Catherine and Heathcliff inspired Kate Bush. Pink Floyd’s album Animals, so the story goes, is a nod to George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Nabokov’s Lolita was the inspiration for Don’t Stand So Close To Me (The Police, 1980; A&M).
Even Russian poet, Vladimir Mayakovski had an album named in honour of his work – Billy Bragg’s “difficult third album”, Talking With The Tax Man About Poetry.
Does this inspiration work both ways? Can music have the same influence on literature?
I Have Got To Leave To Find My Way
Over the years, I have written several pieces that were inspired by songs.
The beautiful Find the River from R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People (1992, Warner Music) was the catalyst for a short story based on childhood family camping trips. These took place during a very difficult period of my life. The majority of memories from that time are dark and unpleasant.
Thanks to Messrs. Berry, Buck, Mills, and Stipe, I not only ended up with folio filler but also was also able to get rid of rather heavy baggage.
Did I Find You Or You Find Me?
They say that you can choose your friends, but not your family. I for one do not agree with them.
This Must Be the Place is a short story in which the characters chose the families they were born into, but had no control over the friendships that they forged in life.
A little out there, I guess, but then so am I!
The title was inspired by a line from the Talking Heads song This Must Be The Pace (Naive Melody) from the album Speak In Tongues (1983 Sire Records) – “I come home, she lifted up her wings. I guess that this must be the place.”
It Only Takes One Line
Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup…
The first time that I heard those words, I knew that I had to do something creative with my life. Being of all seven years old at the time, I did not understand the meaning of the lyrics. All that I needed to know was that they were – and remain – beautifully mystical.
Across The Universe by The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney, Let It Be, 1970 EMI) is one of the most played songs in my home. Whenever I find life getting on top of me, this song helps snap me out of it and reminds me why I do what I do.
Nothing’s going to change my World.
There have been many cover versions of the song that most inspires me to write. During my time as a radio presenter, I was able to play Across The Universe – in its many variations – on a regular basis. If doing so inspired only one listening, then it was worth it.
When the time comes, the song that inspired my spirit to express itself will send it on its way Across The Universe.
Copyright © 2017 Bronwyn Joy Hansen. All Rights Reserved. Image Record Shop9 by alexunderwood910 [CC2.0] via Flickr