Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books and Music

Thank you to the folks at The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this fun Top Ten Tuesday meme each week! Many other bloggers’ picks on today’s theme can be seen here.

Lyrics that would make interesting books

Another fun theme from these imaginative folks! This week’s theme is about music . . . specifically, songs that I think would make interesting books. That topic makes me think of ballads. These songs were all popular in my teenage years and I still enjoy them today. (Click on titles for YouTube viewing.)

The MTA (The Kingston Trio)
Whether it was the Kingston Trio, Brothers Four, or New Christy Minstrels, folk music was and continues to be one of my favorite musical genres. The MTA tells of a man named Charlie trapped on Boston's subway system, then known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The song was originally recorded as a mayoral campaign song for Progressive Party candidate, Walter A. O'Brien.

Well, let me tell you of the story of a man named Charlie
On a tragic and fateful day
He put ten cents in his pocket, kissed his wife and family
Went to ride on the MTA

Charlie handed in his dime at the Kendall Square station
And he changed for Jamaica Plain
When he got there the conductor told him, "One more nickel"
Charlie couldn't get off of that train

Now, ye citizens of Boston, don't you think it's a scandal
How the people have to pay and pay?
Fight the fare increase, vote for George O'Brian
Get poor Charlie off the MTA

Or else he'll never return
No he'll never return and his fate is still unlearned
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned

Reuben James (Kenny Rogers)
Reuben James, which tells the story of a share cropper and the white child he befriended, was the first song I ever heard by Kenny Rogers and is still my favorite of his.

Reuben James, in my song you’ll live again
And the phrases that I rhyme
Are just the footsteps out of time
From the time when I knew you Reuben James

The gossip of Madison County died with child
And although your skin was black
You were the one that didn’t turn your back
On a hungry white child with no name, Reuben James

With your mind on my soul and a Bible in your right hand
You said turn the other cheek
There’s a better world a waiting for the meek
In my head those words remain from Reuben James

The Long Black Train (Josh Turner)
Just watch this video and imagine what stories it could inspire!

There's a long black train comin' down the line
Feeding off the souls that are lost and cryin'
Rails of sin, only evil remains
Watch out, brother, for that long black train

'Cause there's victory in the Lord, I say
Victory in the Lord
Cling to the Father and his Holy name
And don't go ridin' on that long black train

Three Coins in the Fountain (Frank Sinatra)

Three coins in the fountain
Each one seeking happiness
Thrown by three hopeful lovers
Which one will the fountain bless?

Ballad of a Teenage Queen (Johnny Cash)
Girl in love with the boy next door…enticed by all that Hollywood offered…realizes her mistake…comes back to boy next door. Now isn’t that the perfect romance storyline?

There's a story in our town
Of the prettiest girl around
Golden hair and eyes of blue
How those eyes could flash at you
Boys hung 'round her by the score
But she loved the boy next door who worked at the candy store

He would marry her next spring
Saved his money, bought a ring
Then one day a movie scout
Came to town to take her out
Hollywood could offer more
So she left the boy next door working at the candy store

Then one day the teenage star
Sold her house and all her cars
Gave up all her wealth and fame
Left it all and caught a train
Do I have to tell you more
She came back to the boy next door who worked at the candy store

Now this story has some more, you'll hear it all at the candy store

Healing Rain (Michael W. Smith)
To be washed in Heaven’s rain...This video gives me chills. Watch it if you have time. Imagine a book filled with stories of grace, forgiveness and hope!

Healing rain is coming down
It's coming nearer to this old town
Rich and poor, weak and strong
It's bringing mercy, it won't be long

Healing rain is coming down
It's coming closer to the lost and found
Tears of joy, and tears of shame
Are washed forever in Jesus' name

And only You, the Son of man
Can take a leper and let him stand
So lift your hands, they can be held
By someone greater, the great I Am

Healing rain, I'm not afraid
To be washed in Heaven's rain

So many other songs came to mind after I finished this post – like Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry, Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra. What are some of your ideas?


  1. I love Josh Turner. He has several songs that would make interesting book premises! Actually so could Frank Sinatra's. My TTT

    1. You're so right, Maranda! More and more songs started coming to mind after I finished this post. Also, I thought your post was great and I left a comment.

  2. Great list! I have enjoyed reading so many of these posts today. I have zero imagination when it comes to music, so I am impressed with your post. Great idea to use ballads to inspire books.

    1. Beckie, my taste in music is unapologetically dated, but I just don't care for much that's current. I guess that I'm a tradionalist, for even today's country seems loud and just doesn't move me. So glad you took time to look at my list, Beckie.

  3. oooo fun post!! I think Brad Paisley's song "Then" would be another one that would make a great book. He has a lot of great ones that would work actually - "We Danced", "Two People Fell in Love", "It Did", etc. My TTT

  4. Carole, I enjoyed your picks--listened and watched the videos. I don't usually take time to do that, but it was enjoyable. I'm sure, as you mentioned, there are many other songs that have great lyrics and would be interesting books. I was thinking of songs by John Denver, especially. Fun post! Thanks.

  5. Great artists on this list! I've listed to several of Josh Turner's though the title is familiar, the lyrics aren't. I'll have to give it a listen - how intense it sounds! As you say, that'd make a great novel. Also, yay for Michel W. Smith. He's got some amazing songs!

    Thanks so much for visiting Dreaming Under the Same Moon, Carole. As always, I appreciate you being a reader. :)

  6. Oh, I remember Reuben James and Three Coins in the Fountain. A few more songs come to mind that have great stories and would make good books: Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" (they did make that one into a movie); Bread's "Diary"; Elvis Presley's "In the Ghetto"; "Danny Boy sung by several. These are probably going to be coming to mind all day now. :-) In a twist, a song inspired by a book is Andrew Peterson's The Ballad of Jody Baxter" (the main character from The Yearling).

  7. I like your approach to this topic! Long Black Train and Healing Rain would make great stories! And, so would many songs by Johnny Cash.

    My TTT: https://thegreenmockingbird.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/top-ten-tuesday-music-books-or-my-favorite-music-from-book-to-screen-adaptations/comment-page-1/#comment-1251

  8. Great ones here, Carole! I can visualize these! Johnny Cash's always have a story!

  9. I love the song "Healing Rain." Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.