(Note: This is a new edition of “Hooks and Books”, a series that once appeared on a now-defunct website.)
In this series, we explore the inspiration behind specific songs. To wit, we examine the connection between certain songs and literature. Without any further adieu, here is the latest group of hooks and books:
“Catcher in the Rye”
This song is from Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy album which hit record racks in 2008. The tune’s title references J.D. Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye. Rose noted that the song was “ inspired by what’s referred to sometimes as Holden Caulfield Syndrome.” He basically blames the novel for John Lennon’s murder.
“Feed My Frankenstein”
This is a song by American singer-songwriter Alice Cooper. It’s included on his 19th solo album titled Hey Stoopid which dropped in 1991. The song was released as an album single the following year. It was inspired in part by Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein. In this case, the monster is the singer’s sexual hunger.
The Swedish group Abba released this pop tune on their 1980 album Super Trouper. It was inspired by Stephen King’s novel, The Stand. Songwriter Björn Ulvaeus said the lyrics concern “the fear that there will come a time when people will want [a fascist dictator] again.” It is also reportedly loosely based on the Middle Age German legend of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
“Welcome to 1984”
The American punk rock group Anti-Flag recorded this song. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based band contributed this punk and folk ditty to the 2007 compilation CD titled Punk Goes Acoustic, Vol. 2. It was inspired by and references George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 which was first published in 1949.
“I Am Ahab”
The Atlanta-based group Mastodon has a love of Herman Melville’s work. Witness their Moby-Dick-based concept album Leviathan. Released in 2004, this is their first concept album. This is another inspired single that’s loosely based on the classic 1851 novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.