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.
In 1957, John Lennons 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 childrens
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 British punk-rock group was originally called 101ers after the torture
room in Orwells 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.
Formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England, this dance-pop-New Wave group is
named after a character in Roger Vadims sex-kitten/sci-fi movie Barbabella.
Dave Grohl named his post-NIRVANA band, Foo Fighters after a type of UFO
spotted over Germany by World War II Air Force pilots.
With their dark musical themes and theatrical presence, the group named
itself after a medieval torture device, Iron Maiden, in 1976.
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!
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
In 1986, Anaheim singer, John Spence formed a ska band and named it after
his favorite expression, No Doubt. John and Eric Stefani (Gwens
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 bands name.
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
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 bands lawyer called and told them that
a blues man had already claimed the name Mighty Joe Young. They changed the
bands name to Shirley Temples Pussy, but ended up changing it due
to the pressure from their record label. Wanting to keep the bands initials,
they came up with Stone Temple Pilots, after seeing the STP Motor Oil Company
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 . . . Adams friend (Steve Averill)
suggested that they change their name to U2 . . . Bono let the crowd decide
the bands 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!
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.
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.
Ritchie Blackmores grandmother liked the Bing Crosby song Deep
Purple so they named the band after that song.