14 songs about writing

What is your favorite song about writing? Here are 14 to choose from.

This week, let’s have a little fun and inspiration. While most songs are about mushy stuff, like love and romance, or about painful stuff, like heartbreak and social turmoil, there are some songs about writing or at least paying tribute to writers.

Here are a few of them:

14 songs about writing

Paperback Writer (by The Beatles)

Is there a more classic song about writing than Paperback Writer by The Beatles? I think not. We won’t reproduce the whole lyrics for all the songs, but for this one … oh, yeah.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

It’s the dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn’t understand
His son is working for the Daily Mail
It’s a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

Paperback writer

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few
I’ll be writing more in a week or two
I can make it longer if you like the style
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

If you really like it you can have the rights
It could make a million for you overnight
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

Paperback writer

Every Day I Write the Book (by Elvis Costello)

Life as a book. Writing a book as a metaphor for going through life. Full lyrics for this one, too. Here’ an accoustic, live version

Don’t tell me you don’t know what love is
When you’re old enough to know better
When you find strange hands in your sweater
When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote
I’m a man with a mission in two or three editions
And I’m giving you a longing look
Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book

Chapter One we didn’t really get along
Chapter Two I think I fell in love with you
You said you’d stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three
But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four, Five and Six

The way you walk
The way you talk, and try to kiss me, and laugh
In four or five paragraphs
All your compliments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks

Don’t tell me you don’t know the difference
Between a lover and a fighter
With my pen and my electric typewriter
Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal
I’d still own the film rights and be working on the sequel

Book of Love (by The Monotones)

Comparing the lyrics between Book of Love and Everyday I Write The Book, one can easily imagine where Elvis Costello might have found his inspiration. Full lyrics for this one, too – last one, I promise.

I wonder, wonder who, who-oo-ooh, who
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

Tell me, tell me, tell me
Oh, who wrote the Book Of Love
I’ve got to know the answer
Was it someone from above

(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, mmbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

I love you darlin’
Baby, you know I do
But I’ve got to see this Book of Love
Find out why it’s true

(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, mmbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

(Chapter One says to love her)
(You love her with all your heart)
(Chapter Two you tell her you’re)
(Never, never, never, never, never gonna part)
(In Chapter Three remember the meaning of romance)
(In Chapter Four you break up
(But you give her just one more chance))

(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, mmbadoo-ooh, wWho)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

Baby, baby, baby
I love you, yes I do
Well it says so in this Book Of Love
Ours is the one that’s true

(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, mmbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

(Chapter One says to love her)
(You love her with all your heart)
(Chapter Two you tell her you’re)
(Never, never, never, never, never gonna part)
(In Chapter Three remember the meaning of romance)
(In Chapter Four you break up
(But you give her just one more chance)

(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, mmbadoo-ooh, Who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

Baby, baby, baby
I love you, yes I do
Well it says so in this Book Of Love
Ours is the one that’s true

(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, mmbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)
I wonder who (yeah)
Who wrote the Book Of Love

If You Could Read My Mind (by Gordon Lightfoot)

This song compares life and love to a movie script and to a paperback novel. Below are the lyrics for the verse built on the concept of a paperback novel.

If I could read your mind, love
What a tale your thoughts could tell
Just like a paperback novel
The kind the drugstores sell
When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just too hard to take

Write Your Story (by Francesca Battistelli)

This is a song to God, totally about writing a story, but not in the conventional sense, of course. Nevertheless, like the songs above, this one carries with writing a story as a metaphor for living life.

I’m an empty page
I’m an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make Your mark

Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won’t You write Your story on my heart

I Write the Songs (by Barry Manilow)

We go from writing books and lives to writing songs. There are quite a few of this nature, but here is just one.

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

Your Song (by Elton John)

And here is another one. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. If I left this one out, I would be skewered in the comments. Below is the verse that actually mentions the writing process.

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses well they’ve got me quite cross
But the sun’s been quite kind while I wrote this song
It’s for people like you that keep it turned on

Songs about writing letters

Some love songs are also songs about writing, especially when it comes to writing love letters. That is, assuming anybody remembers what a love letter is. These days people tend to send misspelled text messages instead.

Tear Stained Letter (by Patty Loveless)

So we get a heartbreak song on our list of writing songs, anyway. This is a great fiddlin’ tune about that sad, sad letter that arrives. Below are the lyrics of the refrain.

Whoa, Oh, Oh Lord, Lord
Cry and Cry if it makes you feel better
Set it all down in a tear-stained letter
Whoa, Oh, Oh lord,Lord
Cry and cry if it makes you feel better
Set it all down in a tear stained letter

Tear Stained Letter (by Johnny Cash)

She might have got that tear stained letter from Johnny Cash, since it appears that he sent one. The lyrics for one of the verses are below.

I’m gonna write a tear stained letter:
Put it special delivery.
‘Cause it’s gonna be full of stuff,
That’s only known to you and me.
‘Bout how every time I get turned on,
You turn me off and bring me down.
It’ll be about the darkest news,
That ever did arrive in your hometown.
It’ll be about the saddest thing,
Your mailman ever did bring around.

Take a Letter, Maria (by R.B. Greaves)

No tears in this one, just heartache. And divorce. And a new romance, perhaps. But most importantly, another letter to write. Below is the refrain.

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife
Say I won’t be coming home, gonna start a new life
So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife
Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

The Letter (by The Box Tops)

On a happier note, my baby just wrote me a letter. That is the message in the refrain below.

Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn’t live without me no more
Listen mister, can’t you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah!

Sounds of Silence (by Simon and Garfunkle)

So far, we have written letters and books, on paper and on hearts. Now let’s write on the wall. Below is the final verse of Sounds of Silence.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming.
And the sign said, The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence.

I Am a Rock  (by Simon and Garfunkle)

And below is the last verse of another great Simon and Garfunkle hit, where we get to hide in our books and in our poetry. And do they ever look young in this video!

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Shakespeare (by Miranda Cosgrove)

This one is not about writing at all. It’s not even about Shakespeare. But it does bear his name, so let’s include it in our list, just for fun. Below are the lyrics from the refrain.

Do you like Shakespeare? Jeff Buckely?
Watching movies on Sunday?
Do you like kissing when it’s raining?
Making faces in the station?
Do you like, I need to know
What do you like? before you go, oh oh

Did I leave out any of your favorites? Feel free to mention them in the comments. I am sure there are dozens I’ve missed.

About David Leonhardt

is President of The Happy Guy Marketing, published author, a "Distinguished Toastmaster", a former consumer advocate, a social media addict and experienced with media relations and government reports.

Read more about David Leonhardt



Comments

  1. Hi David,

    What an amazing post. Some different. This is my first time to reading this kind of post.

    All the songs are wonderful. Glad to visit this post.

    Thanks for sharing with us. have a nice day!

  2. What a great collection, thanks for doing this.

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