Working from Fables

Following on from the discussion of ‘The Day John Henry Died’, I have continued to think about the idea of using a well-known story or fable as the source material for songwriting.

The first one that comes to mind is ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ by Passenger. No prizes for guessing which story it is based on, but it is a really inventive way of telling the story from the first-person perspective of the boy who nobody believes anymore. It has some wonderfully rich sensory imagery to describe the wolf.

Another one I have recently come across is ‘The Chicken’ by Bo Burnham. This one is a rather beautiful reimagining of the backstory behind the question “why did the chicken cross the road”. Taking us through the struggles of a frustrated chicken, dreaming of a better life, we become invested in the narrative of her escaping from the coop and facing one final obstacle.

Please use this thread to share further examples that come to mind of songs based on well-known stories, and also if there are any well-known stories you think have the potential to be told in song form.