Brian Jacques's Redwall stories contain a huge number of songs: marching songs, drinking songs, campfire songs, feast songs, all of them different and none repeated from one book to another (as far as I can remember). And they're not simple or hastily written: they're good songs, always fitting to the occasion in the story, rhyme and rhythm that make sense, some of them long with many verses, pleasing to the ear, and memorable. It must be over a decade since I touched Marlfox, but I can still recite "Seven Seasons Gone" word for word.

Did the author have any kind of inspiration, basing his songs on specific real-world ones? Obviously they're not direct transcriptions of real songs, since many of them include references to things or people specific to the Redwall world, but they might still be strongly based on songs Jacques heard in real life, maybe during his time as a sailor. If they're truly original and penned from scratch by Jacques himself, then he deserves credit as a poet/lyricist as well as a novelist.


1 Answer 1


This is a partial answer, sourced off an old version of redwall.org (since I can't find the Q&A section on the up-to-date version of the site).

It seems Jacques was asked this question:

Mr. Jacques, I was wondering how you come up with all the wonderful riddles in your books, do you sit down and come up with them, or do other people help you, such as your wife or friends?

I write all my own riddles and poems and songs, they are a particular favourite of mine. I love to play with words and one of my spare time hobbies (when I get any spare time) is word games and crossword puzzles.
Formatting a mix of me and the original

So it seems Jacques wrote his own poems and such. This doesn't preclude him taking inspiration from other places as a starting point, but the songs aren't just re-skinnings of stuff he heard before.

He wrote poetry outside the Redwall series:

Mr. Jacques has written both poetry and music, but he began his writing career in earnest as a playwright.
Bolding mine

However, according to Wikipedia someone else set the poems and songs to music for the audiobook versions of Redwall novels:

The audiobooks also feature fully-realized musical performances of the songs that each book contains, composed and performed by Billy Maher.

Various caveats: this is just what the author said, I haven't found any other sites which corroborate it (though my search skills are poor), and it is on the old version of the site only (as far as I can tell).

  • The current version of the site can be found here: redwallabbey.com - if anyone wants to poke around to see if I missed where the Q&A was
    – bobble
    Mar 14, 2021 at 16:56

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