Full of grotesque characters and sinister imagery, Lewis Carroll’s novella Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland seems like a perfect match for the phantasmagorical vision of director Tim Burton, whose cinematic interpretation hits theaters March 5. But the tale of the lost little girl has long been a favorite for musicians with a taste for the eerie.
Here’s a timeline of Alice’s weirdest trips down the musical rabbit hole.
“White Rabbit,” Jefferson Airplane (1967)
The lyrics-and quivering bolero rhythm-that gird this downer psych classic draw deeply from the hookah-smoking and mushroom-gobbling so widespread in Wonderland, though Grace Slick misquotes the Dormouse, who never actually says, “Feed your head.”
Key creepy line: “One pill makes you larger / And one pill makes you small / And the ones that mother gives you / Don’t do anything at all.”
“Alice,” the Sisters of Mercy (1983)
What if Alice was an addict? These seminal Brit goth-rockers addressed that question in appropriately dour fashion on this spiky single, which features Andrew Eldritch vampirically crooning about Alice’s “tranq” jones over moaning guitars.
Key creepy line: “She needs you like she needs her pills / To tell her that the world’s okay.”
“Alice,” Stevie Nicks (1989)
Given Nicks’ well-documented fascination with enchanting feminine esoterica-not to mention mood-altering substances-it’s no shock that this misty sax-and-synth slow-burner finds the singer desperate to make a connection with the girl on the other side of the mirror.
Key creepy line: “She used to know who she was / And she prays for the world she comes from / Alice, call my name.”
“Alice,” Tom Waits (2002)
Waits’ smoky, seamy ballad goes beyond the page by taking Carroll’s, um, unconventional real-life relationship with 13-year-old Alice Liddell for inspiration. As you might expect, things end badly.
Key creepy line: “A secret kiss / Brings madness with the bliss / And I will think of this / When I’m dead in my grave.”
“Through the Looking Glass,” Peter Doherty (2009)
Maybe Alice’s parents should’ve sprung for a baby sitter. On this uncomfortably jaunty B-side, rock’s own Mad Hatter gets a little too up close and personal with the song’s subject. What would Carroll think? Actually, we’d rather not know.
Key creepy line: “Through the looking glass / And between your thighs / And it’s written no small surprise / Let’s straight down the rabbit hole.”