What do Andy Warhol, Alex Chilton, Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan and Dorothy Parker Have in Common?
Their full names are the titles of great earworm-worthy songs!
There are a million songs with names in them.
Coming up with a list of first-name songs would go on for miles and not be interesting in the slightest.
“A Boy Named Sue.” “Alison.” “The Wind Cries Mary.”
I could go on like that for hours and not break a sweat. That’s a boring playlist concept.
Even full, proper name songs are fairly common. Names of people in the lives of the artist. People who left an impression.
“Arnold Layne” by Pink Floyd. “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.
“Bonita Applebaum,” according to A Tribe Called Quest, has got it goin’ on, but she’s not qualifying for the topic of this post.
No, I want to focus on songs with first and last names in the title, but of famous people. Or infamous people. People who most folks will know.
This all began with the song “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz.
I must have heard it somewhere, probably when my streamer was done playing whatever album I was listening to. I dunno. The point is, I had these words in my head:
I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine in a bag
I'm useless but not for long
The future is coming on
So I looked up the lyrics and there’s nothing at all about Clint Eastwood in it, but I figured I was overlooking something obvious. So I went online. And someone kind of explained it to me.
I say “someone” because the post was by the name “anonymous.” Anyway “anonymous” said that a sample of the musical theme from the classic spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is in the song. And that Clint Eastwood is one of Damon Albarn’s (leader of Gorillaz) favorite actors. Clint Eastwood was also the name of a musician from Jamaica who the group heard about when recording there.
There are probably other connections to Mr. Eastwood in the song that non-anonymous people (like you) could tell me about. Feel free to do so in the comments!
This all got me thinking of other songs about famous people.
Elton John’s classic song about Marilyn Monroe, “Candle in the Wind,” is one most people know. But her full name is not in the title of the song. So it doesn’t fit in the category.
No matter. There are a lot of songs that do. A lot of great ones.
“The Ballad of Dorothy Parker,” from Prince’s 1987 double album Sign of the Times.
“Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” by Bauhaus.
And one of my favorite songs dedicated to a famous actress, “Joan Crawford” by Blue Oyster Cult.
There are a ton of other great songs featuring famous people, whose names are part of the song’s title. I could list some,
But I want to open this up to you. What songs featuring someone famous’ full name do you love?
Leave your picks in the comments section — and tell us why this song means so much to you.
Next week I’m going to write about a musical artist whose entire career was made up of songs about famous people. You’ll have to stay tuned to find out who this person is!
And as a bonus for those who are paid subscribers, I’ll be sharing with you a playlist of my 30 favorite proper-name songs!!!!
Want to join in the fun? Become a paid subscriber! It’s easy peasy! Just click the button below! It’s 5 bucks a month or 40 for the year. I will announce your generosity to the world (unless you would prefer to be anonymous, like the guy who wrote about the song “Clint Eastwood”) in a future post.
Here’s a sample playlist of what you can get if you upgrade!
I have a lot more to say about songs with famous people’s first and last names in the title, (parts 2 and 3 coming soon) but I want to keep this short and sweet. Like me!
Thanks for reading and for being awesome.