The best songwriters are really just storytellers with a gift for melody. If you’re like me, some of your favorite songs tell a story that sticks with you, not just because it has a catchy melody or chorus, but because you can relate to a character in the song or the arc of the story.
For years I’ve wanted to take my favorite “story songs” and write my interpretation in prose. Recently I took what I consider to be the most beautiful and melancholic song—Peter Gabriel’s superlative “Here Comes the Flood”—and wrote a short story based on the premise suggested in the song. As a writer, I can never be certain what was in the songwriter’s mind when they penned the lyrics, but, as is true with any art form, its true meaning is found in the mind of the person experiencing the art.
But rather than choose just my favorites, I thought it might be interesting to invite others to suggest their favorite songs with a story. So please leave a comment below with your favorite song and perhaps share why you connect with it. I’ll give it a listen and, if my muse shows up, maybe I’ll make it the subject of my next short story. I’d love to have enough subjects to publish an anthology of stories based on timeless songs.
I look forward to your suggestions. Stay safe. Stay healthy. And support your favorite independent artists.
July 27, 2020 at 5:18 am
A Better Place To Be – Harry Chapin (actually most songs from Harry Chapin tell a story)
July 27, 2020 at 7:22 am
My favorite verse is the 3rd in “Great is Thy Faithfulness” hymn
“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth. Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide: Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings are mine with 10,000s besides.”
July 27, 2020 at 11:30 am
There are several old songs that I’ve begun to listen to again through youtube. One is Do I Have to Come Right Out and Tell You – the flip side of the hit For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield. I could write a story about that song. Someone you like alot, but aren’t quite sure how they feel about you. In My Life, by the Beatles, has always been a favorite of mine. A tribute to those you loved in your life, but are no longer a part of your life..
July 28, 2020 at 8:48 am
Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles. Many of Steve Goodman’s early songs – esp Turnpike Tom. Paul Geramia’s Bright Sunny DAy… sometimes it makes ya feel blue.