Being in a band is not always what it is cracked up to be. It requires total commitment in creating music and continuously improving your artistic nature. The music business is a unique industry in its own right as well. There have been several artists who made billions of dollars by a single song and on the other hand, there are also several singers and bands who have made multiple albums but still failed to earn even a single dime.
The difference does not lie in luck. It is the sheer talent and connecting with the fans that determines success. Leaving that aside, let’s take a look at the very first step of forming a band: coming up with a name that will forever signify the representation of the musical contents. The following list chronicles 16 famous music bands and how they get their names:
16. The Rolling Stones
The English blues rock band is one of the most critically acclaimed music acts on an international level. Formed in 1962 with only vocalist Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards and drummer Charlie Watts serving as the original members today, the band has released twenty-four albums.
Considering the fact that three out of four of its members have crossed the age of seventy, it is amazing to see Rolling Stones continuing to make their presence known in the music industry.
Coming up with a name for the band was an act of quick decision making without a methodical thought. When original member, guitarist Brian Jones was asked for his band’s name during a phone call with Jazz News, he saw a Muddy Waters LP on the floor and quickly noticed the song Rollin’ Stone written in the track list. The name was adapted since both shared a fondness for blues but later modified it to The Rolling Stones.
15. Mötley Crüe
Calling the glam metal band Mötley Crüe a group of normal musicians would certainly be an understatement to say the very least. The band is not a stranger to creating controversies as the band’s notorious image has been subjected to numerous run ins with the law, several arrests, heavy alcohol consumption, countless escapades with women, cocaine and heroin addiction. Despite all that, the band is one of the best-selling artists of all time and have kept the spirit of glam metal alive since 1981.
While thinking of a name that suits their hedonistic lifestyles, guitarist Mick Mars recalled an incident that occurred while he was part of the band White Horse.
One of the band members called them “a motley looking crew”. Narrating the moment, the band gave a thought and decided upon Mottley Cru but later modified it to MötleyCrüe. The addition of the two metal umlauts was inspired by the German beer Löwenbräu, which the members were drinking during that time.
14. System of a Down
Formed in 1994 and consisting of four Armenian-Americans musicians who dared to dream, System of a Down have contributed a lot in alternative metal and progressive rock music. Selling more than 40 million albums worldwide, the band is iconic for their unconventional vocalist SerjTankian due to his uncanny delivery of immensely large vocal range in live performances.
The band took their name for a poem written by guitarist Daron Malakian titled “Victims of a Down”. Under the suggestion of bassist ShavoOdajian, the word ‘victims’ was replaced with ‘system’ as an attempt to charm a much larger audience and as an alphabetical homage to their musical icons, thrash metal band Slayer.
13. Lynyrd Skynyrd
If you are not familiar with the band, you surely will have a hard time pronouncing the name for the first time. Believe it or not, the band is very well aware of that and in order to avoid confusion, named its debut album as (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd).
Best known for their songs “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird”, the band was at the peak of their success when three of their members tragically died in an airplane crash in 1977. Even after a ten year hiatus and recruitment of new members, the band was never able to achieve the glory it once had.
Coming to the origins of its name, vocalist Ronnie Van Zant and guitarists Gary Rossington and Allen Collins were students at Robert E. Lee High School where the gym teacher by the name of Leonard Skinner strongly backed the policy against long hair for boys.
Van Zant came up with the mocking tribute name Leonard Skinnerd which was soon changed to LynyrdSkynyrd. Rossington even dropped out of school after continuously told by Skinner to cut his hair short. However, the relations between the strict gym teacher and the three members became better once the band became a success and even invited him to one of their concerts in Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum.
Winning two Grammy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards is just another day for the nu metal band comprising of vocalist Johnathan Davis, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, drummer Ray Luzier and guitarists James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch.
Often associated with creepy music videos, extreme vulgarity in lyrics and disturbing songs, it is amazing that the band still manages to make an impact with their huge fan following.
While thinking of a band name, the word “corn” came in mind along with a variety of suggestions but was met with rejection. Shaffer, still having faith in the name, wrote the word as if a young child would by replacing the “C” with “K” and a backward capital “R”.
The name was accepted and Davis designed the official logo. Original drummer David Silvera explains, “The music makes the name, because Korn’s a dumb name. But once we get established, it makes the name cool.”
11. Green Day
The punk rock band Green Day was not always the famed group it is now a days. While much is known about their breakthrough success by their 2004 hit album American Idiot, it is a surprising fact that the band was around since 1986 with original members vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Drint.
Even after the stabilization of Tré Cool in 1990, the band desperately struggled to make it big. Now, Green Day is one of the most loved musical acts in the world.
Known as Sweet Children in their first year, the band was irregularly doing small performances in front of limited audiences. While recording an extended play from Lookout! Records, the band had to change the name in order to avoid confusion with the local band Sweet Baby. While thinking of a new name, Armstrong recalled writing a song called “Green Day” – a slang for marijuana – when he first had the drug and decided to take it as the band’s name.
10. Pink Floyd
Even in their formation year of 1965, Pink Floyd was destined for greatness and continued to do so for the next twenty-nine years until its breakup. With fifteen albums, their contribution in progressive rock music is considered legendary and an incredible masterpiece in music and are one of the most commercially successful music bands of all time; selling more than 250 million albums worldwide.
Initially called “Tea Set”, the band thought about other names when they were booked on a bill with another band having the same name. Vocalist and song-writer SydBarret came up with the name The Pink Floyd Sound as an homage to the blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. “Sound” was soon dropped as the band began to gain success and the name The Pink Floyd – and sometimes just Pink Floyd – was
Formed by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young in 1973, the band is significantly and undoubtedly one of the most recognizable and greatest music groups in the history of hard rock music. With over forty years, the brothers still continue to rock with their stabilized lineup and has sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. Not only that, their sixth studio album Back in Black is the fifth most selling album of all time.
When their sister Margaret Young saw the initials AC/DC – a symbol for alternating current/direct current – written on a sewing machine, the brothers thought that it was the perfect name for the band as it perfectly represented their energy driven performances. The name stuck and the slash symbol was replaced by a lightning bolt in the middle of “AC” and “DC” as the band’s official logo.