Many bands have interesting names with unique stories or meanings behind them. Here are a few examples:
1. The Beatles
The Beatles chose their name as a play on the word "beat," representing their music genre (beat music), combined with a clever spelling referencing insects ("beetles"). It is said that John Lennon was inspired by Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets.
2. Led Zeppelin
The name Led Zeppelin originated from a phrase Keith Moon, the drummer for The Who, once said. Moon predicted that a band featuring him and guitarist Jimmy Page would go down like a "lead balloon," meaning it would fail disastrously. When Page formed his new band, he remembered this phrase and decided to use it as a name, substituting "balloon" for "zeppelin," a type of rigid airship. "Lead" was misspelled as "Led" to avoid pronunciation confusion.
3. The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones took their name from the title of a Muddy Waters song, "Rollin' Stone." Muddy Waters, a renowned blues musician, was a significant influence on the band, and the name also represents constant motion and change.
4. The Doors
The Doors named themselves after Aldous Huxley's book "The Doors of Perception," which details Huxley's experiences with psychedelic drugs. The title of Huxley's book, in turn, is derived from a line in a poem by William Blake: "If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite."
5. Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden's name is derived from a medieval torture device. An iron maiden is a purported torture device, essentially a metal cabinet with a hinged front and spike-covered interior, sufficiently tall to enclose a human being.
6. Arctic Monkeys
The Arctic Monkeys reportedly got their name when guitarist Jamie Cook thought of it before the band was even formed and thought it would be a cool name for a band. It does not have a deeper meaning or story, but it is indeed distinctive.
Originally named "On a Friday," referring to the day of the week they would practice, they later changed their name to Radiohead after a song titled "Radio Head" by the Talking Heads, a band they admired.
8. Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd's name is a combination of the names of two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, whom Syd Barrett, one of the founding members, had read about in a liner note for a Blind Boy Fuller album. The band was previously called The Tea Set, but they decided to change the name after finding out there was another band with the same name.
9. Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam has multiple origin stories for its name. One is that it was named after the peyote-laced jam that Eddie Vedder’s great-grandmother Pearl used to make. Another story is that it’s a play on the word "pearl," and "jam" represents the musical jamming of the band.
10. The Who
The band went through several name changes, including The Detours and The High Numbers, before settling on The Who. While there isn’t a profound story behind the name, it was reportedly suggested by their manager Peter Meaden, and the band liked its simplicity and ambiguity.
11. The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead got their name when Jerry Garcia, the band’s lead guitarist, found the phrase in a dictionary. The definition referred to a type of ballad involving a hero who gives a dead person a proper burial and is then mysteriously aided by the grateful dead person’s spirit.
12. Red Hot Chili Peppers
The name Red Hot Chili Peppers combines the idea of spicy food, particularly chili peppers, with the concept of something being red hot, i.e., exciting or sexy. It's intended to convey the energy and flavor of their music.
13. The Velvet Underground
The band named themselves after a book about the secret sexual subculture of the early 1960s. The name reflected the band’s interest in outsider culture and the underground music scene of the time.
This is not an exhaustive list, and many other bands have interesting stories behind their names as well.
Here Are 10 More
Here are ten more band names with interesting origins or stories behind them:
14. Lynyrd Skynyrd
The band named themselves after Leonard Skinner, a gym teacher at their high school who was known for strictly enforcing the school's policy against boys having long hair.
15. Steely Dan
Steely Dan took their name from a sex toy mentioned in the William S. Burroughs novel "Naked Lunch." It was chosen to reflect the band’s eclectic and literary influences.
16. Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl, the band's founder, named the band after the term "foo fighter," used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe various UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena.
17. Creedence Clearwater Revival
The band's name is a combination of three elements: Tom Fogerty's friend Credence Newball, whose name they changed to "Creedence," a reference to a commercial for Clearwater soft drinks, and "Revival," representing their hope to revitalize rock music.
18. The Eagles
The band originally wanted to name themselves "Teen King and the Emergencies," but they settled on "the Eagles" while standing in line at the bar in a high desert, recalling the Hopi Indians' reverence for the eagle.
The band's sister Margaret saw the initials "AC/DC" on a sewing machine, representing alternating current/direct current electricity, and suggested it as the name because it symbolized the band's raw energy and power-driven performances.
20. Jefferson Airplane
The band's name has obscure origins. It's said to be a slang term for a used paper match splint to hold a marijuana joint when it has become too short, combined with "Jefferson" to add a "Bluesy feel" to it.
21. The Killers
The band took their name from a logo on the bass drum of a fictitious band in the music video for the New Order song "Crystal."
22. Vampire Weekend
The name is derived from the title of a short film project band member Ezra Koenig worked on during college. The project was abandoned, but the name stuck.
The band's name was chosen by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett to reflect their feeling that the music industry was full of "gargantuan, animated characters," without substance behind them. They created virtual band members as a satire on the lack of substance in the music industry.
These stories illustrate how band names can be as creative, whimsical, and unique as the music they produce, often reflecting the musicians' influences, experiences, and sense of humor.