A lot of bookish people I know are also obsessed with music. It seems to me that the gene that accounts for compulsive reading and the almost psychotic belief that characters and situations on a page are as real as our next door neighbor and her cat is the same that allows us to catalogue our lives through the music we were listening to at the time important things were happening. In the last weeks of my pregnancy, for instance, I vividly remember sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I also remember walking to Lamaze classes while listening to an odd mix I’d made that included music from Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin, Oasis, and Stevie Nicks, among other wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-on-the-same-tribute-album artists.
Driving in to work this week, I’ve been listening to my latest bizarre playlist featuring Sting’s haunting “Moon over Bourbon Street,” which was, of course, inspired by Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. That tune got me thinking about other great literary songs that I’ve loved, like Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” and Suzanne Vega’s “Calypso.” Literary and music geek that I am, I get positively giddy when confronted with a great song that references a beloved book or literary character.
So, tell me, what are your favorite literary songs? (Maybe my next playlist will be a collection of book inspired music!)
P.S. Here’s a performance of “Moon over Bourbon Street” which offers the added bonus of Sting speaking French: