Playlist - Skint & Demoralised's favourite songs inspired by poems featuring Nick Cave, Pet Shop Boys, The Stones, Dylan & more
"Many big artists took inspiration directly from poetry," says Matt Abbott, frontman to Yorkshire act Skint & Demoralised. He should know, he is one. The 23 year-old formed the group in 2007, who quickly became known for their mix of performance poetry and Arctic Monkeys-esque backing, landing a Q Next Big Thing award in August 2008. "I deliberately chose the most mainstream examples that I could think of to demonstrate how big a role poetry plays in influencing and inspiring popular music," says Abbott of his poetry inspired Playlist. "Although they didn't make it onto the list, there's no doubt that the likes of The Libertines, The Jam and Arctic Monkeys were inspired by poetry at times, as well as The Beatles of course."
The Doors - Not to Touch the Earth
"This track emerged from Morrison's epic poem Celebration Of The Lizard, which contained many different pieces ranging from poems and musical interludes to spoken word dialogues. Not To Touch The Earth was the only segment that was successfully immortalised in song and features on their 1968 album Waiting For the Sun. While this is the only song that is specifically cited as being a poem originally, it's impossible to doubt that other Doors lyrics were originally in this format."
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand
"The inspiration for this song comes from a line in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, which also contains the phrase Red Right Hand which Cave obviously then used to christen the song."
Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls
"Neil Tennant has cited two inspirations for this track: first of all The Message by Grandmaster Flash and secondly the poem Wasteland by T.S. Eliot. The line just you wait till I get you home is a direct quotation from the poem."
Bob Dylan - Beyond Here Lies Nothin'
"The title of this song is a quote from the ancient Roman poet Ovid. Again, it is hard to find reference to the specific piece, although Dylan himself has credited the poem as having inspired the lyric. Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman, took his stage name in part from Welsh romantic poet Dylan Thomas. He also references Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot in my personal favourite of his, Desolation Row."
The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil
"The initial inspiration for this song came from the work of French poet Charles Baudelaire. While Jagger fails to credit the specific poem, he remembers reading a lot of Baudelaire's work in a book that was given to him by then girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. He also credits Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master And Margarita."
The Cure - How Beautiful You Are
"The lyrics to this track are almost identical to a poem by Charles Baudelaire; a piece written circa 1869 entitled The Eyes of The Poor."
Leonard Cohen - Suzanne
"Leonard Cohen was a poet first and a singer second. It was only when he struggled to find success with his poetry that his friends suggested he attempt to perform them in song format instead. This is one of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs and was indeed originally a poem."
Johnny Cash - Ring Of Fire
"The lyrics to this song were written by June Carter Cash - June Carter at the time - and they take inspiration from the poem Love's Ring Of Fire by Bob Johnston. June saw the line Love is like a burning ring of fire underlined in one of her uncle AP Carter's Elizabethan poetry books."
John Cooper Clarke - Beasley Street
"As with the examples for The Doors and Leonard Cohen, this John Cooper Clarke track was originally a poem. JCC himself has a large cult following based specifically on his work as a performance poet, and for many his musical recordings were nowhere near as appealing as his spoken word pieces. As a huge fan of JCC myself, I have to say that the vast majority of his songs really don't work. However, Beasley Street is a shining example and sets a stunning backdrop to undoubtedly one of his finest works."
The Divine Comedy - Lucy
"Several songs on The Divine Comedy's 1993 album Liberation are based on and inspired by literary works. The track Lucy is an amalgamation of three of The Lucy poems by English romantic poet William Wordsworth."
For more and to hear music head to Skintanddemoralised.co.uk
11:18 AM | 19/02/2012
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