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Band Names with Literary Origins

Band Names with Literary Origins


Fledgling bands searching for a reputation have seemed to the bookshelf for inspiration because the earliest days of rock and roll. As soon as the counterculture kicked in, and pop music assumed a extra self-important demeanor, literary names soared in reputation: Uriah Heap, Mott the Hoople, Tender Machine, and so forth. The pattern continues, with a sure excessive fantasy creator dominating the sphere; the never-ending subgenres of heavy metallic particularly, teem with Balrogs, Burzums, Sarumans, and Lothlöryens. However as the next listing demonstrates, many musicians’ studying habits prolong far past J.R.R. Tolkien and the bounds of Center Earth. Take a look at these band names with literary origins.

Steely Dan

Naked Lunch by William Burroughs includes the inspiration for the band name Steely Dan
Picture Credit score: Grove Press.

Belief Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, clever-clogs founders of essentially the most uncategorizable combo in rock historical past, to select a literary identify that ticks all of the containers: erudite, intriguing, provocative, and a bit of pervy. So, who’s Steely Dan? For the uninitiated, Steely Dan III from Yokohama is a steam-powered phallus featured in beat scribe William S. Burroughs’ mind-melting 1959 novel Bare Lunch.


Steppenwolf the band and The Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
Picture Credit score: W. W. Norton and Firm.

The Canadian-American onerous rockers achieved immortality when “Born to be Wild,” their riff-tastic ode to private freedom and two-wheeled vehicular transport, performed over the opening credit of 1968 cult traditional Simple Rider. Their identify derived from a 1927 novel by Nobel Prize-winning creator Herman Hesse, an existential pseudo-autobiography famous for its candid depictions of free love and drug use.

Modest Mouse

A line in Virginia Woolfs first story collection inspired the band name Modest Mouse
Picture Credit score: Simon and Brown.

The largest noise to come back out of Issaquah, Washington, Modest Mouse acquired their distinctively alliterative identify not from a e book title or perhaps a character however quite an obscure line in 1917 Virginia Wolf brief story “The Mark on the Wall:” “The minds of modest, mouse-colored individuals who consider genuinely that they dislike to listen to their very own praises.”

Pleasure Division

The novel House of Dolls inspired the band Joy Division
Picture Credit score: Senate.

Within the late Seventies, Salford’s legendary postpunk dance/goth nihilists determined their unique moniker Warsaw was not almost gloomy sufficient – and this, bear in mind, was the grim Soviet-era Warsaw, not the charming foodie paradise of immediately. They opted as a substitute for Pleasure Division, the sexual slavery unit of a German focus camp as described within the 1953 novella Home of Dolls by Holocaust survivor and one-time Auschwitz inmate Ka-Tsetnik 135633.

The Fall

The Fall by Albert Camus inspired the band of the same name
Picture Credit score: Classic Press.

Much less a band and extra an ever-changing collective of like-minded souls swirling round frontman Mark E. Smith, heroic curmudgeon, surrealist genius, poet laureate of snark, and now, sadly, deceased. Their identify got here courtesy of a 1956 novel by Algerian-French creator and thinker Albert Camus, winner of the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature. Brief and bitter-sweet, it contrasts sharply with a lot of Smith’s willfully indirect music titles, “Hexen Definitive/Strife Knot,” “Jawbone and the Air Rifle,” “To Nkroachement Yarbles,” et al.

The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground named themselves for the book of the same name by Michael Leigh
Picture Credit score: Elektron Ebooks.

New York’s iconic artwork rockers named themselves after journalist Michael Leigh’s 1963 exploration of America’s paraphilia subculture, spanning partner-swapping, orgies, S&M, and different practices in step with the sexual revolution. The e book’s UK title, Weird S*x Underground, is definitely a band identify ready to occur.

Belle and Sebastian

The band Belle and Sebastian and the book Belle et Sebestien
Picture Credit score: Alma Classics.

Glasgow’s twee-pop supremos took their identify, fittingly, from Belle et Sébastien, an lovely 1965 youngsters’s e book by Cécile Aubry a few six-year-old boy and his beloved Pyrenean Mountain Canine dwelling in a small village excessive within the French Alps. The e book additionally spawned a wonkily dubbed black-and-white TV present and a 2013 film.

The Doorways

The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley inspired the band name The Doors
Picture Credit score: Harper Perennial Trendy Classics.

Lead singer and acid fanatic Jim Morrison lifted his band’s identify from the title of a 1954 e book by English creator/thinker/cultural soothsayer Aldous Huxley (of Courageous New World fame). Appropriately, The Doorways of Notion is an autobiographical trawl by way of Huxley’s psychedelic experiments with mescaline.

Heaven 17

The real-life band Heaven 17 was inspired by a fictional band of the same name in A Clockwork Orange
Picture Credit score: W. W. Norton and Firm.

Such a gimme it’s onerous to consider no one beat the 80s synth-pop trio to the punch. The unique Heaven Seventeen is a fictional band in Anthony Burgess’s 1962 dystopian fantasy A Clockwork Orange, a piece which, alongside Stanley Kubrick’s 1972 movie adaptation, programs by way of the bloodstream of different rock like few others. Of all of the band names with literary origins, this one stays one of the crucial in style.


The band Supertramp and the book Autobiography of a Supertramp
Picture Credit score: Parthian Books.

Famed for his or her 1979 album Breakfast in America, and its ubiquitous single “The Logical Music,” the British mushy rock sensation named themselves after Irish poet W.H. Davies’ 1908 memoir The Autobiography of a Tremendous-Tramp, an account of life as a hobo within the UK, Canada, and the US in the course of the dying days of the 19th Century.


the band Marillion named themselves for The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien
Picture Credit score: William Morrow Paperbacks.

Initially known as Silmarillion after J.R.R. Tolkien’s posthumously printed 1977 story assortment, Buckinghamshire’s premier prog-pop outfit, greatest identified for overwrought 1985 torch music “Kayleigh,” strategically jettisoned the Sil when the specter of lawsuits loomed. Not all band names with literary origins get correct authorization first.

Primal Scream

Primal Scream the band named itself for the book by Dr Arthur Janov
Picture Credit score: Abacus.

Scottish electro-rock pioneers took their identify from psychologist Arthur Janov’s 1970 bestseller The Primal Scream. Primal Remedy: The Remedy for Neurosis, which chronicled his experiences growing primal remedy, a controversial therapy that attributes neurosis to the repressed ache of childhood trauma.

Veruca Salt

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory inspired Veruca Salts band name
Picture Credit score: Penguin Younger Readers Group.

Fashioned in Chicago in 1992, ‘The Salts’ (as certainly some individuals should name them) are named after the spoiled-rotten wealthy woman in Roald Dahl’s 1964 child’s traditional Charlie and the Chocolate Manufacturing unit. An unbearable brat, Salt will get her comeuppance when she is shoved down a rubbish chute by a group of Wonka’s skilled squirrels.


The book Childs Reflections, Cold Play inspired the band name Coldplay
Picture Credit score: Minerva Press.

The multi-platinum U2-alikes purloined their completely bland, meaningless, and infuriatingly memorable identify from Youngster’s Reflections, Chilly Play, a set of stark, surreal poems by American author Philip Horky.


Stryper was inspired by a verse in The King James Version Bible
Picture Credit score: Christian Artwork Publishers.

Ludicrous Christian hair-metalers discovered inspiration for his or her identify in – the place else? – The Bible, particularly a passage in Isaiah 53:5 (King James Model, obvs): “…and along with his stripes we’re healed.” The band’s drummer, Robert Candy, later concocted a painful backronym: Salvation By Redemption, Yielding Peace, Encouragement, and Righteousness.

Simon Braund is an creator, movie journalist, and editor. His love affair with motion pictures started on the age of ten when he was allowed to remain up late to look at The Maltese Falcon on TV. Simon served as Empire journal’s Los Angeles Editor for a few years and his work has appeared in such publications as The UK Sunday Instances, The London Night Normal, Q, The Observer, Whole Movie, Time Out, The Monetary Instances, and, by a quirk of syndication, Dutch Penthouse. He has attended and reported on quite a few worldwide movie festivals starting from Cannes to Zurich, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, Istanbul, Bermuda, and Marrakech.

Of the numerous filmmakers and actors he has interviewed, stand-outs embrace Martin Sheen, Dwayne Johnson, Angelica Huston, Scarlett Johansson, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Winona Ryder, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and Jack Nicholson.

Simon is the co-author and editor of the 2013 runaway moderate-seller The Best Films You may By no means See, presently within the early – agonizing – phases of improvement as a TV present. He’s the creator of Orson Welles Portfolio: Sketches and Drawings from the Welles Property (written in shut collaboration with Orson Welles’ daughter Beatrice), and Janis Joplin: Queen of Psychedelic Rock. His newest e book, Whole Recall: The Official Story of the Movie, is due for publication by Random Home in 2024.

He’s a two-time nominee for the Hollywood Publicists Guild All Media Journalist of the Yr Award. And was robbed each occasions!



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