Alright, so in case you were too lazy or "busy" at work last week to keep up with all of the comments about songs that reference literature, here is a comprehensive list of what everyone came up with:
Layla by Derek and the Dominoes (made like, totally popular by Eric Clapton's solo work)
• The song title comes from a Persian poem called The Story of Layla written in the 12th century, which is about a woman whose father forces her to marry a man who is not her true love. This results in the true lover's descent into MADNESS. Chicks, man. You know?
Mother Made Me Do It by Mark Mallman (Oh, this guy is a local!)
Venus in Furs by Velvet Underground
• This light-hearted, family-friendly ditty was inspired by the novella of the same name, written in 1870 by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Both the novella and the song explore themes of sex, sadomasochism, and bondage. There was also a movie! (NSFW)
Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Iron Maiden
• The link is only to part one. This is a 13+ minute song about the epic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This poem is where the term (and band name, I guess) "an albatross" (meaning something that is cumbersome, or a source of guilt) comes from.
Songs by Led Zeppelin about the Lord of the Rings series:
The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen
• This song is in reference to a dude from Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (tl/dw 4:20).
The Crying of Lot G by Yo La Tengo
Paranoid Android by Radiohead
• References to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
(A personal favorite) 'Ol Evil Eye by the Insane Clown Posse
• This is about (among innumerable other amazing things) Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.
Good Morning, Captain by Slint
• This is one of my favorite songs (for realzies), and is also all about Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Phew! That was intense! That's only half the list. Look for the second half later this week!
Courtney Algeo writes, reads, and loves all the people of earth.