Save Ferris: Pop-Culture Origins Of 16 Famous Band Names

Duran Barbarella.jpg
This one's for the pop-culture junkies. For those who, like us, are tickled by all forms of pop media, whether it be literature, film or music... this list encompasses them all. A surprisingly high quantity of bands have named themselves after books, songs, and films; some are obvious, some took a little digging, and (many) others simply urged us to seek out myriad (evidently) highly inspirational low-budget horror films.

Duran Duran: Drawing inspiration from the 1968 steamy sci-fi film Barbarella, the New-Wave pioneers borrowed their name from the movie's mad scientist, Dr. Durand Durand, whom Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is assigned to retrieve from planet Tau Ceti, in order to save the earth.

Veruca Salt: This '90s (partial) female powerhouse fancied Roald Dahl's bratty creation so much, they named their band after her. Of course, Veruca Salt the character, from Dahl's beloved book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and 1971 film adaptation Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, was a "bad egg," but her name - and attitude - live on in the band, which continues making music despite front woman Nina Gordon's 1998 departure.

Titus Andronicus: One wouldn't guess these gritty hard rockers would draw inspiration from the most floral of flowery wordsmiths - Shakespeare - but leave it to them to choose their namesake based on the poet's gooriest of tragedies, (The Lamentable Tragedy of) Titus Andronicus, penned in the late 16th century.

Mogwai: These Scot-rockers, who play Warehouse Live May 17, have released albums on some of indie-rock's hippest labels (Sub Pop, Matador, etc.), but they borrow their name from one of the cutest beings of '80s filmdom. Not to be confused with actual Gremlins, Mogwai musn't get wet, be exposed to sunlight, or be fed after midnight. The cute ones are always high-maintenance.

Modest Mouse: Despite a rumor we heard years ago, that Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock chose his alliterated band name based on a speech-therapy exercise he was forced to repeat as a child, Brock actually chose the name "Modest Mouse" via a passage from Virginia Woolf's "The Mark on the Wall," rearranging words from the line "the minds of modest, mouse-colored people."

The Fratellis: In homage to perhaps the single best movie of the '80s, The Goonies, the gleeful Glasgow rockers named their band after the film's dimwitted villains.

Mudhoney: The Seattle grunge pioneers named their band after a 1965 Russ Meyer film, which was based on the novel by Raymond Friday Locke. The band had allegedly never even seen the film when they chose their name in 1988.

Black Sabbath: The heavy-metal Brits aptly named their band after the 1963 Italian horror film of the same name.

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How did you leave out Steely Dan?


Yikes.How old am I that for a bunch of these bands, I've never heard of the band but only know the book/character/movie/whatever to which it refers...

(Heaven 17 is always a good one for lists like this.)


and don't forget, "Radiohead" (the song) was written based on actor Stephen Tobolowsky's recollection of (he believes) a psychic episode he experience during college.

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