The best songs about fictional characters

26 May 2024, 08:00

Anne Bancroft as Mrs Robinson with Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, 1967
Anne Bancroft as Mrs Robinson with Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, 1967. Picture: Alamy

Not all rock songs are true stories. Let's take a look at some great fictional characters in rock 'n' roll.

Radio X

By Radio X

  1. The Lemonheads - Mrs Robinson

    As played by Anne Bancroft, the titular character seduces the hapless Benjamin Braddock as played by Dustin Hoffman in the 1967 comedy film The Graduate. The original soundtrack featured this song, as recorded by Simon And Garfunkel.

    Lemonheads - Mrs Robinson

  2. Catatonia - Mulder And Scully

    Mulder and Scully were, of course, the heroes of the spooky sci-fi TV drama, The X-Files, which ran between 1993 to 2002. Agent Fox Mulder was played by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson played Dana Scully.

    Catatonia - Mulder And Scully (Official Music Video)

  3. Feeder - Buck Rogers

    Phillip Francis Nowlan created the character of astronaut and time traveller Buck Rogers in 1928 and later adapted the stories as a comic strip the following year. Buck was played by Buster Crabbe as a film serial (also famous for playing Flash Gordon) in 1939 and the series was revived for TV in 1980, with Gil Gerard in the title role.

    Feeder - 'Buck Rogers' - Official Music Video - HD

  4. The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby

    Although there's an Eleanor Rigby in a graveyard in Woolton, Liverpool, the title character from the Fab's 1966 classic was the work of Paul McCartney's imagination. He originally called it Miss Daisy Hawkins.

    The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby (From "Yellow Submarine")

  5. David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy was one of Bowie's "alter egos" - a spaceman who becomes a messenger on Earth. He later followed it up with similar characters like Aladdin Sane and The Thin White Duke, and revived 1969's Major Tom for the song Ashes To Ashes in 1980.

    David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust (Live, 1973)

  6. Pink Floyd - Arnold Layne

    Roger Waters claimed that Arnold was based on a real person who would steal ladies' undergarments from local washing lines. Lyricist Syd Barrett turned the story into the memorable tale of a psychedelic misfit.

    Syd Barrett /Pink Floyd - Arnold Layne

  7. The Libertines - What Became Of The Likely Lads?

    The Libertines - What Became Of The Likely Lads

    This song is about Pete 'n' Carl, but here, we like to think it's actually about Bob Ferris (played by Rodney Bewes) and Terry Collier (played by James Bowlam) from the BBC comedy series The Likely Lads (1964-66) and Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads (1973-4).

    Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads

  8. Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - Sheriff Fatman

    Although the Fatman himself is fictitious, he's an amalgamation of unscrupulous landlords across the country: "The windows are jammed, the toilets ain't healthy, he don't give a damn."

    Carter USM - Sheriff Fatman

  9. Mansun - Stripper Vicar

    The band's 1997 album Attack Of The Grey Lantern concerns the superhero of the title and other assorted characters in a fictional village: Dark Mavis, the Stripper Vicar, Egg Shaped Fred, Chad and Albert Taxloss.

    Mansun - Stripper Vicar (official PV)