T.S. Eliot and rock music
Elizabeth Willse
September 22, 2010
"I enjoyed the rhythms of the language....Maybe that’s what gave me the idea that The Waste Land ought to be a rock opera. Sorry, Andrew Lloyd Weber, I’d prefer you sit this one out, in favor of something more darkly electronic. Just to capture the way reading it was spooky and dystopian, completely out of step with a sunny Sunday."
albeit a sample of young taste
Some picks from Wikipedia:
-- The lyrics to the Genesis song "Cinema Show" (from 1973's Selling England by the Pound) are an adaptation of the typist and young man scene from "The Fire Sermon" section of The Waste Land. Compare "Home from work our Juliet clears her morning meal" (Genesis) to "The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast" (Eliot); "weekend millionaire" (Genesis) to "Bradford millionaire" (Eliot), etc.
-- The Rush song "Open Secrets" (from 1987's Hold Your Fire) includes the line "That's not what I meant at all" (cf. "That is not what I meant at all" from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock").
-- The Manic Street Preachers song "My Guernica" includes the line "Alfred J. Prufrock would be proud of me".
-- The band Crash Test Dummies released a song called "Afternoons & Coffeespoons" from the album God Shuffled His Feet in the early 1990s. This song, too, borrows from and pays homage to "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
-- In Melbourne band TISM's song "Mistah Eliot - He Wanker," there are numerous references to Eliot. One such line is; "T. S. Eliot lost his wallet when he went into town/Serves him right for hangin' round with the likes of Ezra Pound."
-- London rock band Million Dead's album A Song to Ruin was greatly influenced by The Waste Land, especially the 14 minute closer to the album, "The Rise and Fall".
-- Leeds rock band The Third take their name from the stanza in The Waste Land beginning "Who is the third who walks always beside you?". They often use a recorded reading of this by Scottish poet Johnny Solstice over an electronica piece as introductory music to their live sets.
-- The Allman Brothers Band possibly titled their well-known 1972 album Eat a Peach from the line "Do I dare to eat a peach?" from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock".
-- King Crimson's "The Deception of the Thrush" takes its title from the Eliot Poem "Burnt Norton" and the lyrics are sampled from a reading of The Waste Land.
-- Lead singer Andrew Schwab of the Christian rock band Project 86 was heavily influenced by Eliot and wrote the song "Hollow Again", which includes, among others, the repeated line "This is how the world ends..." from Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men".
-- The progressive rock group Gentle Giant has an album entitled "Eat the Peach", their answer to the question in "The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock"
Selling England by the Pound (Genesis

"By the Ezra Pound, no doubt -- seriously, the influence of T.S. Eliot and other early 20th century literary figures crops up throughout the opening and closing portions of this album, with the rest of the songs given over to more conventional subject matter.~ Bruce Eder
All music guide to rock: the definitive guide to rock, pop, and soul
By Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, p. 456.