Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts: Library Rock, S-Z

The home stretch!  We’ve almost completed the A to Z of music based on literary works.  This last batch has some nice twists and turns.

“Stormbringer,” Deep Purple:  I mentioned Michael Moorcock when introducing Queen’s “Ogre Battle.”  Here we have an explicit reference to Moorcock’s Elric books.

“Tea In the Sahara,” The Police:  I had to get one Police song in here.  You know the big literary references, so here’s one that is a bit more subtle — Paul Bowles’s The Sheltering Sky.

“Tales Of Brave Ulysses,” Cream: I can’t let a Library Rock playlist go by without a reference to Ulysses, the original action hero.  Stay away from the brown acid and get your wah wah Odyssey on.  (Honorable “U” mention:  Warrant, for name checking Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”)

“Venus In Furs,” Dave Navarro: This is actually a Velvet Underground song based on the Leopold Von Sacher- Masoch novel, but I really like this version.  While I have your attention, here’s a shameless plug for The Confessions of Wanda Van Sacher-Masoch.  How often do you get to read the memoir of someone  who was there when the word “masochism” was coined?

“War of the Worlds,” Jeff Wayne:  This is the most insane, pretentious, brilliant over the top prog album of all time.

“Welcome to the Pleasuredome,” Frankie Goes To Hollywood:    You think I’m giving you another “W,” don’t you?  Wrong!  This is an “X,” as in “Xanadu,” where Coleridge’s Kubla Khan a pleasuredome erected.  Sure, I could have gone with Rush’s “Xanadu,” or the Olivia Newton-John/ELO  travesty of the same name.  But how often in 2011 do you get a chance to trot out Holly Johnson with exception to “Relax”?  From the most brilliantly subversive top 40 album of the mid-Eighties.

You Can’t Kill Michael Malloy,” Spent Poets: This is another stretch.  Michael Malloy was a real person who survived five attempts on his life in insurance fraud scams; however, a pulp novel by Timothy Trent entitled All Dames Are Dynamite was published so technically I’m still on topic.  Primus included a bit of this piece on their album Frizzle Fry.

Zappa, Frank, “Uncle Remus:” Really?  You didn’t expect me to figure out how to work Zappa into the “Z” spot?  And I thought we were friends.  Uncle Frank name checks the fictitious narrator of the Brer Rabbit tales in this cut from Apostrophe.

There it is, an A-Z of library rock.  I think I’m going to go read a book now.


Related “Why It Matters” pieces:

6 replies »

  1. Can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed these A-Z posts. Thanks for the reminder that music and literature goes together like peanut butter and jelly! Or something fancy….like um…cavier and…what goes with that?


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