The influence of Edgar Allan Poe on the art of music has been considerable and long-standing, with the works, life and image of the horror fiction writer and poet inspiring composers and musicians from diverse genres for more than a century. Edgar Allan Poe ‘s works have been inspiration for many rock and metal songs.
“The Raven” is a narrative poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849). First published in January 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, tracing the man’s slow fall into madness. The lover, often identified as being a student, is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem makes use of a number of folk, mythological, religious, and classical references.
Edgar Allan Poe > Quotes
“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
“I have great faith in fools – self-confidence my friends will call it.”
“Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”
“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.”
“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active – not more happy – nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.”
“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”
“Invisible things are the only realities.”
“The Dark Side of Romanticism”
“Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music, without the idea, is simply music; the idea, without the music, is prose, from its very definitiveness.”
― Edgar Allan Poe
In 1974, English rock band Queen recorded the song “Nevermore” based on “The Raven” for their second album “Queen 2”.
The psychedelic band The Glass Prism released an album in 1969 entitled “Poe Through the Glass Prism,” with the lyrics coming entirely from various poems by Poe. “The Raven” was the single from the album.
The band Kennelmus released the song “The Raven” on their 1971 album “Folkstone Prism” with lyrics derived from the poem.
The Alan Parsons Project album Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976) includes a song based on “The Raven” and entitled the same, but with only two verses.
A musical variation of “The Raven” was performed by the Grateful Dead during Space on April 19, 1982.
The black metal band Carpathian Forest used the first two verses of the poem for “The Eclipse / The Raven” on their EP Through Chasm, Caves and Titan Woods (1995).
The gothic metal band Tristania released a track titled “My Lost Lenore” on Widow’s Weeds (1998). It is clearly inspired by this poem, but does not incorporate the poem as part of the lyrics. The entire album is in fact reminiscent of The Raven.”The Ravens” is another song inspired by the poem, although its main theme is terrorism.
The German black metal band Agathodaimon quotes “The Raven” in the song “Les Posédes” on their 1999 album Higher Art of Rebellion.
A song based on “The Raven” appears on the Grave Digger album The Grave Digger (2003), alongside other songs based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe.
Lou Reed’s 2003 album The Raven is based on Poe’s work, including his own version of The Raven in a song by the same name.
The song Kremlin Dusk, from Japanese pop star Utada Hikaru’s English-language album Exodus (2004), begins “All along, I was searching for my Lenore/In the words of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe/Now I’m sober and “Nevermore”/Will the Raven come to bother me at home.” It also refers to the “dying ember” line in the poem.
Seattle, Washington metal band Nevermore got its name from the repeated refrain in “The Raven”. The band also referenced it in the title track from their 2005 album This Godless Endeavor.
The Dutch neoceltic pagan folk band Omnia put a slightly edited version of the poem to music as the second track on their 2007 album Alive!.
The American gothic horror band Nox Arcana released a CD entitled Shadow of the Raven in 2007. Three songs—”Midnight Dreary”, “The Raven” and “Nevermore”—as well as the album’s title, are direct references to the poem.
The German symphonic metal band Xandria included the quote “Thus spoke the raven, ‘Nevermore'” in their song Ravenheart, which is inspired by the poem as well.
The Christian third-wave ska band Five Iron Frenzy quotes many of Poe’s lines in “That’s How The Story Ends”, from The End Is Near, and alludes ironically to the mysterious and somber mood of “The Raven”.
The song “Campanas en la Noche” (“Bells in the Night”) by the Argentine rock band Los Tipitos, the tale of a man wishing for the return of his lover, is loosely based on the poem. This relationship is even more evident in the song’s video, which features the bust of Pallas and the titular raven itself.
Rapper MC Lars released the track “Mr. Raven” on The Laptop EP, quoting some lines directly from the poem and modifying others (e.g. “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I kicked it weak and weary”).
The Canadian artist Nash the Slash included an instrumental track called “Lost Lenore” on his vinyl album The Million Year Picnic.
The Devil Wears Prada used a track of a man reading a part of “The Raven” as a part of an introduction to concerts during a 2008 tour with Underoath. The piece led into the ending breakdown in the song “Goats on a Boat”.
Swiss folk metal band Eluveitie released a track titled “Quoth the Raven” on their 2010 release Everything Remains As It Never Was portraying the Raven as the harbinger of death.
The Band known as “Circus Contraption” had the lyric “Nevermore the raven said and then he fell upon his head the poor bird lost his balance in flight” in their song “We Are All Mad”.
Spoken at the end video for the Thirty Seconds to Mars song ‘Hurricane’ are the lines “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before”.
In 2013, English musician Steven Wilson released The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories), featuring songs based on Edgar Allan Poe’s works, with the title track “The Raven That Refused to Sing” based directly off the poem.
Necrophagia entitled one of its songs “Rue morgue disciples” which is obvious refer to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”
The song “From Childhood’s Hour” from Norwegian progressive metal band Circus Maximus is based on Poe’s poem “Alone”.
Green Carnation a progressive metal band from Norway – Alone
The White Stripes, a Garage Rock duo from Detroit, references Poe’s short story, “The Masque of the Red Death”, with their single titled “Red Death at 6:14”.
Songs inspired by other works Bob Dylan’s 1965 song “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” makes reference to “Rue Morgue Avenue”.
Album Songs of Terror – A Gothic Tribute to Edgar Allan Poe (Various Artist):
- 1. Midnight Configuration - Decline & Fall (The Fall Of The House Of Usher)
- 2. Kommunity FK - Undulate (The Devil In The Belfry)
- 3. Desmo Donte - Nevermore (The Raven)
- 4. Wreckage - Come The Night (Ligeia)
- 5. Imortalis Amor - Closer To My Death (And Other Words Of Love) (The Pit & The Pendulum)
- 6. Stone 588 - Momento Mori (The Masque Of The Red Death)
- 7. Faith And The Muse - Through The Pale Door (The Haunted Palace)
- 8. Trance To The Sun - Virginia's Lament (Music)
- 9.Stun Gun - Silence In My Solitude (Dream Land)
- 10.Jennifer Hope - Dream Within A Dream (A Dream Within A Dream)
- 11.Fear Cult - Evil Eye (The Tell-Tale Heart)
- 12.Cruciform - Alone (Alone)
- 13.Cinema Strange - Legs and Tarpaulin (King Pest)
- 14.Ex Voto - The Assignation (The Assignation)
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