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The Best Songs Inspired By Books

January 2017Words by Mr Timothy Noakes

Illustration by Mr Angelo Trofa

Recording an iconic album is much like writing a classic novel – both take patience, skill and an abundance of original ideas. It’s little surprise, then, that authors and musicians look to each other for inspiration during the creation of their masterpieces. A quick perusal of the novelists who have appeared on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, including Messrs Roald Dahl, Robert Harris and Peter Ackroyd, reveals an overwhelming predilection for classical composers such as Messrs Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig Van Beethoven. Yet when you look at the poetry and literature that have inspired some of the greatest rock songs of the past 50 years, the selection is much more eclectic. Here, then, are five of MR PORTER’s favourite book-inspired records, along with an extended playlist of other legendary musical bookworms.