Short Story or Rock Band?

While reading about an unusual new embuggerance over at the always-excellent Language Log, I’ve been introduced to a curious theory about naming practices.

Has anyone ever explored the apparent lack of overlap between short story titles and rock band names? I mean, is there any doubt which category e.g. “The pit and the pendulum”, “A perfect day for bananafish”, “REO Speedwagon”, and “Neutral Milk Hotel” belong to?

I think Mark Liberman may be on to something here. Perhaps we need to test this theory, using something similar to Steak House or Gay Bar? or a gamed-up version of the rather awesome Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be thinking so early in the morning…

2 Replies to “Short Story or Rock Band?”

  1. I can think of a few literary band names: Blur used to be called Seymour, after Salinger’s character Seymour Glass. Then there’s The Doors (‘…of perception’ – Blake/Huxley), the Fall (a Camus novel), Steely Dan (a ‘Naked Lunch’ reference), Steppenwolf (a Herman Hesse novel) and I think Big Country were once known as the Dicemen (after the Luke Rinehart novel).

    Heaven 17 took their name from ‘A Clockwork Orange’, but I dunno if Burgess’ novel or Kubrick’s film version inspired them. Films seem to be a fertile source of band names: Fine Young Cannibals, Goldfinger, They Might Be Giants, Alphaville, Duran Duran (from ‘Barbarella’), etc.

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