A Cloak of Elvenkind

Album: Marcy Playground (1997)
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Songfacts®:

  • The "Cloak of Elvenkind" shows up in Dungeons & Dragons, which Marcy Playground lead singer John Wozniak would play when he was going to Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. In a Songfacts interview with Wozniak, he said: "It's a role-playing game. You had to have your friends around, and you read from the Dungeon Master Guide and the Monster Guide and all these books. And it was all done in your imagination. It was a game that was started in the '70s and then it was kind of big for a little bit in the '80s. It's a fantasy role-playing game. It's for total nerds. Which is what I was. And so the cloak of Elvenkind, the cloak and boots of Elvenkind, are from Dungeons & Dragons, so they're made by elves. So the cloak will make you invisible, and the boots will make you silent. It's a real obscure reference to a D&D thing, the books of magic spells and all that stuff. But the idea is that you're just going through life completely invisible and completely silent, and nobody pays attention to you. (laughs) It's different. And that's why 'my book of magic spells is behind everything else that's proper for a boy.'"
  • Wozniak wrote this when he was a freshman in college around 1991. The song appeared on Marcy Playground's debut album in 1997, which contained the hit "Sex and Candy."
  • Why are there "Sixteen books of magic spells?" Wozniak told Songfacts: "It was just a good number. I mean, that's a lot of books on magic spells. If you're gonna have books on magic spells, you might as well have 16 of them. You could have 17, which would be one better. But that would have too many syllables. (laughs) It's an obscure song, and it's found a home with people who used to play D&D. I mean, it's actually kind of grown to be sort of a cult song on the Internet. People cover it, and if you go to YouTube, there's so many different covers of that song, simply because it is so obscure. And I think it may be the only pop song ever written with Dungeons & Dragons references. It's not the only… it's probably the first. I mean, when you see video games nowadays that are fantasy role-playing games, it's the same thing. It's just this one you did with books and dice and your imagination. But it was like crack. It was so addictive to play."

Comments: 2

  • Red from OzarksWeezer's "In the Garage" was 1994; Marcy Playground's "...Elvenkind" was 1991. So as far as I know, it was the first. But you might look into some Marc Bolan from the '70's and I bet you will dig up a couple of D&D references as well. I'm just too lazy to look right now.
  • Klerick from Stockton, CaNot the first song to have a D&D reference. Weezer referenced "12 sided die" in "In the Garage," which was released in 1994.
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