"Came Along Too Late" was a song by Squirt Frog and the Evolving Tadpoles. The song was about the life and conquests of Alexander the Great. The title came from the singer waking up at three a.m. in front of his TV to the sounds of hoofbeats. The set was tuned to the History Channel and the singer "came [awake] too late" for the documentary on Alexander. The song was mostly written by Charlie Storer with some tweaks from Rob Ferguson's brother Marshall who had studied ancient history.
One winter's day just after the Yellowstone Supervolcano had erupted, the band met Jim Farrell, a retired professor and failed Republican candidate for congress for the Second District of Maine. Charlie Rob and Justin Nachman impressed Farrell with a rousing a cappella version of "Came Along Too Late" with Charlie also drumming on his thighs and the coffee table in front of him.
While contemplating the freezing temperatures at Wayne State College, Bryce Miller wondered why he left SoCal but decided he spent a lot of time and effort making himself as home in the Hellenistic world as anyone who came 2,300 years too late and coming to Wayne was the only way to use that knowledge. The thought of coming too late reminded him of the song Vanessa's brother's band had written about coming too late for Alexander. Miller like the song enough that he used it as a ringtone on his cell phone.
In the "Author's Note" at the end of Eruption, Harry Turtledove mentions he wrote a earlier version of "Came Along Too Late" when his daughter Rebecca asked for songs on historical themes. Given this history, the song is more elaborate than any other in the novel and consists of three verses and the chorus. Turtledove also indicated it can be sung to the tune of "Josephine Baker" on Al Stewart's album Last Days of the Century.