How the Bands Got Their Names
A band member saw AC/DC on a sewing machine. AC/DC stands for 'Alternating Current / Direct Current'. The band was misunderstood for a while.
The drummer for Aerosmith, Joey Kramer, used to write "aerosmith" on his notebooks because he thought it was a cool word. When he told the name to the group, they said "What? Like that book they make you read in high school?" (the book was from 1925. It book was called 'Arrowsmith'. The book was written by Sinclair Lewis) Kramer responded "No. A-e-r-o smith...”
The band Badfinger got their name from a Beatles song called "A Little Help From My Friends".
BAY CITY ROLLERS
While searching for a band name, the Bay City rollers randomly stuck a pin on a map. It landed on Bay City, Michigan.
Black Sabbath got their name from a horror movie from 1963. The movie starred Boris Karloff.
BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS
The founder of Blood, Sweat and Tears, Al Kooper, thought up the name when he was on the phone with a promoter, while staring at a Johnny Cash album cover. The album he was staring at was called, "Blood Sweat & Tears". The reason for using the band name didn’t come from Winston Churchill's quote, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat", as was reported all around when the band first started to gain attention in 1967.
BLUE OYSTER CULT -
Blue Oyster Cult got their name from a combination of a recipe that the band's manager read in a book, along with the band's fascination with the occult.
DAVID BOWIE –
David Bowie got his last name from the Bowie knife. His real name is 'David Jones', but he did not want to be confused with Davy Jones of the Monkees.
CHEAP TRICK -
Cheap Trick claims that they asked an Ouija board what they should name their band.
Their first album that got released was called 'Chicago Transit Authority'. It was named after the city, but they threatened to sue them.
Clash got their name from a newspaper headline describing 'A Clash With Police'
ALICE COOPER -
The band says the name was told to them by an Ouija Board. Right after they split up, the lead singer, Vincent Furnier, started using it by himself.
CREEDANCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL -
Creedance Clearwater Revival was originally called The Golliwogs, but unconfirmed reports say the band took their new name from Norvel Creedence, a friend of band leader, John Fogerty. John's favorite beer type was called Clearwater, which, after it disappeared from the market for some time, was introduced again by another brewery. The result of these events: Creedence Clearwater Revival.
DEEP PURPLE –
Deep Purples guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore, had a grandmother who liked the Bing Crosby song "Deep Purple".
DEF LEPPARD –
Def Leppard was inspired by a drawing that Joe Elliot made of a leopard with no ears, considered a 'Deaf Leopard'.
DIRE STRAITS -
Their name describes the money situation they were in when forming the band.
DOOBIE BROTHERS -
Tom Johnston said that the band, which was originally called Pud, were sitting around a table for breakfast, when a friend who was not part of the band said "why don’t you call yourselves the doobie brothers?" He was just kidding but the band took it seriously.
The Eagles were inspired by the Byrds, which were a big influence on them. They started out being called the Teen Kings and later, they were called Emergencies.
EARTH, WIND and FIRE –
Earth, Wind and Fire was originally called the Salty Peppers. The group recorded for Capitol for a couple of years without getting much notice at all. But in 1971 they signed a contract with Warner Brothers and started calling themselves Earth, Wind and Fire. This name came from the elements in the astrological chart.
Reginald Dwight got his stage name from some other British musicians. The musicians’ names were Elton Dean and Long John Baldry.
Fleetwood Mac’s name came from a combination of the last names of the drummer, Mick Fleetwood, and the bassist, John McVie.
When an interviewer named Gary James asked the drummer Roger Earl: "Is there any significance to the band's name?" Earl was forced to say: "No, there is no real significance. Lonesome Dave (who was a pervert) threw out a random name when he was twelve or thirteen. He was playing a game that was kind of like scrabble with his brother and Dave came up with a name and insisted it was a real name. Dave was eventually right. They were on their way into the studio to work on the artwork for the very first album. But they didn't have a title for the band. So, they had to decide.
A British guitarist by the name of Mick Jones started this band in New York. Ever since he was a foreigner, he chose that for the name of the band.
Genesis was part of their first name was part of their first album title 'From Genesis to Revelation', which was suggested by their original manager of the band. His name was Jonathan King.
Grateful Dead refers to a series of some Old English folk tales, all with the same basic theme. A traveler would enter a village and would find the villagers refusing to bury the body of a dead man because he died owed someone money. The traveler would pay what the dead man owes, and sees to a decent burial. Then in his later travels, the man is saved by the spirit of the man whose debts he paid. This is how they got the name the Grateful Dead.
GRAND FUNK RAILROAD
Grand Funk Railroad called themselves this name after a Michigan landmark. This landmark is called the Grand Trunk Railroad.
When Quality Record’s George Struth heard the band's version of the song called "Shakin' All Over", he feared that they would lose the effort in the flood of British records. A good number of promotional copies were pressed with only a plain white label. The song name and the words to the song, ‘Guess Who?', implied that the disc quite possibly could have been the product of someone a little more famous.
Iron Maiden was named after a medieval torture device. It would be a box big enough to fit a man, with door that folded. The doors were studded with sharp iron spikes. When these doors got closed, the spikes were pushed into the body of the person, who would be left there to die.
In December of 1967, a guitarist by the name of Ian Anderson, a bassist by the name of Glenn Cornick, a guitarist who also sings, Mick Abrahams, and a drummer named Clive Bunker had formed a new band. This band began to play two shows every week, trying out lots of different names. These names included Navy Blue and Bag of Blues. The band’s manager suggested a name, Jethro Tull, which was the name of a British farmer who invented a device called the seed drill. Ian Anderson did not like the name. But the name stuck anyway.
Judas Priest was taken from a Bob Dylan’s tune. The tune was called "The ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest".
A band by the name of the Yardbirds were just finishing up their last U.S. tour before breaking up. The guitarist Jimmy Page was determined to keep an act going. He renamed the new band, The New Yardbirds. Keith Moon of the band, the Who, is said to have said “It will probably go over like a led zeppelin.” This inspired the final name change.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was named after Robert E. Lee’s high school gym coach. His name was Leonard Skinner. He punished the two founding members, Gary Rossington and Bob Burns quite a few times because they broke the school's extremely strict dress code. Earlier band names were 'Noble Five' and 'One Percent'.
This man has one of the most unique stage names ever in show business. His birth name was Marvin Lee Aday. It is said that he stepped on his high school football coach’s foot. But instead of cursing, he shouted ‘Meatloaf!!’.
Metallica’s drummer, Lars Ulrich, was helping a friend think of possible names for a metal fan magazine. The publication chose the name 'Metal Mania', but Lars kept Metallica, which was also a suggestion.
According to Pearl Jam’s lead singer, Eddie Vedder, "The name is in reference to the pearl itself... and the natural process from which a pearl comes from. Basically, taking excrement or waste and turning it into something beautiful."
Pink Floyd was a British band who used many different names. These names included "The Meggadeaths", "the T-Set" and "the Screaming Abdabs", all before deciding on "The Pink Floyd Sound", which was inspired by American blues artists by the name of Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Later, the name was shortened to Pink Floyd.
Freddie Mercury loved the name ‘Queen’ for the amazing image of Queens in royalty.
They got their name in honor of Paul McCartney, who, earlier in his career, used to call himself, Paul Ramone. All of the members in the band use the last name Ramone, even if it is not their real last name.
R.E.M is an acronym that stands for 'Rapid Eye Movement,' which is a state of sleep.
REO Speedwagon was a name for a line of lots of trucks which were built by REO Motors Corporation, of Lansing Michigan. REO came from the initials of Ransom Ely Olds. He left Oldsmobile, which was the company he founded, to form REO.
Rolling Stones got their name from a Muddy Waters song by the name of "Rolling Stone". This name got suggested by their guitarist, named Brian Jones.
This band was hurrying to think of a name for their first gig, when John Rustey’s older brother shouted, “Why don’t you call your band Rush?”.
The band, Steppenwolf, was originally named 'Sparrow'. They kept this name until the lead singer, John Kay, was able to come up a new name after being inspired by a Herman Hesse novel.
Styx was named after a mythical river, by the name of Styx. People crossed over this river to go into Hades.
THREE DOG NIGHT
While Three Dog Night was trying to figure out a name that would show that they had three main singers. They nearly settled on the name 'Tricycle', until one of the singer’s girlfriend came up with a idea. She was reading a magazine about the Australian aborigines, who on freezing nights, would sleep beside their furry, four-legged friends for warmth. The most coldest weather used to be called a "three dog night".
A U2 is a type of spy plane that is used by the U. S.A. Bono explained how U2 grew out of interacting with the audience, meaning, 'you too.'
While finding suggestions for a new name to call their act, someone had noticed that most of the band members were almost deaf, so they kept saying, "The who?"
While this group of band members searched for a name, their guitarist, Peter Banks, had suggested that they called the group Yes. Everyone else agreed that the name was not meant to stay, but was just a quick solution.