’s state never authorized it. The song's lyrics obliquely hint at the novel’s plot, while playing with the themes of surveillance and government oppression.


"The Ghost of Tom Joad" by Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen's folk-rock ballad "The Ghost of Tom Joad" references John Steinbeck's 1939 classic novel The Grapes of Wrath . Besides borrowing the title character of Tom Joad from the book, the song's lyrics depict the struggles of the working class, echoing the novel's portrayal of poverty and social injustice in the Great Depression era. Springsteen also drew inspiration from Woody Guthrie’s similar song "The Ballad of Tom Joad", trying to stay within the protest song tradition.


"Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin

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Led Zeppelin was known for often finding inspiration in classic fantasy novels, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their folk-rock hit "Ramble On" was directly influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The song's lyrics reference characters and locations from the novels with a modern twist, cleverly leading the audience to realize that Middle Earth’s dangers and delights are both closer than they seem.


"Mrs. Robinson" by Simon & Garfunkel

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Inspired by the character Mrs. Robinson from Charles Webb's novel The Graduate , the song was first composed for the 1967 movie of the same name. Film director Mike Nichols was obsessed with the duo, and reached out to ask them if they could write one or two songs for the film’s soundtrack. While initially doubtful, the band eventually went through with the request, delivering one of their most iconic songs in the process.


"White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane

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Borrowing imagery from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass , Jefferson Airplane’s psychedelic anthem was an instant hit among the hippie crowd of the late 60s, and reached the top of the charts soon after being released. The song's lyrics mirror the surreal and nonsensical elements of Carroll's iconic works while reframing the White Rabbit character as a symbol of countercultural exploration and curiosity.


"Tom Sawyer" by Rush

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Rush's "Tom Sawyer" is a loving exploration of the main character of Mark Twain's classic novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer . The song's lyrics celebrate the adventurous spirit and autonomy of Twain's iconic character while implying that it is referring to an adult - hypothetical version - of the character, who is thus posed as a role model for confronting modernity’s hardships. The iconic song was acclaimed by both critics and fans, and is still one of the most recognized songs from the Canadian rock titans.


"Don't Stand So Close to Me" by The Police


The Police's "Don't Stand So Close to Me" draws inspiration from Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita . The song deals with a controversial topic that mirrors the theme of Nabokov’s novel and references the novel directly in the lyrics. While the song received some backlash for both the subject matter and using some off-putting rhyme techniques (like rhyming "shake and cough" with Nabokov) it still reached the top of the charts, and was the best-selling single of 1980 in the UK.


Discover 10 Cozy Words to Soothe Your Travels

Published on March 16, 2024

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It should come as no surprise that in a world that often moves at a relentless pace, the Danish concept of hygge has garnered international attention for encapsulating the essence of coziness and well-being.

As a term with no direct English equivalent, hygge goes beyond mere physical comfort, encompassing a sense of connection, simplicity, and joy. However, the linguistic treasure of our world offers many more words from various languages that share similarities with hygge, each capturing the beauty of finding solace in life's simple pleasures.



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Let us begin with the word that started this revolution. Originating from Danish culture, hygge encapsulates an entire philosophy of comfort and well-being. The concept revolves around creating a cozy atmosphere, fostering a sense of warmth and contentment through simple pleasures and genuine connections.

Whether it's the warmth of a shared meal or the embrace of loved ones, hygge is an intentional celebration of life's comforting moments. Beyond its mere definition, hygge has become a global phenomenon, influencing lifestyle trends and prompting individuals to adopt its principles, seeking balance and joy in the middle of life's noise.



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While hygge might be a Danish word, its concept is a worldwide quest. The Serbian word merak refers to a feeling of bliss and the sense of being one with the universe that comes from the simplest of pleasures. It represents the pursuit of small pleasures that add up to a sense of happiness and fulfillment, a call to stop and smell the roses.

Spending time with a loved one, sitting on your balcony and watching the day go by, or any other activity that puts you in the moment.



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The German term waldeinsamkeit describes the peace experienced in the solitude of the woods. A union of wald (forest) and einsamkeit (solitude), this word combines the deep connection between individuals and nature.

It is a term that goes beyond mere solitude and embraces a profound sense of oneness with the woods, allowing for introspection and rejuvenation. Even more, waldeinsamkeit stands as a testament to the German affinity for this type of environment and the spiritual solace derived from the forest.



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The Croatian term _fjaka_describes a particular state of mind and being. Originating from the Italian word fiacca, which means "doing nothing", fjaka takes on a unique sense, describing a state of deep relaxation.

It's more than just laziness: It's a surrender to the flow of time, characterized by a sense of peace. Fjaka encourages individuals to take the time to enjoy life and it is an apt description of the Mediterranean philosophy of embracing leisure and finding joy.


Tsavt tanem

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The Armenian term tsavt tanem has more than one meaning depending on the context of the conversation but, in its most literal sense, it means "let me take your pain". It can be said as a way of transmitting sympathy for someone’s difficult situation and is intended to convey tenderness and empathy.

The concept of hygge is represented here in a more spiritual way, in the form of a person giving comfort to another.



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Near the place where hygge was invented, the Dutch have a cozy word of their own: gezelligheid . A similar term to hygge , it means being somewhere with nice people, visiting or doing something with others that makes you feel at ease.

You can often hear Dutch people say that their favorite bar is very gezellig . And like hygge , it can be used at any time of the year but is more closely related to fall and winter.



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The German language also has a cozy word quite similar to the previous one: gemütlichkeit . This one translates simply as "coziness," but it means much more. It’s a warm feeling of comfort in a friendly atmosphere.

A similar meaning in American English could be found in "homey", in the sense that it refers to everything that reminds us of home.



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This Japanese term goes a little deeper than hygge . It translates into "a reason for life," and refers to the broader actions that bring us happiness. For example, does your job fill you with passion and purpose? That is Ikigai. Do your friends fill your life with joy? That is Ikigai as well.

This concept has great importance to the Japanese and it has more to do with a process than with an end in itself. It is considered to be the thing that gets you out of bed each morning.



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One of the closest linguistic cousins to hygge , not only geographically but conceptually, the Norse word fredagskos translates as "Friday coziness", referring very specifically to that Friday feeling we all know and cherish.

Conceptually, fredagskos is about pure indulgence. Take winter as the perfect excuse to trade a night out for a Friday night in: treat yourself to your favorite comfort food on the sofa or curl up and watch TV with a hot chocolate.



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Nestle is a verb that transmits a similar vibe to the concept of hygge . We can nestle against someone for comfort, we can nestle a baby in our arms, or we can also nestle in our bed.

The verb itself comes from the Old English nestlian , which means "to build a nest". That idea eventually evolved into the current meaning of "lying close to somebody or something" in search of warmth and comfort.



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In a similar but not identical realm to nestle , the word nuzzle may be something a pet does more than an individual, but it still does the trick. It means "to affectionately rub your nose and face against someone," and it does transmit a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Nuzzling is a natural physical expression of love and even watching videos of pets and animals nuzzling conveys a warm feeling that can be very easily associated with coziness.



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Canoodling is the pleasure we get from enjoying each other’s company. It can be a canoodle with a good friend: whispering, giggling, and just being together. Or, you can also be canoodling with your partner, watching a movie on a cold evening.

The warmth of being close to someone you care deeply about transmits a feeling that can also be compared to the cozy comfort that is conveyed in the very concept of hygge .

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