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Top 10 Songs Named After Famous People

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by Noah Levy If nothing else, these songs will provide some name recognition. Join WatchMojo.com and today we’re looking at the Top 10 Songs Named After Famous People. For this list, we’re looking at the most memorable and meaningful songs that share their titles with the name of someone famous. Special thanks to our user MultiPearl007 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Noah Levy


Top 10 Songs Named After Famous People

If nothing else, these songs will provide some name recognition. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re looking at the Top 10 Songs Named After Famous People.

For this list, we’re looking at the most memorable and meaningful songs that share their titles with the name of someone famous. The only exceptions we have are for joke songs, so for those expecting to see songs like Weird Al’s “Jerry Springer” or “Robert De Niro’s Waiting…” by Bananarama, this isn’t the list you’re looking for.

#10: “Rosa Parks” (1998)
OutKast

By the late 1990s, beloved hip hop group OutKast were at the top of their game and with the release of “Rosa Parks” they had become a force to be reckoned with. Andre 3000 and Big Boi make reference to the legendary Civil Rights activist in the chorus, telling everyone to “Hush that fuss” and “Move to the back of the bus”, because they’re “The type of people that make the club get crunk”. While there’s no denying that OutKast aren’t worthy of that kind of status, it didn’t stop them from getting in trouble with the actual Rosa Parks, who sued them in 1999 saying they misappropriated her name.

#9: “James Dean” (1974)
Eagles


Even with only three films under his belt, actor James Dean left a permanent mark on pop culture before his unfortunate death in 1955. The Eagles definitely believed this, dedicating a whole song to him on their third album On The Border to the late actor. In the song, Glenn Frey sings about the larger than life persona and impact of the titular rebel without a cause, over some of the bands tightest musicianship. The track also coined the phrase “Too fast to live, too young to die”, referencing Dean’s death in a car crash, and providing an accurate description for others who might meet a similar fate.


#8: “Brian Wilson” (1992)
Barenaked Ladies


Usually upbeat and light-hearted, BNL took on a more somber tone for this ode to Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson. The singer's battles with mental illness have been well-documented, and the Barenaked Ladies make many references to the problems that Wilson faced, including Dr. Eugene Landy, the psychologist who was later revealed to be taking advantage of Wilson. The song was so well received by Wilson that he himself covered it for a live album in 2000, an experience the band later described as “surreal”. Hey, when a Beach Boy says he likes your song, you listen.

#7: “Bette Davis Eyes” (1981)
Kim Carnes


This early 80’s classic was actually recorded in 1974 by singer Jackie DeShannon, but it wasn’t until Carnes covered and rearranged it in 1981 that it worked itself into the cultural consciousness. Backed by otherworldly synthesizers, Carnes sings about an equally mesmerizing woman who shares eyes with the award winning actress from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The track spent nine weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, became the biggest song of 1981, and even earned Carnes recognition from Bette Davis herself for helping to bring her back into the spotlight.

#6: “Rock Me Amadeus” (1985)
Falco


The mid 80’s were a shockingly fertile time to talk about Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart. A year after the biopic of the famous Austrian composer won the Oscar for Best Picture, singer Falco scored a number one hit with a song about him. To this day, we’re still amazed that this was as big as it was. It was a song about a classical composer from the 1700s, sung almost entirely in German, in an era dominated by synthesizers and electronic drums. Despite that, the song became iconic, making Falco the first German-speaking artist to have #1 hit on two US charts.

#5: “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (1979)
Bauhaus


Ready for something really macabre? In 1979, English group Bauhaus hit the scene with this early example of goth rock. The track, which clocks in at nine minutes, makes reference to the iconic horror film star who still remains the most well-known screen image of Dracula. Despite Lugosi dying over two decades prior to the song’s release, it’s not hard to see where Bauhaus took inspiration from him, whether in their dark, gothic style, or lyrics that reference bats and the Count himself.

#4: “Mr. Crowley” (1980)
Ozzy Osbourne


No stranger to the occult or bizarre, the Prince of Darkness decided to give up the pretense on this cut from his debut album. Inspired by a book about the titular man, this Blizzard of Ozz standout sees Ozzy singing about the legendary British Occultist Aleister Crowley, backed to the iconic work of guitarist Randy Rhoads. While the song remains one of Ozzy’s best tracks, comparing himself to a magician and master of the occult definitely didn’t shake the public perception that the metal star was a practitioner of the Dark Arts, an image that would come back to... haunt him.



#3: “Clint Eastwood” (2001)
Gorillaz


At first listen, this song from Gorillaz doesn’t seems to have as much to do with the multi Academy Award winning actor-director. But this funktastic debut single is a lot more than its killer bass grooves and rap verses. Combine that imagery with the music of Gorillaz, you’ve got a tune awesome enough to stand next to Eastwood himself. Although there has been no word from The Man with No Name about his thoughts on the track, Gorillaz front man Damon Albarn is confident he would love the song as he says Eastwood is quote, “an intelligent man.”


#2: “Buddy Holly” (1994)
Weezer


It might still be overshadowed by its own video, but this song, released on what would have been Holly’s fifty-eighth birthday, remains one of Weezer’s most well-known tracks. Amazingly, Rivers Cuomo had to be convinced by their producer to include the song on their debut album, with Cuomo believing it wouldn’t fit in with the rest of their sound. But this lovable track where Cuomo compares himself and his lover to the beloved 50’s rock and roll pioneer and TV star Mary Tyler Moore turned out to be a perfect addition to Weezer’s nerd-rock personas.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a couplehonorable mentions:

“Moves Like Jagger” (2011)
Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera

“Uma Thurman” (2015)
Fall Out Boy

“Barbra Streisand” (2011)
Duck Sauce

“Girls Love Beyonce” (2014)
Drake feat. James Fauntleroy


#1: “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956)
Chuck Berry


The father of rock n’ roll putting the most famous classical composer of all time in his place? You gotta have some serious chops for that. Luckily, Chuck Berry had the musical talent to pull this off. Would Beethoven actually roll over in his grave if he knew that the music he pioneered had given way to rock 'n' roll? Hell, even Tchaikovsky gets dragged into this battle of riffs. But Berry’s boasting wasn’t without cause- Rolling Stone would later deem this “The ultimate rock and roll call to arms, declaring a new era.” Mr. Berry, our regards to Mr. Beethoven.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think are the best songs named after famous people? For more top tens posted every day visitwatchmojo.com

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