I challenged myself to compile a list of songs about writers and writing. Of course, I could have just searched for a list online, but I wanted this to be a real challenge, so I limited myself to songs that I already have in my personal music collection. Sadly, I don’t know any songs about copywriters or editors, so I have expanded the list to include novelists, poets, songwriters, and book lovers.
(Song titles are linked to YouTube videos when available. Be advised that some songs contain adult language and subject matter.)
1. Paperback Writer
Songwriters: John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Recording Artists: The Beatles
Premise: A writer is desperate for publication.
Songwriters: Guy Clark, Ray Stephenson, and Joe Leathers
Recording Artist: Guy Clark
Premise: Ode to Hemingway’s taste in strong whiskey.
Songwriter: Mary Gauthier
Recording Artist: Mary Gauthier
Premise: Post-breakup advice from a songwriter.
Songwriter: Mickey Newbury
Recording Artist: Mickey Newbury
Premise: Hermit has poems rejected by the New York Times.
5. A Poem on the Underground Wall
Songwriter: Paul Simon
Recording Artists: Simon & Garfunkel
Premise: A poet (or graffiti artist) uses a crayon to write a one-word poem on a subway wall.
6. There She Goes, My Beautiful World
Songwriter: Nicholas Edward Cave
Recording Artists: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Premise: The loss of a creative muse leads to writer’s block.
7. Sylvia Plath
Songwriters: Ryan Adams and Richard Causon
Recording Artist: Ryan Adams
Premise: Man pines for a girlfriend similar to the troubled writer.
8. Lady Writer
Songwriter: Mark Knopfler
Recording Artists: Dire Straits
Premise: Bitter television viewer compares female writer to a former girlfriend.
Songwriter: Willie Nelson
Recording Artist: Willie Nelson
Premise: Country music executives should write their own songs before judging songwriters.
Songwriters: Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner, and T. Williams
Recording Artists: Rockpile
Premise: A man plans to write a memoir of his romantic failures.
And a few honorable mentions:
Everyday I Write the Book
Songwriter: Elvis Costello
Recording Artists : Elvis Costello and The Attractions
Premise: The phases of a romance are compared to the chapters in a book.
Songwriters: Jimmy Buffett and Mac McAnally
Recording Artist: Jimmy Buffett
Premise: Book lovers find romance in (you guessed it!) the library.
Songwriter: Rupert Holmes
Recording Artist: Rupert Holmes
Premise: Man responds to a personal ad—written by his current girlfriend. (Okay, this one is a stretch. But it’s still a catchy tune!)