Literary Band Names
7.61. The Airborne Toxic Event
The name is taken from a section of the book White Noise by Don DeLillo.
7.42. Alice In Chains
A play on Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, which implies sadomasochism.
73. Art Of Noise
From the manifesto The Art of Noises by Luigi Russolo.
64. Artful Dodger
Named for the master pickpocket in the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist.
7.15. As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner wrote a book of the same name.
7.66. Belle and Sebastian
The group is not a duo, taking their name from Belle et Sébastien, a children's book by Cécile Aubry.
6.37. Biffy Clyro
Though they never address their band name's origin with a straight answer, one believable explanation has been given linking "Biffy" with the name of the spy (Wilfred Albert "Biffy" Dunderdale) Ian Fleming based his James Bond novels upon while "Clyro" is a town in Wales where members' families had gone on holiday.
6.88. Billy Talent
After legal troubles with their first band name, Pezz, they chose to name themselves after Billy Tallent, a guitarist in Michael Turner's Hard Core Logo.
8.39. The Birthday Party
Take your pick of literary references. Singer Nick Cave has attributed the name to a birthday party scene in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, though no such scene exists in the novel. In turn, The Birthday Party is also the name of a piece by playwright Harold Pinter.
5.910. The Black Crowes
The band began its career as Mr. Crowe's Garden, perhaps a nod to the story "Mr. Crow's Garden" in Albert Bigelow's The Hollow Tree Snowed-In Book. Eventually known as simply The Crowes, their record label suggested a modification of the name, hence the color.
011. Blake Babies
Beat poet Allen Ginsberg named them at the band's behest in honor of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience.
7.812. Bob Dylan
The stage name for Robert Zimmerman takes its surname in honor of poet and writer Dylan Thomas.
3.513. The Boo Radleys
Arthur "Boo" Radley is a character in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
4.814. The Boomtown Rats
Singer Bob Geldof suggested the name from the Boomtown Rats gang mentioned in Woody Guthrie's autobiography, Bound for Glory.
915. Bubble Puppy
Taken from "Centrifugal Bumblepuppy," a children's game in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
4.816. Catch 22
After the satirical WWII book of same name by Joseph Heller.
617. Clem Snide
Clem Snide is a recurring character in several William S. Burroughs novels, including Naked Lunch, The Ticket That Exploded, and Exterminator!
The band now known as Coldplay was first called Starfish, but they adopted the new moniker when fellow musician Tim Rice-Oxley of the band Keane decided he no longer wanted to use the name for his band. Rice-Oxley originally got that name from a book of poems called Child's Reflections, Cold Play by Philip Horky.
5.919. Collective Soul
Though they disclaim the message of the novel, Collective Soul get their moniker from a term used in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.
7.520. The Dead Milkmen
Named for the character Macon "Milkman" Dead III in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. The character's nickname comes from the fact that he was breastfed too long.
The band takes its name from a shortened version of "devolution," a concept advanced by Oscar Kiss Maerth's The Beginning Was the End, a pseudoscientific thesis which attributes the rise of man as an evolutionary accident caused by a species of sex-crazed, cannibalistic apes who developed tools to exploit each other sexually and feed on each others' brains.
4.922. The Divine Comedy
Named for the Dante poem of the same name.
823. The Doors
Famously took their name from The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley, who in turn stole the phrase from a William Blake poem that includes the line: "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite."
024. Emil Bulls
Though the band got its name from the children's movie, that movie was based upon Stefan Julian Neuschäfer's 1993 book, Emil Bulls.
5.525. The Fall
A former member of the band came up with the name in tribute to The Fall, a 1956 novel by Albert Camus.
The German band is named for the 1808 play by fellow German, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
6.827. The Feelies
Taken from the term used by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World for theaters that engage every sense of the viewer.
The name was inspired by the Finch family in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
8.529. Forgive Durden
From the main character's name in Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club.
930. Fu Manchu
Dr. Fu Manchu is a Chinese villain in a series of novels by Sax Rohmer.
Short for "Fucked Up, Got Ambushed, Zipped In" from Nam by Mark Baker.
3.532. The Fugs
Vocalist Tuli Kupferberg named the band for a euphemism of "fuck" used in Norman Mailer's novel The Naked and the Dead.
933. Gatsbys American Dream
A reference to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
7.334. Generation X
Generation X is a book by Charles Hamblett and Jane Deverson containing a survey of anti-establishment youths.
7.635. Gin Blossoms
The name actually comes from a caption used in Kenneth Anger’s book Hollywood Babylon II, describing a photograph of WC Fields with a "terminal case of gin blossoms." "Gin blossoms" was the term for rosy skin, sometimes caused by alcohol consumption.
036. God Is My Co-Pilot
Now a Christian slogan, the band's name was originally coined by Robert Lee Scott for the title of his autobiography.
7.537. Gogol Bordello
The name is a cross-cultural hodgepodge (much like the band), coming from Nikolai Gogol, an influential writer in Ukrainian and Russian literature, and "bordello," an Italian word referring to a brothel.
5.338. Good Charlotte
The Madden brothers sought out other band members while still teenagers, taking their name from the children's book Good Charlotte: The Girls of Good Day Orphanage by Carol Beach York.
Once called White Hart, inspired by the Arthur C. Clarke collection Tales From the White Hart, they eventually simplified the name.
640. Heaven 17
Named for a fictional band mentioned in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange.
8.741. Holly Golightly
Holly Golightly Smith drops her last name when performing. Her mother christened her after the protagonist in Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's.
5.542. Hot Water Music
Named for the collection by author Charles Bukowski.
643. The Housemartins
Inspired by writer Peter Tinniswood and his tendency to use birds as symbols of change in his writings.
The Scottish band chose Idlewild because it is the name of a quiet meeting place in Anne of Green Gables by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery
045. Josef K
From the name of the protagonist in Franz Kafka's The Trial.
7.946. Joy Division
The name comes from the term "Joy Divisions" used in Karol Cetinsky's The House of Dolls. The phrase describes a forced prostitution wing in a Nazi concentration camp.
A shortened version of their original name Klaxons (Not Centaurs), which is taken from Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's futurism text The Futurist Manifesto.
7.448. Level 42
In Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the number 42 is "the answer to life, the universe and everything." It's unclear whether members of the band came up with the name while reading the book or it came from their producer, also a fan. What is clear is that they added the word "Level" in order to avoid potential legal problems.
From Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, minus the "Sil" for copyright concerns.
Real name Richard Melville Hall, Moby was a nickname given early in his youth due to the belief that Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, is his "great-great-great-granduncle."
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