5 Songs About Writers

Paperback Writer, The Beatles (1980)

Written primarily by Paul McCartney and credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership, the song was at number one for two non-consecutive weeks. The song’s lyrics are in the form of a letter from an aspiring author addressed to a publisher. The author badly needs a job and has written a paperback book “based on a novel by a man named Lear”.

Hemingway’s Whiskey, Guy Clark (2009)

Written by Guy Clark, Ray Stephenson, and Joe Leathers, the song was put on Kenny Chesney’s album of the same name. The song is about how difficult it is to find inspiration, and compares the singer to Hemingway himself, stating about the whiskey, “If it was bad enough for him, you know it’s bad enough for me.”

Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield (2004)

The song was written by Bedingfield, Danielle Brisebois, and reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Featured in television shows, movies, and video games, the song encourages the listener to do the thing that is in their hearts–to write that which is unwritten–because there is no one who can tell your story better than you.

Lady Writer, Dire Straits (1979)

The song was inspired by Marina Warner, who songwriter Mark Knopfler saw on a TV program. In 1976, Warner, a highly educated polyglot, published a scholarly book about the cult of the Virgin Mary. For some reason, her appearance struck a chord with Knopfler, bringing back painful memories of a love that was no more.

Writer’s Minor Holiday, Calexico (2008)

Lead singer Joey Burns wrote this song. Inspired by the writer’s strike of 2008, Burns said: “I noticed late-night television going into this holding pattern, there being no fresh comedy as a breath of relief from the daily news. That sparked my imagination: I wrote ‘Writer’s Minor Holiday,’ a song about writers with nothing to do, suddenly abandoning Los Angeles. I had this image in mind of this writer staring at a map, maybe a well-worn map that was a little out-dated, just wondering where they should go next.”


What songs about writers have you heard? Let me know in the comments below!

Want more posts in this series? Check them out!

5 Books About Writers

5 Podcasts For Writers

5 Movies About Writers

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