Make the Music: Chapter References in The Corridors of the Dead

This post marks the end of The Corridors of the Dead week, and the bonus material for the book. For those who come here for my writing posts, they’ll start up next week. This little detour has given me time to build up a store of ideas once again, so even if these aren’t your thing, we’ll have more of the old stuff in the near future. But for now…

I’m crazy about music. No kidding. I have an enormous collection of music, ranging from Classical to Jazz to Rock to Country to Hip Hop. I discovered the connection between music and my own writing back in my early teenage years, finding that different songs fit different moods. I’ve talked about this before on my site, and found that a lot of other writers have a similar experience.

For regular readers who are also music fans, you might recognize many of the titles that I use for posts; they’re almost always pulled from a song title or lyric that I feel applies to a post in some oblique fashion. I’ve learned that it’s how I relate to titles of any sort, and I’ve carried it over to The Corridors of the Dead, where each chapter title is an oblique reference of some sort. I thought it might be fun to take a look at the chapter titles and offer either a musical sample or some sort of information on the reference. Of course, not all chapters are references, so I’ve left out those which are not.

Oh and some of these titles do represent spoilers, so proceed with caution.

Chapter 1 – Strange Things are Afoot

The book begins at a Circle K, so it only seemed appropriate to throw in this Bill and Ted reference.


Chapter 2 – Got No Room to Breathe

Yes, Chapter 2 is a Bee Gees reference, to the song “Claustrophobia”.


 Chapter 4 – And I Feel Fine…

Well it is the end of the world as we know it.


Chapter 5 – Just Can’t Wait

A J. Geils Band song. Yeah, really.


Chapter 7 – Have to Believe

Of course, if I have the Bee Gees, Olivia Newton John isn’t out of the question.


Chapter 8 – Take the Skin and Peel it back

From ONJ to NIN.


Chapter 9 – In the Arms of Sleep

The first Smashing Pumpkins reference.


Chapter 10 – I Ran Twenty Red Lights in His Honor

The Stones, man! Far Away Eyes, from the same song with the lyric “I was drivin’ home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield”.


Chapter 11 – Where the Sun Refused to Shine

Lyrics from the Eric Burdon and the Animals song, We Gotta Get Out of this Place.


Chapter 12 – Her Name is Defeat

Jay-Z lyrics, from the song History.


Chapter 13 – I Fight for My Meals

The Who. Duh.


Chapter 14 – The Plan Keeps Coming Up Again

Built to Spill! One of my personal favorite bands.


Chapter 15 – The Center Cannot Hold

Reference to the excellent Yeats poem “The Second Coming”.

Chapter 16 – Love Amongst the Ruins

A 10,000 Maniacs reference, itself a reference to a Browning poem.

Chapter 17 – Where the Sun Refused to Shine

I used this twice, this time as a reference to the Fear version of the song.


Chapter 18 – Under Pressure

Well, duh.


Chapter 19 – We Would be Honored

Reference to this classic scene in the Empire Strikes Back:


Chapter 20 – See What’s on the Slab

From Sweet Transvestite, citing one of the influences in the creation of Azazel.


Chapter 22 – Escape

A Journey song. Proof that these titles are not always references to bands that I like.


Chapter 24 – I’m Your Boogeyman

The Rob Zombie cover, not the original.


Chapter 25 – Have You Had Your Strange?

An Arctic Monkeys B-side.


Chapter 26 – Borderline

The Madonna song.


Chapter 27 – Crestfallen

The second Smashing Pumpkins reference, to the song “Crestfallen”.


Chapter 28 – From the Past Until Completion

A lyric from the New Order song “Blue Monday”, which is important in this scene.


Chapter 31 – I am Become Death

Reference to the Oppenheimer quote upon seeing the nuclear bomb.

Chapter 32 – Fixing a Hole

Two Beatles songs to close up. The first is from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.


Chapter 33 – And in the End…

A lyric from the excellent song “The End”, part of the Abbey Road medley. Love the lyric that follows, “the love you take is equal to the love you make.”


Chapter 34 – Getting to Know You

From The King and I.


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  1. Your chapter titles are such fun! I like it that now, when I read the book, I will have a soundtrack. I am looking forward to it.

  2. This is exactly what I do in my writing! I have connected with music since I was very small in a way that I have never been quite able to describe. My blog titles, chapter titles, ideas are all drawn from song titles or lyrics. Either they are relevant to my point or I love them so much that I make them connect. Most of my writing is inspired by my life, but a lot of it incorporates music and the way a certain song makes me feel. Its great to know other writers do the same thing. I really enjoy your writing style.

  3. I was wondering where the chapter headings were coming from. Some were sounding familiar.

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