Find 10 songs that relate to the book 1984 and explain why you chose that song.

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What an interesting assignment!

Since there is an ongoing war among Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, you could use some anti-war songs:

Eve of Destruction, by Barry McGuire

War, What is it Good for? by Edwin Star

There is a Ministry of Truth in 1984 that "controls" information and, so it is really a ministry of anti-truth, so you could use some songs about truth:

Truth, by DC Talk (Christian Rock)

Brain Washing, by Bob Marley

David Bowie actually wrote a song about truth that was about the novel 1984. It depicts the final brainwashing of Winston.

Big Brother, by David Bowie (from the album Diamond Dogs)

1984, by David Bowie (from the album Diamond Dogs)

Many songs written by Bob Dylan could work because they apply to what would happen if we ever had a world like the one depicted in 1984:

Eve of Destruction, by Bob Dylan

Blowin' in the Wind, by Bob Dylan

Anything by Rage Against the Machine - i.e. Township Rebellion

George Harrison of the Beatles wrote a song called Brainwashed which would be really good.

Good luck!

mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can provide a couple examples.

1.  "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" by Pink Floyd.  In the song it says "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control."  That relates directly to the government and the thought police in the book.

2.  Look at Muse's new album, called The Resistance. Almost every song on there can be tied to 1984.  They have even admitted that 1984 was their inspiration, and that they were referring specifically to it in the lyrics.  For example, they have a song called "The United States of Eurasia"--that is a direct reference to the book.  Then, in "Resistance," it is told from the perspective of Julia and Winston's love relationship ("Love is our resistance" is the chorus line.)  "Uprising" can be tied to how Winston wants to rebel, and to the insane governmental control Big Brother has.  So, there are at least 3 or 4 songs in that album that can be tied in.  Their other albums can also be used, as Muse tends to be very anti-government in general, and into conspiracy theories.

3.  "Mad World" by Michael Andrews.  Its theme chorus can be tied to the insanity that is Winston's world, also to his insecurity and relationship issues.

I am sure that other editors will have further suggestions.  Good luck!

copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are a couple of other songs not yet mentioned:

"Let Down" by Radiohead would tie in nicely with the general plot of the novel and perhaps might facilitate several connections and insight into the story.

Actually, all of David Bowie's Diamond Dogs album was written in response to 1984. I would pinpoint "Candidate" as a particularly strong song to use.

Another song directly inspired by the artist's reading of the novel is Oingo Boingo's "Wake Up (It's 1984)." The lyrics of this song actually comment on much of the goings-on in the book.

The Eurythmics have a song, "For the Love of Big Brother" that is a great articulation of the central theme of 1984.

And, finally, "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen also makes for some wonderful connections as well.

I'm sure there are many, many other songs that could used. These are just a few!

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here's one more to add to your list: "Every Move You Make" by Sting (when he was with The Police).  While the song is often misinterpreted as a love song, Sting wrote it while undergoing a breakup, and if one studies the lyrics, the song should not come across as romantic but rather as controlling.  In an interview in 1993 (see the link below), Sting discussed the song's connotation by stating:

"The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn't realise at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control."
And, indeed, some of the lyrics such as "every move you make, I'll be watching you" evoke an Orwellian feeling.
thewanderlust878 | Student

What a great question!

Here is my list:

  1. Run Boy Run by Woodkid- describes someone who does not fit into society and wants to leave
  2. Satellite by Rise Against - describes a group of people (mostly young) who want to change how society views them
  3. Bedroom Hymns by Florence + the Machine- shows the love that two people share in a time that is not ideal
  4. Iron by Woodkid- depicts a person who starts out innocent and carefree, but must become a hardened warrior who defends what he loves most 
  5. Knights of Cydonia by Muse- describes someone who fights for what he believes in and will not let anyone stand in his way
  6. Savior by Rise Against- depicts a man who desperately tries to save what he loves, but realizes it is slipping through his fingers
  7. Hurricane by MS MR- about a person who knows what is going on around them is wrong, but is scared to do anything because of the thoughts in their head
  8. Conquest of Spaces by Woodkid- about someone who is ready to take on the world and conquer it all
  9. Seven Devils by Florence + the Machine- about an individual who has difficulty determining right from wrong
  10. The Catalyst by Linkin Park- describes a person who changes the world and wants to break out from society 
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