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Titled After the Song

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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. A Sister Trope to Musical Theme Naming, where characters may be named after songs. Hence, if the work is named after a character therein, and the character is named after a song, you get both tropes. Sometimes a lyric comes full circle, and becomes A Good Name for a Rock Band.

For music albums titled after songs on them, see Title Track.

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Examples can be divided into three categories:

    open/close all folders 

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

    Anime & Manga 
  • Elfen Lied is named after the music piece "Elfen Lied". The song plays a role in the manga, but is notably absent from its anime adaptation. This makes it something of an Artifact Title.
  • Great Pretender is named after The Platters' song "The Great Pretender", the cover of which by Freddy Mercury plays in the end credits. The credits are even (mostly) a copy of Mercury's music video starting Mercury's cats.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
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    Films — Animation 
  • Strange Magic is a Jukebox Musical about how a Love Potion complicates politics between a kingdom of fairies and a kingdom of goblins.
  • Yellow Submarine was the only Beatles movie which was based on a Beatles song instead of having the song written for the movie, having first appeared in 1966 on the album Revolver.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Several of Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John stories are named after/inspired by Appalachian folk-tunes, including "Shiver In The Pines", "The Little Black Train" and "The Desrick on Yandro". The eponymous hero always sings at least a verse or two of the song in question, accompanying himself on his silver-strung guitar.
  • Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, named for the Elvis Costello song.
  • Here Comes the Sun
    • A novel by Tom Holt. The chorus is sung in the final scene.
    • Nicole Dennis-Benn also has a novel by this title.
  • A pattern with Wally Lamb: She's Come Undone, We Are Water, I Know This Much is True, The Hour I First Believed, and Wishin' and Hopin'.
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, named for a famous gospel standard.
  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. (Murakami is a noted fan of The Beatles.)
  • Joan Didion's essay collection The White Album is yet another Beatles example. Zig-zagged in that it's named for an album (obviously) rather than a song, and it's not even the official name of the album in question.
  • I Think I Love You is titled after the Partridge Family song, which is quoted at several points in the story.
  • The Rivers of London short story "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" is titled after The Kinks song. The narrator claims to be the actual person the song was about.
  • From the New World: Named after the title of Dvořák's Symphony No. 9. Might be passed off as coincidence if not for the frequent use of the "Goin' Home" theme from the symphony's 2nd Movement ("Largo") throughout the anime adaptation.

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 

    Pinballs 

    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.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • What If I Know Too Many Reasons I Can Be Strong?: The title of the webcomic references the beginning lyrics of "Gurenge" from the anime adaptation of the original manga. The motion comic adaptation plays the instrumental version of the song during the credits.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

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 Plays 
  • 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.
  • The Faction Paradox drama In the Year of the Cat is named after an Al Stewart song.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 

    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.
  • The Doctor Who New Adventures novel No Future by Paul Cornell, in which Benny joins a punk band, is titled after the refrain and Working Title of The Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen". It also has a chapter called "England's Dreaming".
  • Scary Godmother: Ghoul's Out For Summer is named after the Alice Cooper song "School's Out".
  • Merrill Joan Gerber's Handsome as Anything is named after part of a line of "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" from Fiddler on the Roof.

    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, 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".
  • Jimmy Eat World's "Authority Song" has the rare distinction of being named after another song ("Authority Song" by John Mellencamp).
  • Bolivian rock band Duvet is named after the song of the same name by Bôa (UK) (which is known as the main song for Serial Experiments Lain).
  • Slowdive are named after a Siouxsie and the Banshees song. Slowdive also wrote their own song with that title, making it a song named after a band, named after a song.

    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.

    Roleplay 
  • 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.

    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.
  • No More Heroes, after an album (and its title song) by The Stranglers.
  • The Doom Game Mod series Back to Saturn X is named after a song by Guided By Voices; the same goes for all the individual episode subtitles of the series and all the map names.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 

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