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Cirque Du Soleil
(Cirque Du Soleil)
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Patricia Barber
(Blue Note)
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Cirque Du Soleil
(Cirque Du Soleil)
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Jim Pearce
“Why I Haven't Got You”
Prairie Dog Ballet
(Oak Avenue Publishing)
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Andy Timmons Band
“Gone (9/11/01)”
(Favored Nations)
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Ralph Towner
Time Line
(ECM Records)
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Anoushka Shankar

Amos Lee
"Arms Of A Woman"
Amos Lee
(Blue Note)

Julius Curcio
"American Pie"
Alligator Shoes
(Electric Roots)
[listen] [buy]

"Come Alive"
Changing Into Me
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Feature [Issue #8]
Various: Behind The Names Of Rock
By Mandana Beigi

Have you ever wondered where these great band names come from? Here is the story behind some of the best rock band names of all time.

The Beatles
In 1957, John Lennon’s skiffle group was called Black Jackets and then the Quarry Men; they picked the name the Quarry Men after their Quarry Bank School. By 1959, the group was streamlined to John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. They began to go on television auditions introducing themselves as “Johnny and the Moondogs.” With the addition of Stuart Sutcliffe to the band in March 1960, they went through The Moondogs, The Silver Beetles, The Silver Beats, and The Beatals before finally settling on simply “the Beatles” in August of 1960. Although there are numerous versions of this story, the credit for choosing the name goes to both John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe, but it is not certain which one came up with the “ea” spelling. Sutcliffe died on April 10th, 1962 of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 22. He did not even survive to see The Beatles top the pop charts for the very first time in late 1962. His influence and memory was not forgotten by the Beatles, particularly John Lennon.

Belle and Sebastian
This Scottish pop/rock band is named after the popular European children’s novel television series Belle and Sebastian (written by Cecil Aubry); the story of a young boy (Sebastian) and his dog (Belle) and their adventures.

The Clash
The British punk-rock group was originally called 101’ers after the torture room in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. With the addition of Terry Chimes on drums, they named the band Clash after a favorite word of the UK tabloid writers (every headline in the UK tabloid is a clash, a fury, or a storm).

The band was originally called Starfish. Their friends who also had a band were called Coldplay. When their friends’ band broke up, Starfish asked if they could use their name and they said OK. The original Coldplay chose the name based on a book of collected poems.

Duran Duran
Formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England, this dance-pop-New Wave group is named after a character in Roger Vadim’s sex-kitten/sci-fi movie Barbabella.

Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl named his post-NIRVANA band, Foo Fighters after a type of UFO spotted over Germany by World War II Air Force pilots.

Iron Maiden
With their dark musical themes and theatrical presence, the group named itself after a medieval torture device, Iron Maiden, in 1976.

Led Zeppelin
The name Led Zeppelin was based on something Keith Moon (The Who, drummer) said about a proposed off-shoot group featuring himself, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. He described it as, “going down like a lead balloon, or a lead zeppelin.” John Entwistle (The Who, bass/keyboards/vocals) insists that he came up with the name, but Jimmy Page has confirmed many times that Keith Moon gave them the name. Maybe John Entwistle did think of the name and told it to Keith Moon who told it to Jimmy Page!

Mötley Crüe
The band went through a series of names before settling on Mötley Crüe. Mick Mars (guitar) remembered his previous band being described as a “motley-looking crew.” The group changed the spelling and added the umlauts to make the name look more exotic.

After going through a series of names such as: Stiff Woddies, Skid Row, Sellouts, and Fecal Matter, in 1986 Kurt Cobain chose the name Nirvana because he wanted something different and meaningful, yet “beautiful and romantic.” Kurt believed strongly in Buddhism. And Nirvana, as the goal of spiritual practice in all branches of Buddhism, has been defined as “the ineffable ultimate in which one has attained disinterested wisdom and compassion.” Nirvana is emancipation from ignorance and the extinction of all attachment - complete bliss.

No Doubt
In 1986, Anaheim singer, John Spence formed a ska band and named it after his favorite expression, “No Doubt.” John and Eric Stefani (Gwen’s brother) asked Gwen to sing backing vocals in their band. Tragically, in December 1987, John committed suicide at an Anaheim park. The band first called it quits, but then reunited after a few weeks. Gwen became the lead singer and they decided to keep No Doubt as the band’s name.

Pink Floyd
After numerous line-up and name changes, Syd Barrett (guitar/vocals) chose the name Pink Floyd after two obscure Georgia bluesmen; Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Stone Temple Pilots
In 1990, going by the name Mighty Joe Young, they played at Whiskey on Sunset Blvd. Soon after they signed a record deal with Atlantic Records in 1992, during a recording session, the band’s lawyer called and told them that a blues man had already claimed the name Mighty Joe Young. They changed the band’s name to Shirley Temple’s Pussy, but ended up changing it due to the pressure from their record label. Wanting to keep the band’s initials, they came up with Stone Temple Pilots, after seeing the STP Motor Oil Company logo.

In 1976, Larry Mullen Jr. posted a notice on their high school bulletin board in Dublin, Ireland, looking for potential band mates. Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Dick Evans responded to the ad and formed a cover band of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones called The Feedback. They then changed their name to The Hype in 1977. Legend has it that at a Howth show in 1978, Dick Evans left the group after the first set . . . Adam’s friend (Steve Averill) suggested that they change their name to U2 . . . Bono let the crowd decide the band’s name based on their applause for each name . . . U2 won and the Irish four-piece became the first band to play one show under two names!

The Doors
They borrowed the name of their band from a poem by William Blake, who wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is, infinite.”

They performed as Teen King and the Emergencies before chosing The Eagles, inspired by the Byrds, who were a big influence on the band.

The Who
After originally peforming as The Detours and The High Numbers, the band chose to take a shorter name because concert posters at the time typically ran a list of band names, devoting one line to each band; their logic was that even if they were at the bottom of the bill their name would be printed in larger type because it was short. During the branistorming session, a buch of their friends were helping them out with different names and after every suggestion, the band members would say “the who?” so, finally someone suggested The Who and the boys liked it.

The band named themselves after the character “Travis” from the movie Paris, Texas (1983). Paris, Texas is the story of a man filled with emotional complexity who is given an unanticipated chance to undo his pain and misery as well as those of people connected to him.

Deep Purple
Ritchie Blackmore’s grandmother liked the Bing Crosby song “Deep Purple” so they named the band after that song.

Behind The Names Of Rock Various

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