Rock and Blake

Today would be William Blake’s 258th birthday — and Blake is a huge figure in our consideration of rock and Romanticism. I count nineteen proposals for Rock and Romanticism that make some reference to William Blake, including three about U2 (too many to list here). When I solicited suggestions for the intersections of rock and Romanticism  from a Romanticism listserve, I received most of the following in response. The rest of it I knew of or discovered on my own.

William Blake, general responses

Note: Donald Fitch’s Blake Set to Music provides a comprehensive list up to 1989.

Zoamorphosis is an excellent source of material on Blake and popular culture.

If you’re interested in more on William Blake in popular culture, check out the online gallery for the Blake in the Heartland exhibit.

William Blake, An Island in the Moon Live performance, stage adaptation by Joe Viscomi
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Ulver, Themes from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
William Blake, Milton a Poem, “And did those feet…” Jimi Hendrix, “Voodoo Chile
Emerson, Lake and Palmer, “Jerusalem
William Blake, Poetical Sketches The Fugs, “How Sweet I Roamed
William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience Anda al Sinaia, Songs of Innocence and Experience, “The Clod and the Pebble
Daniel Amos, “Instruction Thru Film” (“The Chimney Sweeper,” Innocence)
Daniel Amos, “Sleep Silent Child
David Axelrod, Song of Innocence
David Axelrod, Songs of Experience
William Bolcom, Songs of Innocence and Experience (2.5 hr. orchestral performance of all of the Songs from the 1950s, highly diverse musically)
The Fugs, “Ah! Sunflower
The Man on the Margin (Italian band), “Songs of Innocence and Experience”
Van Morrison, “Let the Slave
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, “The Clod and the Pebble
Terry Scott Taylor, Knowledge and Innocence
U2, Songs of Innocence and Beautiful Ghost/Introduction to the Songs of Experience
Van Morrison, “You Don’t Pull No Punches, But You Don’t Push the River
Victor Vertunni, “Little Boy Lost” (Part of his Songs of Innocence and Experience Project)
Walter Zimmerman, Songs of Innocence & Experience (1949 string quartet, not remotely rock and roll)
See Martha Redbone above for several individual songs.
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Published by: jamesrovira

James Rovira is Chair and Associate Professor of English at Mississippi College. His monograph, Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety, is available in both paperback and hardcover from Bloomsbury/Continuum. His current book projects include the edited anthologies Interpretation: Theory: History and Rock and Romanticism, both on Wordpress sites.

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