(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:
“The Dark is Rising”
This song is by the American rock group Mercury Rev. It was co-written by Jonathan Donahue, Sean Mackowiak, and Jeffrey Mercel. It was inspired by Brit author Susan Cooper’s Gothic fantasy book series of the same name. The song appeared on the band’s fifth studio album All is Dream in 2001.
“Dust Bowl Dance”
This is but one example of the literary influence in Mumford & Sons’ material. This cut is inspired by John Steinbeck’s classic novel Grapes of Wrath. The song is included on the group’s 2009 release Sign No More which gets its name from William Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing.
“Rime of the Ancient Mariner”
This is a song recorded by the Brit heavy metal band Iron Maiden. It was written by Steve Harris. It’s a tuneful re-telling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous work The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The cut was included on the group’s fifth studio platter Powerslave which dropped in 1984.
“Whole Of The Moon”
This is a song recorded by the Scottish-Irish folk-rock band the Waterboys. It was written by Mike Scott. Scott said he couldn’t have written the tune if he hadn’t read Mark Helprin’s book Winter’s Tale. He notes, however, that it’s not about Helprin. The subject is “a composite” of different people including Lewis. The song is from the band’s 1985 CD This Is The Sea.
“Yellow Flicker Beat”
This tune was recorded by the New Zealand singer Lorde. Lorde co-wrote it with Joel Little. It’s off the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 which was released in 2014. The Hunger Games is a series of novels written by Suzanne Collins. The lyrics reference the rise of the book series’ heroine Katniss Everdeen.