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Famous/iconic characters from songs?
March 28, 2012 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Help me compile a list of names of iconic fictional characters from popular songs. For example Jimmy Mack, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Maggie May, Absolutely Sweet Marie, Johnny B Goode.

When I say fictional, I mean that they feel like fictional characters even if they were actually based on real people.

When I say iconic, I mean that their names are familiar and instantly bring to mind the hit song in which they feature. For example 'Lola' is certainly an iconic song but 'Lola' the name isn't specific enough that it instantly brings the song to mind in any context. Whereas Eleanor Rigby is unambiguously connected to the song.

The songs don't have to be eponymous (ie the song title doesn't have to be the character's name) but it's hard to think of examples where it isn't.

This is for a musical project in which I'm trying to bring a bunch of these characters together.
posted by unSane to Media & Arts (142 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Billie Jean
posted by brainmouse at 2:34 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jack and Diane
posted by Babblesort at 2:34 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Stagger Lee.
posted by contraption at 2:35 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sweet Caroline (later to be Caroline Kennedy, so maybe it doesn't count)
Minnie The Moocher
Mack The Knife
Mister Bojangles
posted by jquinby at 2:35 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Major Tom?
posted by Melismata at 2:35 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


(later revealed, that is)
posted by jquinby at 2:36 PM on March 28, 2012


Mrs. Robinson, Leroy Brown, Rocky Raccoon maybe?
posted by brainmouse at 2:36 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bobby McGee
posted by brainmouse at 2:38 PM on March 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Charlie Brown (no relation to the Peanut)
posted by jozxyqk at 2:40 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Big Bad John
posted by Reverend John at 2:40 PM on March 28, 2012


Peggy Sue
posted by Reverend John at 2:42 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Marie-Claire, from Where Do You Go To My Lovely by Peter Sarstedt....
posted by HandfulOfDust at 2:44 PM on March 28, 2012


Liza Radley, Billy Hunt, and David Watts
posted by scody at 2:44 PM on March 28, 2012


Levon, Daniel, and Benny and the Jets from Elton John and Bernie Taupin's oeuvre.

Richard from Joni Mitchell's The Last Time I Saw Richard.

Quinn the Eskimo.

Running Bear, from the fairly horrible Johnny Preston song (which was written by the Big Bopper, who knew? Google knew).

Leonard Cohen's Suzanne.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:44 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Miss Molly
posted by txmon at 2:44 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Billie Joe McAllister
posted by phunniemee at 2:45 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, Morrissey's Mr. Shankley.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:45 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jackhammer John
Madame George
posted by duetnase at 2:45 PM on March 28, 2012


Saint Jimmy? Don't know if that's popular enough or too recent for you.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 2:46 PM on March 28, 2012


Boy Named Sue
posted by Brent Parker at 2:47 PM on March 28, 2012


Alfie.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 2:47 PM on March 28, 2012


Brandy (of Brandy You're a Fine Girl fame)
posted by phunniemee at 2:48 PM on March 28, 2012


,A Boy Named Sue, Angie, Ruby Tuesday
posted by Lynsey at 2:48 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Roxanne
posted by Sassyfras at 2:48 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guys, don't miss the fact that the name has to immediately bring to mind the song, even without context. Common names or names that are associated with something else don't make the cut.
posted by brainmouse at 2:49 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mustang Sally
posted by pickypicky at 2:49 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brenda and Eddie from Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant."

Rhiannon, from the eponymous Fleetwood Mac song.

Counting Crows's Mr. Jones, and his wife Mrs. Jones (with whom Billy Paul had a thang goin' on).

Johnny, whom Josie Cotton interrogated re: his sexual identity.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:49 PM on March 28, 2012


And as an Askville question.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:49 PM on March 28, 2012


Some more: Ruby Tuesday, Maggie May, Baba O'Reilly (though may not count, as the song isn't really about the character).
posted by scody at 2:49 PM on March 28, 2012


Oh, and Cecelia.

I would think that Lola (at least for me) would be iconic enough. If I hear Lola, I either think of the Kinks or Copacabana. Pretty good song recognition for just one name.

(Maybe I should just sit and think for a while before hitting post again...)
posted by phunniemee at 2:50 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Happy Jack
posted by Ike_Arumba at 2:50 PM on March 28, 2012


Guys, don't miss the fact that the name has to immediately bring to mind the song, even without context.

I presume that the context will provide the context. If Minnie the Moocher and Mack the Knife are talking with Jack and Diane, I know which Jack and Diane they mean. Cf. Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crimes series--if Humpty Dumpty and Tom are talking, we know that's Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, not Tom Bodett.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2012


Liberty Valance?
posted by HandfulOfDust at 2:52 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gloria
Delilah
Georgia on My Mind
Sweet Georgia Brown
posted by aabbbiee at 2:53 PM on March 28, 2012


Julio, down by the schoolyard
Did anyone get Mrs. Robinson?
posted by cross_impact at 2:53 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, last time...(I like this question, can you tell?)

Jenny Lee
David Watts
Mr. Bojangles
DW Washburn
Rene (maybe only if you like the Small Faces)
Tom Dooley
(G-L-O-R-I-A) Gloria
Windy
posted by phunniemee at 2:55 PM on March 28, 2012


It's based on a poem originally, but:
Richard Cory
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:56 PM on March 28, 2012


Suzanne, the addressee of Fire and Rain
Susannah (as in "Oh, Susannah")
Clementine
Jenny (whose number is 867-5309)
Roxanne (who doesn't have to put on that red light.)

This is fun!
posted by cross_impact at 2:56 PM on March 28, 2012


Top Jimmy
posted by The World Famous at 2:58 PM on March 28, 2012


John Hardy (was a desperate little man)
John Henry (and his hammer)
Virgil Caine (who served on the Danville train)
Casey Jones
posted by entropicamericana at 2:59 PM on March 28, 2012




Dr. Robert.
Sgt. Pepper.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 2:59 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Terry and Julie cross over the river, where they feel safe and sound etc.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 2:59 PM on March 28, 2012


Maxwell Edison
Daisy, Daisy
Bill Bailey
posted by cross_impact at 3:00 PM on March 28, 2012


This is great -- keep em comin if you can
posted by unSane at 3:00 PM on March 28, 2012


Fancy
(am I doing this right?)
posted by Sassyfras at 3:00 PM on March 28, 2012


Black Betty?
posted by elizardbits at 3:03 PM on March 28, 2012


Corinna, Corinna
posted by Sassyfras at 3:03 PM on March 28, 2012


Ebenezer Goode.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 3:03 PM on March 28, 2012


Delta Dawn
Sussudio
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt (DA DA DA DA Da Da da...)
Johnny Trebec(sp?) (How could you be so mean?)
Billy (Don't be a hero)
posted by cross_impact at 3:05 PM on March 28, 2012


Bonita Applebum
posted by elizardbits at 3:08 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


XTC are the motherlode for this - Peter Pumpkinhead, Sgt. Rock and Nigel all get the treatment.
posted by N-stoff at 3:08 PM on March 28, 2012


Would Clever Trevor and Billericay Dickie by the mighty Ian Dury count?
posted by HandfulOfDust at 3:11 PM on March 28, 2012


Ziggy Stardust
posted by jacobm at 3:12 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Arnold Layne.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 3:13 PM on March 28, 2012


Fernando.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 3:16 PM on March 28, 2012


Curtis Loew, of course.
posted by Mr. Justice at 3:16 PM on March 28, 2012


Luka (who lives on the second floor)
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:17 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blue Jean
posted by The World Famous at 3:20 PM on March 28, 2012


Polk Salad Annie
posted by pupdog at 3:20 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:24 PM on March 28, 2012


Ace Miller. Pietasters.
Haji. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
posted by hot_monster at 3:27 PM on March 28, 2012


Sloopy and Windy, from their eponymous songs.

Secondhand Rose.

Gilbert and Sullivan's Little Buttercup.

Champagne Charlie.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:28 PM on March 28, 2012


Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter.

Sylvia's Mother.

Delta Dawn.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:31 PM on March 28, 2012


Desmond and Molly Jones!

And Bungalow Bill.
posted by dlugoczaj at 3:32 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Major Tom
Ziggy Stardust
Blue Jean


more Bowie: Aladdin Sane, Thin White Duke, Halloween Jack
posted by scody at 3:33 PM on March 28, 2012


I don't want to call anyone out here, but a lot of these aren't "instantly recognizable" by virtue of the hit song in which they're featured. I mean, "Julia"? I am more likely to think of Vanessa Redgrave. "Richard"?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:33 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


the grandkids from When I'm Sixty-Four: Vera, Chuck, and Dave
posted by scody at 3:34 PM on March 28, 2012


Patches.

Honey (by Bobby Goldsboro)

Georgia (which was actually written about a woman, not the state.)

Amos Moses (by Jerry Reed)
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:37 PM on March 28, 2012


And Champagne Charlie's music-hall colleagues, Burlington Bertie from Bow, Henery the Eighth, and Nellie Dean.

On the other side of the pond, we have the vaudeville stalwarts Whistling Pete, Sweet Adeline, and Hard-Hearted Hannah, the Vamp of Savannah.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:38 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Clyde Mnestra, I think you have a point--obviously Richard and Suzanne (just to call out my own contributions), not to mention Mr. Jones and Mrs. Jones--but again in the context of a larger project there is context.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:40 PM on March 28, 2012


Slim Shady?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:40 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Eileen
posted by Tom-B at 3:40 PM on March 28, 2012


Black Betty
posted by Tom-B at 3:42 PM on March 28, 2012


Some Grateful Dead songs:

Jack Straw (from Wichita, cut his buddy down)
Delilah Jones (Brown Eyed Women)
Loose Lucy (she's everyone's delight!)
Sugar Magnolia (heads all empty but I don't care)
posted by Elly Vortex at 3:42 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


sorry, Eileen should link to the Cmon Eileen video
posted by Tom-B at 3:43 PM on March 28, 2012


Long Tall Sally
posted by Tom-B at 3:43 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sidhedevil, it's all good. I just want to make sure the hive mind is focusing as much as possible. Most of my own nominees are being taken, *or* are failing because they (a) don't satisfy the stringent "Lola" standard (see the original post), or (b) don't strike me as that well known.

What's killing me is the famous characters not mentioned in the title. Must be some; just harder to think of.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:44 PM on March 28, 2012


Molly Malone.

Lydia the Tattooed Lady.

Sweet Rosie O'Grady.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:46 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Per the "Jumping Jack Flash" example, maybe "The Great Pretender"?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:46 PM on March 28, 2012


Willie the Wimp
posted by The World Famous at 3:47 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


How could I have forgotten Barnacle Bill the Sailor?
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:49 PM on March 28, 2012


Jolene.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 3:49 PM on March 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Mista Dobalina, Mista Bob Dobalina.
posted by furiousthought at 3:59 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cracklin' Rosie
Danny Boy
Polythene Pam
Runaround Sue


And . . . Layla?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 4:00 PM on March 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dear Prudence
posted by jbenben at 4:00 PM on March 28, 2012


Admittedly, it's only if you're into this scene, but Saul Williams' Niggy Tardust seems like it fulfils both requirements, in the same way that the (source, naturally) Ziggy Stardust does.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:11 PM on March 28, 2012


Madame George

John Henry

Sheena (who by the way is a punk rocker )
posted by pianomover at 4:13 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Horace Wimp, who kept a diary.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 4:27 PM on March 28, 2012


(My) Sharona.
posted by iviken at 4:27 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fernando (Abba)
Melissa (Allman Brothers)
Danny's Song (Anne Murray)
Ophelia (The Band)
Barbara Ann (Beach Boys)
Polythene Pam (Beatles)
Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Beatles)
Maggie Mae (Beatles)
Eleanor Rigby (Beatles)
Lovely Rita (Beatles)
Kate (Ben Folds Five)
Mona (Bo Didley)
Hello Dolly (Satchmo)
Oh Suzannah (Traditional American)
Bobby Jean (Springsteen)
Nancy Spain (Christy Moore)
posted by Flood at 4:35 PM on March 28, 2012


Mother by Danzig.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:52 PM on March 28, 2012


Kayleigh (by Marillion)
posted by timpollard at 4:55 PM on March 28, 2012


Dr. Bernice
posted by The World Famous at 4:57 PM on March 28, 2012


Sexy Sadie, Dr. Robert, Lucy in the Sky
posted by hydrophonic at 4:59 PM on March 28, 2012


Ooh... Mary Cecilia Brown (by the late and much missed Dory Previn)
posted by timpollard at 5:04 PM on March 28, 2012


Jennifer Eccles from/and Lily the Pink.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 5:10 PM on March 28, 2012


Eleanor Rigby
posted by seesom at 5:18 PM on March 28, 2012


Skinny Minny
posted by camneely at 5:28 PM on March 28, 2012


er . . . Minnie, not Minny.
posted by camneely at 5:31 PM on March 28, 2012


Mr. Mojo Riser
posted by bondcliff at 5:41 PM on March 28, 2012


Surabaya Johnny
Mr. Bigshot
posted by trip and a half at 5:42 PM on March 28, 2012


Sweet Jane.
posted by monospace at 5:55 PM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Duke of Earl
posted by evilmomlady at 6:28 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sweet Melissa
posted by jquinby at 6:31 PM on March 28, 2012


Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
posted by pised at 6:34 PM on March 28, 2012


Chantilly Lace!
posted by jquinby at 6:37 PM on March 28, 2012


shakes fist at flood
posted by jquinby at 6:39 PM on March 28, 2012


Miss Amanda Jones
posted by dogmom at 6:44 PM on March 28, 2012


Suzy Q
posted by The World Famous at 6:44 PM on March 28, 2012


Carmelita, Warren Zevon
Darling Nikki, Prince

These that don't fit so exactly, but if the context of the discussion is music or songs people might catch them:

Allison, Elvis Costello
Veronica, Elvis Costello
Joey, Concrete Blonde
posted by dilettante at 6:47 PM on March 28, 2012


Oo! Cuban Pete (he's the king of the rhumba beat). I have been trying to think of this for hours.

And Carol Brown just took a bus out of town (but I'm hoping that you'll stick around).
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:01 PM on March 28, 2012


Lady Madonna
Rio
Captain Jack
Jet
Uncle Albert
Rosalita
Mr. Tanner (OK, that song may not be well-known enough to qualify)

(not individually, but as a group) Jack, Stan, Roy, Gus, and Lee

Do the characters have to be human? If not:
Puff
Frosty
Rudolph
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:17 PM on March 28, 2012


Caldonia (Louis Jordan)
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band)
Carrie Anne (The Hollies, for Marianne Faithfull)
So Long, Marianne (Leonard Cohen)
Suite, Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash, for Judy Collins)
Wendy in Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band)
Candy's Room (Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band)
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band)
Caroline, No (Beach Boys)
Oh Caroline (Cheap Trick)
Stacy's Mom (Fountains of Wayne)
Runaround Sue (Dion & the Belmonts)
Cathy's Clown (Everly Brothers)
Bernadette (Box Tops)
Nadine (Chuck Berry)
Micky (Toni Basil)
Rose of the Mountains (The Flatlanders)
Beth (Kiss)
posted by doncoyote at 7:36 PM on March 28, 2012


Janie Jones
posted by looli at 7:55 PM on March 28, 2012


Ana Ng (TMBG)
posted by Sunburnt at 9:01 PM on March 28, 2012


I don't know if "Oh sweet nothin'" by the Velvet Underground is famous enough, but if I met someone named Ginger Brown I would assume that he walks with his head down to the ground.
posted by gamera at 9:38 PM on March 28, 2012


Ruby Soho
Pinball Wizard
Frank Mills
Kim The Waitress
Dominique
posted by SisterHavana at 11:32 PM on March 28, 2012


Sister Havana
posted by The World Famous at 12:06 AM on March 29, 2012


Sister Havana

Heh, you'd think I'd remember that one. : )

But I did think of one more: Chelsea Dagger
posted by SisterHavana at 12:23 AM on March 29, 2012


Jenny - already mentioned.
Can't believe no-one mentioned Shilo.
posted by arcticseal at 2:08 AM on March 29, 2012


Ma Baker – Boney M
Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex
Sandra Dee – Grease?
posted by guy72277 at 2:35 AM on March 29, 2012


Big John
posted by txmon at 5:59 AM on March 29, 2012


Stagger Lee
not fictional
posted by thelonius at 6:30 AM on March 29, 2012


Mr. Roboto
Bertha. Bertha Butt.
posted by evilmomlady at 6:56 AM on March 29, 2012


Dinah-Moe Humm
posted by milk white peacock at 7:15 AM on March 29, 2012


Dolly Dagger
posted by The World Famous at 7:53 AM on March 29, 2012


(Ms. Vegetable)
Jude, in Hey Jude
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:22 AM on March 29, 2012




Just dropping into my own thread. A few outliers -- Thin Lizzy (a band), Proud Mary (a boat), Blind Mary (the CeeLo song).

So far of the suggestions, these are the ones I've worked in:

Jimmy Mack
Maggie May
Baby Blue
Absolutely Sweet Marie
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Sweet Adeline
Ruby Tuesday
Suzie Q

The Spiders from Mars also seem to be making a cameo.
posted by unSane at 11:19 AM on March 29, 2012


Lido
posted by entropicamericana at 11:23 AM on March 29, 2012


Darling Nikki.
posted by iviken at 1:25 PM on March 29, 2012


Also, Black Sabbath's Iron Man (no relation to Tony Stark)
posted by jozxyqk at 3:17 AM on March 30, 2012


Jeremy spoke in class today
posted by raider at 9:11 AM on April 1, 2012


This here's a story 'bout Billy Joe and Bobby Sue

-- clap clap clap clap clap --
posted by raider at 9:13 AM on April 1, 2012


Mr. Telephone Man
posted by SisterHavana at 4:21 PM on April 2, 2012


Let's not forget Gordon.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 1:10 PM on April 5, 2012


And Jilted John (Gordon is a moron!)
posted by unSane at 1:32 PM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


And Jilted John (Gordon is a moron!)
posted by unSane at 9:32 PM on April 5


That's what I said! (Or meant, anyway.)
posted by HandfulOfDust at 2:05 PM on April 5, 2012


Voodoo Ray by/and A Guy Called Gerald.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 5:08 PM on April 9, 2012


Well, the song is all written... I'll post it to music.mefi as soon as it's properly demoed!
posted by unSane at 9:18 AM on April 25, 2012


Ok, here's a fantastically ragged version of it but you get the idea!
posted by unSane at 7:46 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


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