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    19 Songs You Might Not Know Are Based On Books

    This one goes out to the English teachers!

    1. "Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)" by Elton John was inspired by a short story featured in The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury.

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    "The Rocket Man" by Ray Bradbury tells the story of 14-year-old Doug whose father travels to Mars for months at a time leaving him and his mother behind. Bernie Taupin and Elton John tell the story from the father's perspective, "Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids, in fact it's cold as hell."

    2. "Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lorde is based on Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, which is the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy.

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    Lorde's single for the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 film was "her attempt to get inside the head of Katniss." Lorde not only wrote this song, but curated the entire soundtrack for the movie!

    3. "King Kunta" by Kendrick Lamar references Chinua Achebe's 1958 novel Things Fall Apart.

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    The Umuofia community portrayed in the novel rely on yams as their main crop. The ability to harvest yams is a symbol of masculinity and power throughout the story. Kendrick directly references Things Fall Apart when he raps, "The yam is the power that be, you can smell it when I'm walking down the street."

    4. "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush is inspired by the tragic love story of Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

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    Bush captures the same angst and heartache as Brontë did more than a century before her. She tells the love story from Cathy's perspective and even utilizes real lines from the novel throughout her lyrics! "Heathcliff, it's me, I'm Cathy. I've come home, I'm so cold. Let me in your window."

    5. "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" by Lil Nas X is based on André Aciman's 2007 novel Call Me By Your Name.

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    Lil Nas X took the world by storm when he dropped "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)." Similarly, André Aciman made waves with his novel, which told the powerful and intimate love story between Elio and Oliver in 1980s Italy. Lil Nas X shared on Twitter that "this [song] will open doors for many other queer people to simply exist."

    6. "Brave New World" was an Iron Maiden song years after Brave New World was a novel written by Aldous Huxley.

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    Aldous Huxley created a dystopian future when he wrote Brave New World in 1932. In his imagined world, efficiency is valued over human emotion. Iron Maiden drew parallels from this story to life in the '90s. Feelings of anger and contempt for society are highlighted throughout the track.

    7. Soma” by The Strokes is also based on Huxley's Brave New World.

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    The Strokes open this song with, "Soma is what they would take when hard times opened their eyes." This is a direct reference to a drug taken by characters in Brave New World who wanted to numb or erase feelings of uneasiness or unhappiness.

    8. Tom Sawyer” by Rush is based on the Mark Twain classic The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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    Neil Peart, who wrote Rush's lyrics post 1975, wrote "No, his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." When I read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer I saw a twerp who refused to follow the rules. Rush imagined this childhood classic as a rock renegade.

    9. "Love Story" by Taylor Swift takes a page out of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

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    Swift's telling of Romeo and Juliet in "Love Story" certainly has a sweeter ending than Shakespeare's. In the last chorus, Taylor's beau "knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring" rather than killing himself with poison like the original Romeo.

    10. "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey was penned from Daisy Buchanan's perspective in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

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    Gatsby's obsession with Daisy Buchanan is seen through Nick Carraway's perspective in the novel. "Young and Beauiful" tells a completely different story. Lana Del Rey wrote this song with Rick Nowels to play as Daisy's theme music in Baz Luhrmann's 2013 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

    11. Fitzpleasure” by Alt-J is based on Last Exit to Brooklyn, a 1964 novel by American author Hubert Selby Jr.

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    The backing vocals on this track repeats "Tralala," which is the name of a sex worker portrayed in Last Exit To Brooklyn. The lyric, "In your snatch fits pleasure, broom-shaped pleasure" refers to the moment Tralala was gang-raped with a broom handle in the novel's most notorious chapter.

    12. House at Pooh Corner” and “Return to Pooh Corner” by Kenny Loggins are based on A.A. Milne's 1928 book The House At Pooh Corner.

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    This song from Kenny Loggins recalls A.A. Milne's tale of Christopher Robin and his best friend Winnie the Pooh. Loggins wrote the song when he was graduating high school to capture the feeling of growing up and leaving your childhood behind.

    13. "A Tale of 2 Citiez" by J Cole is based on A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

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    Dickens writes about Paris and London during The French Revolution in his classic novel. J Cole retells the story from the perspectives of a drug dealer in Fayetteville and a person trying to "make it" in New York City.

    14. "1984" by David Bowie was inspired by 1984 by George Orwell.

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    George Orwell's vision of 1984 depicted a government that spies on and controls the minds of its citizens. Bowie urges listeners to consider threats to their privacy with lines like, "They'll split split your pretty cranium and fill it full of air" and "Beware the savage lure of ninety eighty four."

    15. "Lolita" by The Veronicas is based off of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

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    Lolita is a novel from Vladimir Nabokov, which tells the disturbing story of middle-aged Humbert Humbert's obsession and molestation of his 12-year-old daughter. The Veronicas 2012 pop rendition of Lolita is much less violent.

    16. "Don’t Stand So Close to Me" by The Police is also inspired by Lolita!

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    The Police also name dropped Nabokov's work with their lyric, "It's no use, he sees her, he starts to shake and cough. Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov."

    17. "The Boredom is the Reason I Started Swimming. It’s Also the Reason I Started Sinking" by The Front Bottoms name drops American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.

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    The Front Bottoms directly call out American Psycho with the lyric, "I wanna feel lethal on the inside. I wanna read American Psycho again." They're referencing Bret Easton Ellis's novel about a Wall Street serial killer who was later notably portrayed by Christian Bale in the film American Psycho.

    18. "Atticus" by The Noisettes is based on Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper E. Lee.

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    The Noisettes open this track with, "To kill a mockingbird is to silence the song." Later the narrator declares, "I have no fear I am Atticus now." Atticus Finch went against societal norms to defend Tom Robinson in court.

    19. "The Ghost of Tom Joad" by Bruce Springsteen is based on a character in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

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    Tom Joad is the protagonist of The Grapes of Wrath. Springsteen's song is set in the '90s but includes parallels to The Great Depression era when the novel was set. Woody Guthrie also has a song titled "The Ballad of Tom Joad."

    Did I miss any literary references in songs? Let me know in the comments!