Fame! What’s your name? We got songs about notable figures in arts, culture and even crime.

It lends to reason that cool creative people (musicians and songwriters) would find muse in other cool creatives, so a lot of tunes packed into this week’s Thematic Static — songs about famous people — are about fellow artists, singers and actors. We were inspired by Nashville Artist of the Month COIN‘s new track “Brad Pitt,” most recently. Then again, your requests were far-ranging in the interpretation of “famous” and Jason Moon Wilkins even suggested local band girlhouse‘s “Paul Blart Mall Cop” as a contender. Fame is a…construct?

Hear what I played in the official hour of the March 17 #ThematicStatic 👇🏼 and other ideas from listeners I didn’t fit in but that certainly fit the theme. As always, weigh in (on Instagram, Twitter or via voice memo) to request a song for our next themed set: songs from some of your favorite NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts, inspired by our upcoming Tank and the Bangas show at Brooklyn Bowl. Consider this binge-watching your radio homework, with some 14 years of archived performances to devour.


Outkast – “Rosa Parks” – Randy lobbed this one on Insta about the Civil Rights icon!

Mattiel – “Jeff Goldblum” – Young or old, JG keeps it fly. See.what.I.did.there.

#ThematicStatic Playlist

Remi Wolf – “Anthony Kiedis” – Galvie requested this the same week we announced WNXP Presents Remi Wolf at Brooklyn Bowl October 6! Like Galvie, we are all “very excite” about this show and you can enter to win tickets at wnxp.org/giveaways by March 31. Get down on it:

Cake – “Frank Sinatra” – Tony and Aaron both suggested this one with timeless impressions of Ol’ Blue Eyes crackling through speakers on a planet mostly devoid of human life:

We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station
While Frank Sinatra sings ‘Stormy Weather’
The flies and spiders get along together
Cobwebs fall on an old skipping record

“Frank Sinatra”

Miloe ft. Jamila Woods and Vagabon – “Winona” – This is one of multimsongs, turns out, about famed actress and shoplifter Winona Ryder, who was born in Winona, Minnesota. Joshua told me on Instagram that Unrest also has a great song called “Winona Ryder.” #themoreyouknow.

Gorillaz- “Clint Eastwood” – Man does this tune hold up after 21 years. Here’s the original video with early millennium cartoon band brilliance, though the actor Clint Eastwood, sadly, does not appear:

MIKA – “Grace Kelly” – Requested by Levia and Megan, this pop gem from 2007 evokes both actress Grace Kelly and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

Lucy Dacus – “Brando” – From her 2021 WNXP #RecordoftheWeek Home Video, this Dacus song is about a high school dude who is charming if not a bit condescending.

Duck Sauce – “Barbara Streisand” – There are only two words to this dance song requested by Mike, and you guessed ’em.

Bob Dylan – Song to Woody” – Requested by Grant, this is Dylan’s straightforward nod to the eldest Guthrie troubadour.

Weezer – “Buddy Holly” – Requested by Cumberland Creative on Instagram, this commercially successful song is a Blue Album classic.

Sufjan Stevens – “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” – Abel requested this one via Twitter and wow what an interesting option, as the only infamous person on the list. And, yet…yet the serial killer was humanized in Sufjan’s delicate approach to telling his story.

And in my best behavior
I am really just like him.
Look beneath the floor boards
For the secrets I have hid.

“John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”

Robert Glasper ft. Killer Mike, Big K.R.I.T., BJ The Chicago Kid – “Black Superhero” – This one is a “choose your own adventure”-style song selection about someone famous — “Made a martyr outta Martin, outta Malcolm, outta Medgar” — or maybe someone close to you, that you find heroic. This black and white video is so good:

R.E.M. – “Man On The Moon” – About quirky comedian Andy Kaufman, this was requested by Chris.

More Name-dropping

Bad Books – “Forest Whitaker” – Requested by Jason of Michgander!

Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot – “Bonnie and Clyde” – Kami recommended this sexy French romanticism of the famed criminal duo of Depression-era America. Yes, please!

Little Feat – “Willin'”– Referencing “Dallas Alice,” who may have been, uh, famous in truck driver circles, this was a clever entry by Amy on Instagram. I love this piece from American Songwriter about the song’s origins.

Better Oblivion Center – “Dylan Thomas” – Poetry about a poet, requested by Caleb. You love to hear it.

Diana Ross – “Missing You” – This tune is an ode to Ross’ friend and Motown labelmate Marvin Gaye, who was killed by his own father in 1984. Elias reminded me of this heartbreaker. The video features footage of Ross and Gaye, plus other fallen soul singers:

Pop Smoke – “Dior” – Requested by Evan, this is a song referencing the fashion designer Christian Dior.

The Replacements – “Alex Chilton” – Requested by both Hardy and Chris (local artist fronting Dirt Reynolds, who just celebrated a birthday!), don’t y’all worry, I play The Replacements often.

Falco – “Rock Me Amadeus” – Brett, local instrumentalist currently touring with Best Coast, made this great request I didn’t fit in Thursday but vow to play at some point because DUH! Bang on with respect to Mozart: