Tomes turned tunes
Austra’s track Future Politics was written after reading Inventing the Future: Post-Capitalism in a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams. But it’s not the only song that was inspired by weighty, sociologically-tinged books.
Gravity’s Rainbow Klaxons
The glowstick-waving army of now-defunct nu-ravers Klaxons may not have been aware that the band’s first single was based on the Thomas Pynchon book of the same name, which touched on racism, imperialism, weapons and religion as some of its many themes.
Sympathy for the Devil The Rolling Stones
One of the most recognisable Rolling Stones songs was sparked by The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, an anti-Stalinist tome that satirises the mysterious disappearance of citizens in Soviet Russia. Jagger’s devil plays out the opening of the novel where Satan discusses the existence of God with two Moscovians.
Thieves in the Night Black Star
Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s (above) collaboration tackles the issues of racial identity brought up in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, in which a young black girl wishes for blue eyes. The resulting song questions the choices of the oppressed, who are “still living like mental slaves”.
To pass remark on the election of George W Bush despite Al Gore winning the popular vote, Radiohead used the formula in George Orwell’s 1984 which proved truths can be dictated by those in power. On their current tour, Thom Yorke dedicates the song to Donald Trump and Theresa May, suggesting little has changed since its release in 2003.