Last week, during my radio broadcast, I played a couple of songs whose roots came from classic literature. No, seriously. If I were to tell you, “I have some songs whose subject matter involved some texts from vintage books,” you’d probably say, “Great, Chuck, so what did you play AFTER Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’?”
Well, actually, I decided that this week’s upcoming broadcast – Friday night, 7:00 p.m. on WHCL – will not only have Kate Bush singing her breakthrough hit, but the show will also contain songs from various classic books and texts.
“Nice, Nice, Very Nice,” from Ambrosia, a song that takes its lyrics directly from Chapter 2 of Kurt Vonnegut’s book Cat’s Cradle.
And if you’ve ever read the Southern Gothic short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” then you know the twist ending. But you can also experience the story as the content of “I Cheat the Hangman,” a song by the Doobie Brothers.
I get that this next track is kind of a “push,” in that the characters in this song are more about mind-altering drugs, but hey, it’s easier to link the song to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” right?
And although this wasn’t a major hit at the time, Eurythmics did take the content of George Orwell’s 1984 and crafted a college radio dance hit out of it.
Apparently there’s plenty of songs that have ties to William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies,” enough tracks, in fact, that I could put together a show just dedicated to songs inspired by that book.
And although we’ll never legally have a motion picture based on this book, somehow the Dandy Warhols were able to craft a song based on J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.” Still waiting for a White Stripes creation of “A Perfect Day for Banafish,” but that’s me.
And if you want some reinterpretations of the works of Edgar Allen Poe, I’ve got the Alan Parsons Project’s LP Tales of Mystery and Imagination for you.
So yeah, this is the kind of stuff I work on when I’m trying to craft a themed radio episode. Heck, I could even pull a song that took its lyrics directly from the most published book of all time, the Bible. Hmm… The Byrds’ “Turn Turn Turn” or “The Lord’s Prayer” by Sister Janet Mead? Heck no. I need some German disco from the 1970’s, taken from the Book of Psalms.
So yeah. I’ve got a couple more songs to finish up Friday’s broadcast, then up it goes to the station for broadcast. And hopefully I can convince my professors that, 40 years after the fact, maybe they can bump up one of my English grades retroactively? 😀