We don’t know about you, but we here at Smashings Tops love it when one form of art inspires another. We told ourselves we should not ignore the fact that literature served as a source of inspiration for various band names. So, we gathered ten bands who have shown love for a particular literary work or an author, taking its name after it.
1. Esben and The Witch
Source: Esben and the Witch, Danish fairytale
The English trio has a good name for their dark music. The Brighton band is named after a Danish fairy tale in which the youngest of the 12 sons of a farmer, Esben, saves his older brothers from the hands of a witch who is trying to kill them.
2. Gogol Bordello
Source: Nikolai Gogol
Unlike the other bands on the list, Gogol Bordello did not take the name of a specific literary work, but of a Russian author, Nikolai Gogol, of Ukrainian origin. As Gogol introduced Ukrainian culture in the Russian society, as well as the band tries to bring Gypsy and Eastern European music in the English -speaking world.
3. Modest Mouse
Source: The Mark on the Wall by Virginia Woolf
Modest Mouse took their name from a passage in the book of Virginia Woolf which says the following: “I wish I could hit upon a pleasant track of thought, a track indirectly reflecting credit upon myself, for those are the pleasantest thoughts, and very frequent even in the minds of modest, mouse-coloured people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises”.
Vocalist Isaac Brock motivated the choice saying that he wanted something completely ambiguous that sounded good and the passage in the book had a meaning for him, he could identify with it.
4. The Doors
Source: The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
The band’s name comes from Huxely’s novel, in which the author details the experiences that he had when taking mescaline, a hallucinogenic substance. In turn, when he chose the name of the book, Huxley was inspired by a quote from William Blake: If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite”.
5. The Velvet Underground
Source: The Velvet Underground by Michael Leigh
Michael Leigh’s book about the secret sexual subculture of the early 60s became the inspiration for the name of the legendary band when a friend of the bassist John Cale showed it to the four of them. From the point of view of the band, the name is reminiscent of underground cinema.
6. The Boo Radleys
Source: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The only book of Harper Lee, the masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird, served as inspiration for the English band. The Boo Radleys were named after Boo Radley, one of the characters of the novel, a retired man who follows everything that happens outside, until he is forced to intervene.
7. Titus Andronicus
Source: Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
The name the most bloody and violent tragedy by Shakespeare (incidentally the first tragedy written by the English playwright) served as inspiration for the New Jersey indie- punk band when they chose a name for their band.
8. The Fall
Source: The Fall by Albert Camus
The Fall bassist was the one who came up with the idea, in 1976, for the band to be named after the book by Camus, a philosophy novel that treats themes like innocence, man’s fall from Grace and Truth.
9. Belle & Sebastian
Source: Belle et Sébastien by Cécile Aubry
Belle et Sébastien is a famous French novel about a boy and his dog who lives in a village in the French Alps. The book was not only the foundation for the name of the Scottish band, but also an inspiration for a 1965 French television series and an anime series from the 80s.
10. The Birtday Party
Source: Either The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter or Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Some voices state as a source of inspiration the first and most famous song of Pinter. In other sources, including the biography of Nick Cave, the name is attributed to a mistake: Cave would have wrongly remembered that in Dostoevsky’s book there was a scene with a party.