RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

01 November 2008

Literary Rock Band Names



I have received a very long list from the writer Tim D'Arch Smith (The Books of the Beast, Alembic, Love in Earnest, The Times Deceas'd, R.A. Caton and the Fortune Press etc.,) which I add in its entirety with a few amplifications and notes. Many, many thanks Tim. In the comments on our recent cursory list (Velvet Underground) someone added 'The Fall' who took their name from Camus and a metal band called 'As I Lay Dying' from Faulkner's masterpiece. Tim's list is about as definitive as you can get, but if you know some more please add them in COMMENTS. Rave on -it's a crazy feeling...

The Artful Dodger ( in Fagin's gang in 'Oliver Twist')
Arts Bears: from a phrase in Jane Harrison, Art and Ritual, ‘art bears traces of its collective, social origin’
Boomtown Rats, possibly in Kerouac or in Woody Guthrie’s Bound For Glory, the name of Geldof’s first band.
The Birthday Party (Pinter)
Bronski Beat: Bronski is the hero in The Tin Drum
Battered Ornaments: a phrase used by Fowler in his Dictionary of Modern English Usage.
Bubble Puppy, a reference to ‘bumple-puppy’ (unskilled) in Brave New World.
The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
Bhagavad Guitars
Bitter Lemons (Durrell)
The Boy Hairdressers: The Boy Hairdresser was the original title of Joe Orton’s first play, broadcast under the title of The Ruffian on the Stairs.
Book of (Holy) Lies
Benny Profane, a character in Thomas Pynchon’s V.
Brave New World (Huxley)
The Blue Nile (non fiction work by Alan Moorhead - a very common book)
Comsat Angels, an abbreviation of Communications Satellite, from a story by J. G. Ballard
Cape Diem, from Horace, carpe diem.
The Chrysalids, title of a novel by John Wyndham
Colour Me Badd, title of an unpublished poem by Sylvia Plath?
A Confederacy of Dunces, novel by John Kennedy Toole
Dead Fingers Talk, novel by William Burroughs
Desperate Bicycles, from a passage in J. B. Priestley’s Angel Pavement (1930), ‘Turning into Angel Pavement from that crazy jumble of buses, lorries, drays, private cars, and desperate bicycles…’
The Doors, ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed,|All things would appear … infinite’– Blake then a book-title by Aldous Huxley. There was also a band called Doors of Perception
Durutti Column, André Bertrand, Le retour de la colonne Durutti (Strasbourg, 1966), a comic paper
Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
Drive Like Jehu: ‘Jehu the son of Nimshi … he driveth furiously’ – 2 Kings ix, 20
Dzyan, reference to Tibetan book, possibly fictional, mentioned by Madam Blavatsky
Damnation of Adam Blessing, book-title by Vin Packer (pseud. for Marijane Meaker). Adam Blessing was the name of a member of the band.
Eyeless in Gaza, novel by Aldous Huxley
Ejwuusl Wessahqqan: novel by Clark Ashton Smith
Flock of Seagulls, after the novel by Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull
Fra Lippo Lippi, poem-title by Robert Browning
Fear and Loathing (from Hunter Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
Fear of Flying
The Five Just Men (from Edgar Wallace's The Four Just Men)
Five Lose Timmy (an Enid Blyton reference)
Frumious Bandersnatch (the Bandersnatch is a fictional creature mentioned in Lewis Carroll's poems Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark)
Forty Nine Hudson, the name of a car in Kerouac’s On the Road
Fiver, a rabbit in Watership Down
The Grateful Dead, book-title by Gordon Hall Geroud (Folk-Lore Society, 1908) or a ballad found in Childs or ‘the outcome of a night of stoned lexicology,’ (in the band’s words)
Guadalcanal Diary, book-title
Grace Pool, character in Jane Eyre
Gleaming Spires, perhaps a reworking of Matthew Arnold’s ‘Dreaming spires’
Green Carnation (worn by Oscar and also the title of a 90s book)
Generation X, title of a 1960s paperback about British youth by Charles Hamblett and Jane Deverson
Harpers Bizarre
House of Love, from Anais Nin’s Spy in the House of Love
Icicle Works, from a short-story by Frederik Pohl, ‘The Day the Icicle Works Closed’
Jethro Tull, writer on agriculture (1674–1741)
Justified Ancients of Mu, a name from the Illuminatus! trilogy of Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson (1975)
JPS Experience: JPS= Jean Paul Sartre
JJ72, a Camus reference
Kinsey report
Look Back in Anger (play by John Osborne)
Love and Squalor (from Salinger)
Matching Mole = machine molle French for Soft Machine
Ministry of Love, from 1984
Mr Curt (from Conrad's Heart of Darkness via the movie Apocalypse Now)
Manhattan Transfer, title of a novel by John Dos Passos
McCavity’s Cat (Eliot - 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats)
Mugwumps, feature in The Naked Lunch
Mogo’s Flute, title of a children’s book
New Riders of the Purple Sage, from the Zane Grey novel, Riders of the Purple Sage
Nova Express (William Burroughs)
Necronomicon
Oberon (a character in William Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer Night's Dream)
101ers, the torture room in 1984 (denied by the semi literate Joe Strummer)
Other Voices (from a Truman Capote novel)
Popol Vuh (The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya)
Pooh Sticks (from A.A. Milne)
Pylon, after the Faulkner novel
Question Men, perhaps out of Kafka
The Quiet Room, short story by Poe
Soft Machine (Burroughs again)
Sad Café (from Carson Mccullers book)
Steppenwolf
Steely Dan
Supertramp
Spring in Fialta, short story by Nabokov
S–Z, Barthes’s book on semiotics
Sot-Weed Factor (John Barth's fat novel)
Smersh (from Ian Fleming)
Swan’s Way
Separate Tables (a play by Rattigan)
Shub-Niggorath, one of Lovecraft’s Old Ones
The Soft Boys, a conflation of Burroughs’s Soft Machine and The Wild Boys
The Saints, after Charteris’s detective
Stryper, ‘and with his stripes we are healed’ – Isaiah, 53, 5
Sabres of Paradise, book-title by Lesley Blanche
Silver Apples, a phrase from Yeats’s ‘Song of Wandering Ængus’
Samian, an American children’s book by Dr Seuss
Sixpence None the Richer, phrase from C. S. Lewis’s, Mere Christianity
The Teardrop Explodes, an occurrence in a Prince Namor story in the comic Daredevil, June 1971
Tears for Fears, book by Arthur Janov
Thin Lizzy, from the Beano (British children's comic and annual)
Thompson twins, characters in Hergé’s Tin Tin books

Tolkien names such as Nazxul, Shadowfax, Cirith Ungol, Galadriel, Gandalf, Gollum,
Aragorn, Burzum (Orcish for ‘darkness’), Cirith Gorgor, Fatty Lumpkin, Isengard, Lorien, Marillion, Mordor,
True West, a play by Sam Shepherd
Tygers of Pan Tang, phrase from a Michael Moorcock novel
23 Skidoo, the title of chapter 23 of Crowley’s Book of Lies
Those Without (band with Syd Barrett), after a book-title by Françoise Sagan
A Testament of Youth (novel by Vera Brittain)
This Mortal Coil, Hamlet, III, 1.
Tommyknockers, a Stephen King novel
Tripmaster Monkey, book-title by Maxine Hong Kingston
Three Fish, a poem by Rumi
Thin White Rope, Burroughs’s description of the male ejaculate
Uriah Heep
Ubik, novel by Philip K. Dick
Ungl’unl’rrlh’chchch, phrase in Lovecraft’s’ Rays in the Walls’
Veruca Salt, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
Whizz for Atoms, the third in the Molesworth series by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
The Wasp Factory (thanks to Iain Banks)
White Stains (from an obscene rare book by Crowley)
Weena Morloch, from Wells’s Time Machine
Wreck of the Hesperus (a doom metal band from Ireland, name from Longfellow's poem)
X-Ray Spex, from an advertisement in a True Detective magazine

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