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Updated by Love It Loud on Jun 19, 2014
Headline for Top Ten Band Names Inspired by Movies
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Top Ten Band Names Inspired by Movies


In 1968 four musicians came together in the English city of Birmingham to form a group called Earth. Unwittingly, they helped to create what is now known as heavy metal and were often wrongfully accused of being Satanists. By the time they had been signed to a label they had renamed themselves Black Sabbath, having been inspired after watching the Mario Bava horror anthology I Tre volti della paura (Black Sabbath), which had featured horror legend Boris Karloff. The band released eight albums before frontman Ozzy Osbourne was fired and the group would undergo the first of many line-up changes.


Long before he launched a new career as a movie director or even as a solo artist, Rob Zombie (born Robert Cummings) was the frontman for the New York-based metal group White Zombie. Taking their name from a 1932 horror movie which starred genre icon Bela Lugosi in one of the first ever zombie films, Zombie used his love of horror throughout his time with the band, not only naming one of his albums after the notorious video nasty Make Them Die Slowly (originally titled Cannibal Ferox) but also sampling quotes from his favourite movies.


When United Artists released The Misfits in 1961 little could they know that it would prove to be the last completed movie by its star, Marilyn Monroe, who would sadly pass away the following year at the age of just thirty-six. Something else they could never have predicted was that fifteen years later the movie’s name would inspire a punk band. Glenn Danzig formed the band in New Jersey in 1977 and the group soon became known for their blend of rock ‘n’ roll and horror. The Misfits eventually split in 1983 but would reform over a decade later, although Danzig had moved onto other projects and no longer wished to be involved.




Mogwai were formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in the mid-1990s by guitarist Stuart Braithwaite and bassist Dominic Aitchison and soon became known for their ten-minute instrumental songs that would build from silence to an intense noise. Following the release of their first album Young Team in 1997 the band became notorious for their unusual song titles, such as I Am Not Batman, Oh! How the Dogs Stack Up and Kids Will Be Skeletons. They took their name from the cute furry animal from the 1984 horror comedy Gremlins which, when fed after midnight, transforms into a hideous and malevolent creature.


If Hollywood had dominated the metal scene during the 1980s its successor was Seattle, Washington. When Mark Arm’s local group Green River split in 1988 he decided to form a new band and the result was Mudhoney who, as with Faster Pussycat, took their name from a Russ Meyer movie, itself based on a novel by Raymond Friday Locke. Mudhoney‘s debut single, Touch Me I’m Sick, proved to be an unexpected success and, along with Nirvana, helped to make them one of the forerunners of the grunge movement.


The Los Angeles music scene of the mid-1980s was thriving with young metal bands with make-up and permed hair, leather pants and attitude. Among the groups to perform around the Hollywood circuit was Faster Pussycat, named after the cult exploitation classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, directed by the notorious Russ Meyer and starring big breasted sex symbol Tura Satana (who would also have a band named after her). Faster Pussycat released their self titled debut through Elektra Records in 1987 to relative success. Their follow up, Wake When When It’s Over, featured the hit singles Poison Ivy and House of Pain.


My Bloody Valentine hailed from Ireland and emerged on the alternative scene in 1985 with the EP This Is Your Bloody Valentine, before releasing their debut album Isn’t Anything three years later. The inspiration for their name came from a Canadian horror movie that had been released during the slasher boom in the wake of Friday the 13th‘s success. Despite featuring older characters than most similar films and being severely edited by the censors, the movie soon developed a cult following and was eventually remade as a big budget 3D thriller in 2009. To date My Bloody Valentine have only released two studio albums, their last being 1991′s Loveless.


Veruca Salt were formed in Chicago in 1993 at the height of the grunge boom and were fronted by guitarists Louise Post and Nina Gordon. Taking their name from the obnoxious rich girl from Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and the 1971 adaptation Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, with Gene Wilder in the title role) and using a quote from the AC/DC track You Shook Me All Night Long for the title of their debut album, American Thighs, Veruca Salt enjoyed minor success with their 1994 single Seether. Teaming up with acclaimed producer Bob Rock for their second album, Eight Arms to Hold You, the band took a softer and more commercial approach but following its release their popularity began to dwindle, with Gordon leaving the group in 1998.


Donald Fagen and Walter Becker had already performed together in numerous bands (one including fellow New York student Chevy Chase, later known as the comedy star of Saturday Night Live and Fletch) before eventually forming Steely Dan in 1972. Being lovers of “Beat” writers such as William Burroughs, they decided to name their band after a dildo featured in Burroughs’ controversial 1959 novel Naked Lunch (adapted over thirty years later by filmmaker David Cronenberg). Steely Dan signed to ABC Records soon afterwards and released their debut album, Can’t Buy a Thrill, although their biggest hit would be the single Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, which would reach number four in the US charts in 1974.


Markus Zimmer formed the punk rock group The Bates in Eschwege, Germany in 1987, performing under his stage name Zimbi. Their name was inspired by the character Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho, something that they would pay explicit homage to in the music video for their cover of Michael Jackson’s hit Billie Jean. Other reworkings of popular songs would follow, including Out of Time by the Rolling Stones, Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel and Hello (Turn Your Radio On) by Shakespears Sister. But Zimbi’s life was cut short when he was found dead in June 2006 at the age of forty-one.