Artists take inspiration from a myriad of different sources. Vincent van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night was of a real cafe called Le Cafe la Nuit in Arles, France. Meanwhile, John Constable’s The Hay Wain was inspired by farming activity outside Willy Lott’s House in the English county of Suffolk.
Architects take inspiration from a whole host of sources, such as the Dancing House in Prague which Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry designed to create an impression of movement. The twists of the structure and the angled support legs make one part of the building look like a woman wearing a dress, and although it is completely stationary, it looks as though it’s moving.
Musicians are no different. They take inspiration for their songs from a variety of sources. Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill was inspired by the area in which he used to live, while Nirvana’s hit song Smells Like Teen Spirit drew inspiration from an odd comment made to Kurt Cobain by a friend who allegedly accused him of smelling like “women’s deodorant”.
Sport as an Inspiration
Sport is another source of inspiration for musicians as it can conjure up the whole spectrum of human emotions. Sporting events, particularly important games like cup finals and playoffs can turn into emotional roller coasters for fans as they cheer on their team, celebrating victories and consoling themselves after defeats.
Here are some of the best songs inspired by music.
Garth Brooks – Two of a Kind Working on a Full House
Country music is famed for songs that discuss relationships and Garth Brooks’ 1991 song, Two of a Kind Working on a Full House is no exception. It was originally recorded by Dennis Robbins but with limited success.
Brooks uses a metaphor from poker, a game that is played in almost every casino around the world, from online casinos like Paddy Power Casino to lush brick-and-mortar venues such as the Kurhaus of Baden-Baden. Brooks describes his relationship with his partner as “two of a kind” while they’re “working on a full house” meaning they’re working to build a life together.
The metaphor works because a “full house” is one of the highest-ranking poker hands, while it can also literally mean having a house full of people that he and his partner have worked on together.
He continues the metaphor throughout, describing his partner as his “lady luck”.
It contains many of the classic elements you find in country music, with a fiddle and an upbeat tempo. This helped it reach number one in the US Hot Country Songs and Canada Country Tracks charts.
DJ Visage – Formula ‘98 (Schumacher Song)
The Danish musician, DJ Visage released a song titled Formula in 1997 after meeting a German music producer at the Italian Grand Prix in 1997. Taking inspiration from the sport, they released a song titled “Formula”, which topped the Ultratop 40 chart in Belgium for five weeks and climbed as high as third in the Dutch Top 40.
The song was re-released the following year titled Formula ‘98 (Schumacher Song). Several other versions were also made, including a “Formula 06” remix that includes the lyrics “Schumacher ist Weltmeister” (which means Schumacher is World Champion in German). Despite this, the Formula ‘98 version is the one used the most today.
The song starts with engine noises from a Formula 1 car that roar to the high-tempo beat. It is a classic techno song that was particularly popular in Europe during the 1990s. As a result, it contains many typical techno elements including a heavy beat and bassline and other sounds produced by a synthesiser.
Formula ‘98 was particularly popular in Germany since Michael Schumacher was setting records as the most successful German Formula 1 driver of all time after winning two World Driver’s Championships and challenging for more.
Survivor – Eye of The Tiger
While most people associate the 1982 song with the original Rocky film, few know that Eye of The Tiger was created by Survivor especially for it. In fact, Sylvester Stallone approached the band directly, suggesting that they collaborate on creating an iconic soundtrack for the film.
Survivor originally suggested a ballad called “Ever Since The World Began”, but Stallone rejected it as he was looking for something much more upbeat and adrenaline-inducing. He sent copies of Rocky to the band so they could get a better feel for the movie.
Originally, Survivor was only a cut-down version that lasted 20 minutes, but Survivor asked to see the full film, claiming that it was necessary to get a better understanding of what was required. In reality, they just really liked the film and wanted to see how it ended.
When Stallone first heard Eye of The Tiger, he fell in love with it, using the copy he was sent that hadn’t yet been through post-production.
The aggressive beats that come out of nowhere at the beginning of the song perfectly depict a boxer landing punches on his opponent, with a hook that’s followed by several jabs in quick succession.
The song was later released as a stand-alone single and immediately shot to number one in the US singles chart. It remained at the top for seven weeks and continues to be a popular song today.
Kurtis Blow – Basketball
Basketball is a hip hop song released in 1984 by Kurtis Blow. It contains little in the way of metaphors and instead, Blow talks directly about the sport and his love for it. He raps lyrics “basketball is my favourite sport” and “I like slam dunks”, leaving the listener in no doubt of his feelings towards the game.
The song had mediocre success on its release, reaching 29th place in the US Billboard Hot Black Singles chart and 71st place in the US Billboard Hot 100 cart. More recently though, it was used in the official NBA 2K12 video game as the soundtrack for its introduction.
Lil’ Bow Wow covered the song in 2002 for use in the soundtrack to the film Like Mike. Although the cover appeared in music charts in Germany and Switzerland, it didn’t rank as high in the main US Billboard chart.