Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Classic Jazz Songs that Should Be Books


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature brought to us by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic was about the intersection between music and books. While it may be a little difficult to read while simultaneously listening to music, there can be no denying the connections that exist between the two art forms.

Since one of my favorite playlists on Spotify is Women of Jazz, I decided to pick ten songs from the playlist and imagine them into works of literature, complete with genres and summaries.

“Feeling Good” as sung by Nina Simone–Literary Fiction–one woman learns that her pursuit of self-knowledge is as important as her connection to her home and family. I love this song–finding happiness and freedom in the world is just a beautiful goal and idea.

“At Last” as sung by Etta James–Science Fiction–a woman finds fulfillment by becoming an astronaut. I don’t know why, but I always picture this song taking place in space.

“Fever” as sung by Peggy Lee–Crime/Noir–A gangster’s gal ends up taking over operations with a combination of womanly wiles, cunning, and a undeniable ruthlessness. Because who would suspect the lovestruck bombshell?

“Summertime” as sung by Kat Edmonson–Historical Fiction–A tale of civil rights leaders in the American South during the 1960s. There’s a slow, almost plodding rhythm that reminds me of lazy summer days, but there’s also the sense of something stirring.

“I Put A Spell On You” as sung by Nina Simone–Fantasy–A witch enslaves her abusive father. This song is just so great, and so dark.

“Cry Me A River” as sung by Dinah Washington–Self-Help–A book about standing up for yourself before, during, and after a relationship. This song just tells it like it is, and so do the best self-help books.

“Sway” as sung by Rosemary Clooney–Poetry–The topic of this collection no doubt has something to do with the Caribbean. Something about the rhythm of this song just reminds me of poetry. And palm trees.

“C’est Si Bon” as sung by Eartha Kitt–Historical Fiction–I don’t know the story, but there’s a cafe involved. And plenty of cigarettes and great little hats. But then she gives up the life to marry an American after World War II, and she comes to America and tries to adapt to the life she’s always wanted. This song makes me want to go to Paris.

“All of Me” as sung by Billie Holiday–Romance–Though she never thinks her heart will heal again after her husband leaves her for another woman, she finds a handsome man who shows her otherwise (of course). I mean, one of the songs had to be a romance…

“Dream A Little Dream Of Me” as sung by Ella Fitzgerald–Children’s book–Two children, a brother and sister, don’t want to go to sleep. They end up going on a journey flying into the stars, but they miss their mother enough to go back. She finds them safely in their beds when she goes to wake them in the morning. This song just reminds me of a lullaby.


Do you have a favorite jazz standard? I love that the way they’re sung tells as much as a story as the lyrics. Let me know which one of these you’d most like to read (or if you have an alternative story!) in the comments.



4 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Classic Jazz Songs that Should Be Books

  1. I LOVE your list!!! πŸ™‚ Let’s add “Me and My Gin” by Dinah Washington (historical fiction about a female crime boss in the midst of Prohibition) and Duke Ellington’s “Creole Love Call” (seems like some sort of slow-burning forbidden love affair to me).

    Liked by 1 person

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