Throughout history, people have looked to the myths and legends of their culture for inspiration, guidance, and moral instruction. They also turned to music to express these beliefs and values.
Songs about mythology touch different human perspectives. Most songs often retell tales of heroes and their adventures, while others offer a more critical scale. Regardless of the approach, these songs about Greek mythology will surely open a window to the immense richness of mythology.
Table of Contents
- 21. “Alrighty Aphrodite” by Peach Pit
- 20. “Achilles Come Down” by Gang of Youths
- 19. “Venus” by Lady Gaga
- 18. “Mother of Muses” by Bob Dylan
- 17. “Ulysses (The Disco Bloodbath Effect)” by Franz Ferdinand
- 16. “Flight of Icarus” by Iron Maiden
- 15. “Tales Of Brave Ulysses” by Cream
- 14. “Troy” by Sinéad O’Connor
- 13. “The Chimera” by The Smashing Pumpkins
- 12. “Two Coins” by Dispatch
- 11. “Eros and Apollo” by Studio Killers
- 10. “Blind” by Hercules and Love Affair
- 9. “The Cult of Dionysus” by The Orion Experience
- 8. “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) ” by Arcade Fire
- 7. “Atlas, Rise!” by Metallica
- 6. “God of Thunder” by Kiss
- 5. “Zeus” by Eminem
- 4. “Midas Shadow” by Al Stewart
- 3. “Orpheus” by Sara Bareilles
- 2. “Cassandra” by ABBA
- 1. “Achilles Last Stand” by Led Zeppelin
21. “Alrighty Aphrodite” by Peach Pit
Album: Sweet FA | Style: Indie rock
This whimsical rock song pays homage to the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The song describes the persona’s infatuation with a girl who personifies the goddess’s beauty and charm, and their desire to win her affection. It also captures the feeling of youthful infatuation and the thrill of romantic pursuit.
20. “Achilles Come Down” by Gang of Youths
Album: Go Farther in Lightness | Style: Indie rock, alternative rock
As we have all known, Achilles’ weakness is his heel. Despite being invulnerable in battles, this Greek hero lost when his heel was pierced by an arrow. This song referenced the idea that Achilles’ heel had been a symbol of weakness. However, it also reminds its listeners to find strength amidst the darkest moments and continue to move forward.
19. “Venus” by Lady Gaga
Album: ARTPOP | Style: Pop
This song depicts a metaphorical comparison of exploring the planet Venus to exploring a female body. The song’s mention of Aphrodite suggests even more that this song is about sex, desires, passion, and love. However, it is good to note that Lady Gaga was able to openly talk about intimate non-traditional relationships.
18. “Mother of Muses” by Bob Dylan
Album: Rough And Rowdy Ways | Style: Pop ballad
The mother of muses being referred to in this song is Mnemosyne, who has had nine muses, all are children of Zeus. The song appeals to artistic inspiration just like in the Greek poem The Odyssey. This song is generally characterized as a prayer for creative skills and if you feel the need for some artsy spirit, you might as well play this song in your playlist.
17. “Ulysses (The Disco Bloodbath Effect)” by Franz Ferdinand
Album: Tonight: Franz Ferdinand | Style: Indie rock, dance-punk
The persona’s desire to get high suggests that this song is about the anticipation of something bigger happening. It is also associated with the adventurous character and the sense of wanderlust of the famous Greek God, Ulysses. The songs rock and roll music creates a sense of emotional momentum and a desire to explore the world even deeper.
16. “Flight of Icarus” by Iron Maiden
Album: Piece of Mind | Style: Heavy metal
We have been familiar with the story of Daedalus and Icarus escaping King Minos’ prison by building wax wings and flying away on them. However, this song made a twist in the narrative in the lyrics. Instead of the usual storyline of Icarus not following his father’s instructions to not go near the sun, the song tells of Daedalus instructing his son to fly and touch the sun and of Icarus realizing his father’s betrayal as his wings melted away. Nevertheless, this song is a reminder of how much overconfidence could likely be a reason for failure.
15. “Tales Of Brave Ulysses” by Cream
Album: Disraeli Gears | Style: Psychedelic rock, blues rock
The lyrics of this song are adapted from the summarized version of “The Odyssey”. Odysseus takes on adventures one after another and this song relates most to people who are always on constant travels as well. This is a good add-on to their travel playlists. The unique guitar effect of this song makes it even more distinguishable.
14. “Troy” by Sinéad O’Connor
Album: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got | Style: Alternative rock, pop rock
If you want to describe an outrageous betrayal in the most subtle way, this song is for you. The song’s association with the fall of Troy due to deceit is compared to a betrayal of a loved one or a friend or family whom you trust so much. The emotional and powerful instrumentation of this song arouses empathy among its listeners.
13. “The Chimera” by The Smashing Pumpkins
Album: Cyr | Style: Alternative Rock
Inspired by the chimera character from Homer’s “The Iliad”, this song is about fantasy at its utmost. In the tale, a chimera is a creature made up of different animal parts, more generally, an impossible creature. The song then mirrors this fantasy and impossibility as it explores the idea of transformation, growth, and self-discovery.
12. “Two Coins” by Dispatch
Album: Bang Bang | Style: Acoustic Rock
In Greek mythology, two coins of your eyes are a symbol of being dead or sending off someone to the underworld. This song is somehow drawn from this idea. This song is also a metaphor for missing someone so much and the pain caused by death. Overall, it describes resiliency in life.
11. “Eros and Apollo” by Studio Killers
Album: Studio Killers | Style: Electropop
The title of the song is derived from Eros, the God of love and desire, and Apollo, the God of music – both characters from Greek Mythology. The song, then, describes a boy who uses his music and charisma to make girls fall in love with him and even sleep with him. The overall message of the song is centered on passion and irresistible physical attraction.
10. “Blind” by Hercules and Love Affair
Album: Hercules and Love Affair | Style: Nu-Disco, House
The band’s name is inspired by the Greek God Hercules and the infamous story of his quest for his male sweetheart Hylas. The song “Blind” is somehow related to this notion since it openly talks about gay relationships. This song is a celebration of the passions and desires experienced by the members of the LGBTQ+ community.
9. “The Cult of Dionysus” by The Orion Experience
Album: Cosmicandy | Style: Indie Pop
Dionysus is a Greek God of wine and pleasure, but more so known as the God of fertility. This song has the catchiest lyrics, and it talks about love and sex. Moreover, this song is somehow associated with a group or organization of people which puts pleasure and desire as their main mantra. Yet, the song also calls out to live life in a fun, free, and unrestricted way.
8. “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) ” by Arcade Fire
Album: Only Love Is Real | Style: Hip-hop, Electronica, Pop
It has been told in Greek tales that before Orpheus lured Eurydice’s love, Aristaeus loved and sought her first. However, it was unrequited. This song is reflective of Aristaeus’ viewpoint wherein he believes that there is always a price to be paid for a love unreturned. It was then believed that it was Aristaeus who made Eurydice encounter the viper that killed her because of his vengeance.
7. “Atlas, Rise!” by Metallica
Album: Hardwired… to Self-Destruct | Style: Heavy metal
Who could have forgotten Atlas, the Greek God who was punished to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders for the rest of his life/ this Metallica song exactly gives us the message to rise despite the heavy burdens we are carrying upon our shoulders. We all have our own share of loads and responsibilities, but we must give our hundred percent strength and will to hold them up to succeed in life.
6. “God of Thunder” by Kiss
Album: Destroyer | Style: Rock
The song is in reference to the Greek God of Thunder, Zeus being someone who rules over others. This song was written with the notion that the persona of this song is destined to rule and be superb among others. The song is rich in imagery and symbolism that pertains mostly to music and pop culture.
5. “Zeus” by Eminem
Album: Music to Be Murdered By: Side B | Style: Hip hop
The song itself may not be about a story in Greek myth, but the title of the song is more than it requires to make this part of your playlist of songs on Greek mythology. Eminem views himself here as the God of Rap in equivalence to Zeus being the God of all Gods. This song insinuates the idea that Eminem possesses the same omniscient power to critique and predict the fate of other rappers. Whatever the listeners may come to interpret this song, this song is notable and newsworthy.
4. “Midas Shadow” by Al Stewart
Album: 24 Carrots | Style: Folk rock, soft rock
The poetic lyric of this song reminds us of King Midas in Greek myth who was cursed to turn everything he touches into gold due to his greed and selfishness. This song serves as a metaphor for one’s pursuit of unlimited wealth and power. However, it also reminds us of the chaos, dangers, and loss of losing what really matters most – the special relationships we have with people we treasure.
3. “Orpheus” by Sara Bareilles
Album: Amidst the Chaos | Style: Pop, Singer-Songwriter
If you are familiar with the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, this song is an emotional adaptation of its characters. Orpheus, being untrusting as he is, lost his love Euridice to the underworld forever. This song is a call to all men to do everything to fight for their love just like Orpheus did. However, they must do it with honesty, confidence, and trust to succeed.
2. “Cassandra” by ABBA
Album: The Final | Style: Pop
Cassandra is one of the most controversial characters in Greek myth. She was gifted by Greek God Apollo the gift of prophecy but because she deceived and rebelled against Apollo, the Greek God cursed him that her prophecies, although accurate, will never be believed in. This even played a vital role in the fatal fall of Troy. This song also talks about the same idea of not believing and not heeding the warnings received. Maybe, this song is more of a statement of regret for not following good advice which resulted in heartaches at the end.
1. “Achilles Last Stand” by Led Zeppelin
Album: Presence | Style: Hard rock, heavy metal
This song is not entirely about Greek mythology as its title may suggest. However, the song is still in reference to the weak point of Achilles which is his heel because the song is about Robert Plant who got into an accident and injured his heel, so he stayed in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Generally, this song speaks more of the persona’s refusal to back down against the challenges and continue to just fight until the very end.