Graveside Songs for Edgar Allan Poe's Long-Overdue Funeral

Kicking the bucket at the age of 40 is bad enough, especially when, to this day, nobody's really sure how you died (everything from syphillis to rabies to political "cooping" has been thrown out there as a possible cause). But getting buried in an unmarked grave after a three minute "service" is an indignity usually reserved for pet rabbits that escape from their hutch and die under the sofa. That's why Rocks Off is happy to report that this weekend, 160 years after the fact, Edgar Allan Poe is finally getting a proper funeral.

Why do we care? Because Poe's legacy isn't just confined to the literary. Innumerable musical acts cite the author or The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart as an influence as well. Here are just a handful.

Lou Reed, The Raven (2003)

You gotta hand it to Lou, he isn't exactly hemmed in by convention. This double CD (or truncated single disc, if you're in a hurry) features songs and spoken-word pieces inspired by the Poester. The guest list is pretty impressive, with contributions from Ornette Coleman, Jane Scarpantoni, Laurie Anderson, Steve Buscemi and Willem Dafoe, giving his best Norman Osborn treatment to the titular poem.

MC Lars, "Mr. Raven" (2004)

Well this is...interesting. We have to give props to anyone who can rhyme "[John] Milton" and "Paris Hilton" and give shout out to Michael Moore and somehow make it all work. "Rochester, help me out!"

Iron Maiden, "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1981)

The denim. The mullets. The Maiden. This one is from Killers, the band's second album, and who else but the Irons could write a song about the classic story told from the Ourang-Outang's point of view?

Alan Parsons Project, "The Fall of the House of Usher" (1976)

What's that, Alan? You want to make your first album? And you want it to be a concept piece inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, including a 15-minute rock symphony based on "The Fall of the House of Usher?" Gee, we guess that's all right, seeing as how you just engineered one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.

The Beatles, "I Am The Walrus" (1967)

A throwaway line in a sea of throwaway lines, "Man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe" nevertheless gives significant credence to the theory that the author's death was, in fact, the result of "cooping." Possibly at the hands of someone named "Semolina Pilchard."

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar