Have you ever thought of how accurate Rock/Metal lyrics about books, movies, paintings and whatnot really are? Sometimes they only bear their titles and sometimes they are just about a part of it.
The first and classic example I can think of is Iron Maiden’s “Murders In The Rue Morgue”, named it after the classic Poe short-story. In the song a guy flees from the police because he committed some murders, whereas in the story the murders are committed by an ape. And if you had never read the story and I just spoiled it for you, I’m sorry. Another example is “Phantom Of The Opera”. The Maiden lyrics don’t exactly depict the love story in Gaston Leroux’s novel. And also “Quest For Fire” which is about the extremely boring movie, but there are no dinosaurs walking the Earth, like the first line in the song says.
However, Iron Maiden is also a great example of rather accurate lyrics. “Where Eagles Dare” (describes the brilliant movie of the same name perfectly) and the obvious masterpiece “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” (based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem of the same name, is probably the greatest lyric ever written about a book, a movie, a poem or whatever. I highly recommend you to read the whole poem to check it out).
Metallicas’ “For Whom The Bell Tolls” is great and if you happen to read the wonderful Hemingway novel, you’ll find out that what is in the lyrics of the song is basically the end of the book (which is natural, after all you can’t write one song and tell the story of a whole book.)
Blind Guardian’s “Lord Of The Rings” is clever. You can’t write one song about a whole book, let alone a trilogy. However, the Germans were really happy in summing up the story in the song, which is very German thing to do: the story is this, no bullshit.
I mentioned paintings earlier because I just recently found out the one of my favorite Queen’s songs “The Fairy Feller Master-Stroke” is based on a painting (that you can see above) by a British artist named Richard Dadd who also wrote a poem to explain his picture. Unfortunately I could never find a picture in a larger enough side to check it out properly. The poem and the lyrics of the song are full of references to old English folklore and Shakespeare.
There are many other examples I could write about here, but those were the ones that came to my mind just now.
Reading: The Red Badge Of Courage – Stephen Crane
Watching: All The President Men
Live: Picture/Grim Reaper (again)
Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal”.
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