Song lyrics are clearly a popular choice for tattoos, and in the past we’ve celebrated some of the greatest verses ever committed to skin. But the vast majority of lyrical quotes are pretty much plain old script tattoos — we have nothing against this, but it’s interesting to see tattoos where lyrics are combined with an artistic flourish, so we’ve gathered some examples of truly beautiful work that we thought we’d share with you.
From “Happiness,” and a surprisingly carefree image to feature the lyrics of one of the saddest and most beautiful songwriters ever to have picked up a guitar.
The iconography of The Wall lends itself well to tattoo art, and someone went all-out with this one.
Manic Street Preachers
True fact — your correspondent considered getting something very similar at one stage of his life.
This can’t possibly be real, can it?
Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen
Contains excerpts from Cohen’s “Tower of Song” and Cave’s “John Finn’s Wife.” We’re not entirely sure about the likeness of Cave, but even so, wow — this is one hell of a piece of work.
Huey Lewis and the News
Oh go on, it’s kind of cool (and clearly American Psycho-inspired.)
Neutral Milk Hotel
The closing line from a strong contender for Best Song of the ’90s.
Who’d have thought it, eh?
Sleeping At Last
We’ll be honest and admit we’re not super familiar with the music of Illinois band Sleeping At Last, but this is a really pretty piece of work based on their song “Needle and Thread.”
Three little birds. Cute.
Maudlin Smiths- and Morrissey-related designs are dime-a-dozen, predictably enough, and we rather like this curiously abstract piece for the very fact that it’s so different to every other Smiths tattoo you’ve ever seen.
It will surprise no one to know that there are many, many Brand New tattoos on the internet. This is a good one.
A sinking ship. Bless.
Tattoos inspired by the King of Pop are generally a terrifying world of heartfelt amateurism, but there’s something quite charming about this one, no?
It’s a Tori Amos tattoo, and it involves a cat. What’s not to like?