Literary Mixtape: Robin Hood


If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: that cheeky standby of English folklore, Robin Hood.

Though the legend of Robin Hood has changed and mutated over the years, it most likely originated from tales and ballads of actual outlaws in English folklore. Robin Hood is a symbol of independence and the battle for the common man, a heroic outlaw with a penchant for archery and a romantic streak, leaping about the Sherwood forest to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Here are the tracks we think he would enrage the Sheriff of Nottingham, wink at Richard the Lionheart, and hit the bulls-eye to.

Click here to stream the full mixtape.

“Lawyers, Guns and Money” — Warren Zevon

Though he would never claim to be an innocent bystander in any of his adventures, we think a modern Robin would love this classic tale of love, gambling, and getting into trouble in far-flung places. Plus, what cheeky troublemaker doesn’t love him a little Warren Zevon?

“The Boys are Back in Town” — Thin Lizzy

Any hero worth his salt needs some quality entrance music, and we think Robin would agree that this is pretty perfect for when he and the Merry Men stroll onto the scene. “If the boys wanna fight, you better let ’em…”

“A Little Less Conversation” — Elvis Presley

Just take from the rich and give to the poor, you guys. No need to talk about it.

“Playboy” — Hot Chip

From all we’ve heard, Robin was quite the ladies man. You know, back when it was your skill in archery that drove the girls wild.

“Money” — Flying Lizards

Robin Hood’s mischievous band out outlaws were famous for sneaking gold right out from the noses of the evil nobility. Though some tales represent him as a noble unjustly separated from his fortune, in the earliest ballads he is denoted as a yeoman, something a little more than a peasant and a little less than the noble. And you know that middle class.

“You Were Young” — Yes Giantess

This electro-pop track would be just what Robin would want to dance to on a night out with that foxy Maid Marian. Playful, upbeat and sexy, but still chaste enough to keep everyone’s honor intact.

“The Ballad of Love and Hate” — The Avett Brothers

Many of the original Robin Hood tales came from ballads, so we think he’d feel a natural affinity to the format. But that point aside, this track is about the ability of good to persevere over evil even in the most delicate of situations. The noble Robin Hood would definitely agree.

“Head Rolls Off” — Frightened Rabbit

We think Robin Hood’s tastes would lean towards the masculine end of indie rock, and maybe only when he was in a sensitive mood. But we’re sure that this anthem of historicism and making a difference would appeal to him. It’s a hero’s song if we’ve ever heard one: “When my blood stops/ Someone else’s will not /When my head rolls off,/ Someone else’s will turn/ And while I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to earth.” Yes, you will.

“No More Mr. Nice Guy” — Alice Cooper

Robin Hood was definitely a guy’s guy with a flair for the dramatic, and we can see a modern teenage version of him rocking a vintage Alice Cooper t-shirt like nobody’s business.

“Hurricane” — Bob Dylan

We can imagine Robin and his merry band of outlaws playing Bob Dylan’s classic song about wrongful imprisonment around the fire at night, violin and all.