Albums and songs named after classic movies

23 March 2024, 08:00

Queen in 1975, around the time of their album A Night At The Opera... named after a famous Marx Brothers film
Queen in 1975, around the time of their album A Night At The Opera... named after a famous Marx Brothers film. Picture: Alamy Stock Photo

Which album was named after a Kirk Douglas movie? Who released a pair of albums that took their titles from movies starring the Marx Brothers? And have you ever actually seen Wonderwall?

  1. The Farm - Spartacus

    The Liverpool band's 1991 debut album was apparently inspired by the football/pub banter routine of standing up and declaring "I'm Spartacus!", in the same way as Kirk Douglas's fellow slaves do in the 1960 Stanley Kubrick movie. The Farm really should have named ALL their albums Spartacus to keep the joke going...

    Stanley Kubrick's contribution to pub banter everywhere: Spartacus (1960)
    Stanley Kubrick's contribution to pub banter everywhere: Spartacus (1960). Picture: Collection Christophel / Alamy Stock Photo
  2. Queen - A Night At The Opera

    Roger Taylor claimed that the band caught the 1935 Marx Brothers comedy on TV while they were recording their fourth album in Wales. When the 1976 sequel came along, it seemed only natural to name it after the Brothers' next movie, A Day At The Races.

    The Marx Brothers' 1935 classic A Night At The Opera
    The Marx Brothers' 1935 classic A Night At The Opera. Picture: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo
  3. Oasis - Wonderwall

    Noel Gallagher is a massive Beatles fan and this much-loved song is a tip of the hat to George Harrison's first solo album from 1968 - it was the soundtrack to a British psychedelic comedy starring Jane Birkin,

    The British poster for 1968's Wonderwall, starring Jane Birkin.
    The British poster for 1968's Wonderwall, starring Jane Birkin. Picture: Alamy
  4. The Jam - That's Entertainment

    Paul Weller's slice of everyday life is given an ironic title, taken from the hugely-successful 1974 compilation film which showcases the golden age of the Hollywood musical.

    The poster for 1974's That's Entertainment
    The poster for 1974's That's Entertainment. Picture: Alamy
  5. Iggy Pop - Lust For Life

    Another Kirk Douglas reference: The Ig's 1977 masterpiece took its title from Kirk's 1956 turn as the artist Vincent Van Gogh, itself taken from a biography written in 1934. Lana Del Rey has recently used the title for one of her own albums.

    Kirk Douglas as Vincent Van Gogh in Lust For Life (1956).
    Kirk Douglas as Vincent Van Gogh in Lust For Life (1956). Picture: Alamy
  6. Primal Scream - Vanishing Point

    The Scream's 1997 album took its title from a groovy 1971 film about an ex-cop who has to deliver a very nice sports car to the other side of the US by a certain time. The lead character is called Kowalski, which is the name of one of the songs on the LP.

    Vanishing Point (1971)
    Vanishing Point (1971). Picture: Alamy
  7. Metallica - ...And Justice For All

    The title to Metallica's breakthrough album is taken from the final line of the American Pledge Of Allegiance, but it's also the name of a 1979 courtroom drama starring Al Pacino, in which he memorably states: "You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!"

    Al Pacino is out of order in And Justice For All (1979)
    Al Pacino is out of order in And Justice For All (1979). Picture: Alamy
  8. Gorillaz - Dirty Harry

    Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's cartoon crew named this song after the sardonic detective played by Clint Eastwood in the 1971 movie or the same name.

    Dirty Harry starring Clint Eastwood (1971).
    Dirty Harry starring Clint Eastwood (1971). Picture: Alamy
  9. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Holy Mountain

    Alejandro Jodorowsky followed up his cult midnight movie hit El Topo with this surrealist fantasy in 1973 - which also gave name to Noel Gallagher's 2017 banger.

    A typically psychedelic scene from Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1973 film Holy Mountain
    A typically psychedelic scene from Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1973 film Holy Mountain. Picture: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy Stock Photo
  10. New Order - Thieves Like Us

    Joy Division had played a former cinema during their one and only European tour in January 1980 and had nicked a load of posters from the venue. These movie images later adorned New Order's rehearsal room and gave titles to some of their songs: In A Lonely Place was one, and the 1974 Robert Altman drama Thieves Like Us was another.

    The US poster art for Thieves Like Us (1974).
    The US poster art for Thieves Like Us (1974). Picture: Alamy
  11. Editors - Papillon

    It means "butterfly" in French, of course, but the word is also inextricably linked to the 1973 true-life prison drama starring Dustin Hoffman.

    1973's Papillon starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
    1973's Papillon starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Picture: Alamy
  12. Suede - Dog Man Star

    Suede's second album was named after a 1964 experimental film by the artist Stan Brakhage, named Dog Star Man.

    Prelude: Dog Star Man (Stan Brakhage, 1961)

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