Titled After the Song

A show/movie (music videos don't count) titled after a pre-existing song, i.e. not something written in conjunction with the show/movie. If it's not the song's real title, it's something one could Refrain from Assuming it was.

Closely related to Literary Allusion Title. See also Idiosyncratic Episode Naming, of which this is a form (when applied to TV series episodes, naturally). See also Title Track, when an album is titled after a song that's actually on it.

Examples can be divided into three categories:

Using the song (not necessarily as a Theme Tune):

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • Watchmen's first and tenth chapters, "At Midnight, All the Agents..." and "Two Riders Were Approaching...," are titled after lyrics of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" and "All Along the Watchtower," which are quoted in the epigraphs (as is Elvis Costello's "The Comedians" in the second chapter, titled "Absent Friends.") In the movie both of these songs were actually used in the soundtrack (albeit only the Jimi Hendrix cover of "All Along the Watchtower" in the scene covering the event of the chapter; a version of "Desolation Row" by My Chemical Romance chapters plays on the credits).

Fan Fic

Film

Literature

Live-Action TV

Music

Pinball

Radio

Theatre
  • Almost all Jukebox Musicals: Mamma Mia!, Rock of Ages, We Will Rock You etc.
  • One might expect My Fair Lady not to include "London Bridge." Yet in the original production, its music was part of the Opening Ballet. In the recent revival produced by Cameron Mackintosh, it was actually sung in the middle of "Get Me To The Church On Time."
  • Jerusalem
  • The folk opera Down in the Valley by Kurt Weill and Arnold Sundgaard. All the narration is sung to the tune of "Down in the Valley." Four other American folk songs are also included.
  • Sweet Adeline. At least one version of the show used the barbershop quartet favorite, as did the 1934 movie version, though at the time of the setting, it hadn't in fact been written yet.

Western Animation

Video Games

Using a brand-new title song:

Live-Action TV
  • ''Bewitched had a theme song with lyrics written for it, but the producers ultimately decided to go with an instrumental version for the opening credits.

Theatre
  • The musical Of Thee I Sing.
  • The musical Merrily We Roll Along had an original title song by Stephen Sondheim, though the title was really from the Kaufman and Hart play. Whether or not that play's incidental music included the traditional song is probably lost to history.

Song titles used without the song:

Audio Drama
  • Big Finish Doctor Who
    • The Doctor Who Unbound drama Sympathy for the Devil is named after a The Rolling Stones song.
    • The Doctor Who Unbound drama Masters of War is named after a Bob Dylan song.
    • The title of the Fifth Doctor drama 1963: Fanfare for the Common Men is a slight variant on a piece of classical music called "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland.

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

Fan Fiction
  • Likely the most infamous fanfic example is My Immortal.

Film
  • American Pie
  • Dazed and Confused (the Led Zeppelin song was meant to be on the soundtrack, but the band wouldn't clear it).
    • Led Zeppelin are notoriously impossible to get permission to use in films. The director's later film School of Rock is one of the few films to actually get the permission to get it.
  • Fools Rush In
  • Some Kind of Wonderful
  • Velvet Goldmine would have used David Bowie's song of that title, but he didn't think much of the film—very loosely based on him and Iggy Pop—and refused to clear it.
  • My Boyfriend's Back
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart by Yu Lik-wai (although not the original title)
  • Paper Heart, an indie romantic comedy named after a 1983 New Wave song by Robert King. Its filmmakers nearly managed to get permission to use the actual song, but King got to them too late.
  • All Tomorrow's Parties (idem)
  • All That Jazz has the same title as a song from another musical by Bob Fosse. But it doesn't use that song.
  • Boogie Nights was named after the Heatwave song, though it's not on the soundtrack.
  • It's Always Fair Weather

Literature
  • Arguably, Poppy Z. Brite's Exquisite Corpse, after the song by Bauhaus.
  • Several chapters of John Weir's book The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket are titled after songs by Stephen Sondheim.
  • When Gravity Fails (from the Bob Dylan song "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues") and its sequel, Fire in the Sun (from "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue")
  • I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb, a novel named from/after the Spandau Ballet song "True".
  • Diamond Dogs is titled after a David Bowie song (and album).
  • Less Than Zero is titled after an Elvis Costello song; its sequel Imperial Bedrooms is an album title.
  • Jill Churchill's Grace & Favor series:
    • Anything Goes
    • In the Still of the Night
    • Someone to Watch Over Me
    • Love for Sale
    • It Had to Be You
    • Who's Sorry Now
  • "Out of the Night When the Full Moon is Bright" by Kim Newman, which mixes werewolves into the legend of Zorro, takes its title from the opening theme of the 1950s Zorro TV series.
  • Bernice Summerfield: Life During Wartime, a short story collection set during the invasion of the Braxiatel Colection by the Fifth Axis, takes its name from the Talking Heads song.

Live-Action TV

Music
  • Deep Purple, from an interbellum ballad that had been a hit for bandleader Artie Shaw.
  • Strangers in the Night, UFO live album.
  • NWOBHM and early speed metal bands had a tendency to be named after a song by an iconic band. Examples include Chinatown and Black Rose (Thin Lizzy songs), Heavy Pettin' and Obsession (UFO albums), Exciter (Judas Priest song), Overkill (Motörhead song), and Machine Head (Deep Purple album).
  • Bad Brains, after "Bad Brain" by The Ramones.
  • Human Highway, Neil Young song.
    • Powderfinger, also after a Neil Young song.
  • Velocity Girl, Primal Scream song.
  • The Canadian indie rock band Eric's Trip named themselves after the last song on side B of Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation.
  • Gigolo Aunts are named after Syd Barrett's "Gigolo Aunt".
  • Radiohead, Talking Heads song (though the song is technically "Radio Head")
  • Judas Priest took their name from the Bob Dylan song "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest."
  • Scottish hard rock band Nazareth took their name from "The Weight" by The Band.
  • Dixie Chicks were named after the Little Feat song "Dixie Chicken".
  • Rare "Titled After the Album" example: 1980s country duo Sweethearts of the Rodeo named themselves after The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo album, and even paid homage to said album with the cover of their Buffalo Zone album.
  • The Rolling Stones took their name from Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone".
  • Ladytron from the song of the same name on Roxy Music's first album
  • A Certain Ratio were named after a line in ''Brian Eno's "Third Uncle".
  • Death Cab for Cutie, after a song by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
  • British folksinger John Wesley Harding, after the song and album by Bob Dylan.
  • Cave In, after the Codeine song "Cave-In". They would eventually cover their namesake song as a bonus track to the album Perfect Pitch Black.
  • Mayhem were named after the Venom song "Mayhem with Mercy".
  • Enslaved take their name from an Immortal demo track, "Enslaved in Rot".
  • Moonsorrow are named after the Celtic Frost song "Sorrows of the Moon".

Podcasts
  • Frog Kissin', a fan podcast for The Muppets, is named after the Chet Atkins song of the same name. Which, not coincidentally, was performed on The Muppet Show episode with Linda Lavin, though only in the UK extended cut of said episode.

Tabletop Games

Theatre

Video Games
  • The A-Train series of railway sim games is titled after the jazz standard "Take The 'A' Train."
  • Kagirinaki Tatakai, a 1983 game for the Sharp X1 published by Enix, has the same Japanese title as Led Zeppelin's song "The Battle of Evermore."
  • Painkiller (from the Judas Priest song).
  • Rock of Ages
  • Just Dance series after a song by Lady Gaga. Ironically the song did not appear in the games until Just Dance 2014.
  • MOTHER after a song by John Lennon.

Webcomics

WebOriginal
  • Many thread titles in Survival of the Fittest happen to be these, due to the storyline being written by a community of writers with differing tastes. If we were to list them all it would take a while.

Western Animation
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TitledAfterTheSong