24 Awesome Musical Shout-Outs to Literature

    • 21. The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” (1967)


      “If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body; and give the letters which thou find’st about me to Edmund Earl of Gloucester. Seek him out upon the British party: O, untimely death!”


      Although most of us jump to the line “kicking Edgar Allan Poe” when we think of literary allusions in “I Am the Walrus,” the song also contains a large passage from Act 4, Scene 6 of Shakespeare’s King Lear.


      Ring any bells? If not, that’s probably because the lines are competing with a rousing round of “Oompa! Oompa! Stick it up your jumper!” According to legend, King Lear was being performed on the radio at the time of the recording and was later mixed in for effect / to screw with future Paul Is Dead conspiracy theorists.

    • Stephen D says:



      Bob Dylan may be one of the most allusive songwriters around, but it caught my ear in the song “Summer Days” from the Love and Theft album when he snuck in a nice Jay Gatsby quotation: “She says, ‘You can’t repeat the past.’ I say, ‘You can’t? What do you mean you can’t? Of course you can.’

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