Writing songs is an integral part of being in a band. But in most cases, before you can put together a successful song or record, you have to come up with a name. And it is not always an easy task.
Just think of how many groups there are in the world. There is a good chance that the most common words are already taken, so sometimes you need to get a little creative.
Here’s a look at seven bands who came up with their names in unique ways.
Formed in 1978, English new wave group Duran Duran has seen 21 singles reach the top 10 in the United States. Billboard Hot 100 charts and have sold over 100 million records worldwide. They were also one of the first groups to shoot their music videos on 35mm film instead of videotape. This strategy, along with the use of professional movie cameras, made their videos stand out positively and led to a ton of MTV airing.
In their early days, they performed regularly at Rum Runner nightclub in Birmingham, UK. Bassist John Taylor worked the door while keyboardist Nick Rhodes did the DJ. One advantage of working at the club meant they had to visit other nearby nightclubs to see major acts, like the Sex Pistols and The Clash.
One of those nightclubs was called Barbarella’s, and that inspired the name of the group. They were fans of the science fiction film Barbarella, which starred a villain named Dr Durand Durand, played by Milo O’Shea. They dropped the final “d” of the villain’s name, and Duran Duran was born.
Goo Goo Dolls
If you were near a radio station in 1998, chances are you would hear “Iris” playing by the Goo Goo Dolls. The song has spent nearly 12 consecutive months on the Billboard graphics, was featured in the movie City of Angels, and was ranked first on Billboard‘s “Top 100 Pop Songs 1992-2012“graphic.
The group has sold over 12 million albums worldwide, but they might have had less success with their original name, Sex Maggot. As you can imagine, it’s not a very marketable band name, and one club owner refused to include it on his marquee.
Forced to be creative on site, the group leafed through a copy of Real detective magazine. They found an advertisement for a “Goo Goo Doll”, a doll with a rubber, movable head. The group expressed their contempt for the name, but they became popular soon after the name change, so it looks like it all worked out in the end.
Depeche Mode underwent a series of name changes before settling on its final nickname. The members performed in groups called No Romance in China, Norman and the Words, and Composition of Sound – all big names in their own right.
Guitarist Martin Gore took the name of the French fashion magazine Dispatch Mode. he explained the choice saying, “It means rushing fashion or sending fashion. I love the sound of that.”
However, the literal translation is even simpler: “Fashion News” or “Fashion Update”. Either way, that certainly explains the group’s stylistic choices over the years.
Nickelback is often criticized for being repetitive and stereotypical and was named the second worst band of the 1990s in a Rolling Stone reader poll (behind only Creed, a band with a similar sound). But even with all of that, they’ve sold over 50 million albums worldwide, and their song “How You Remind Me” was the best-selling rock song of the 2000s, according to Billboard.
As for their name, you can thank Starbucks. Group member Mike Kroeger worked at the cafe, where many items cost a variation of 95 cents – for example, a black coffee cost $ 1.95. Kroeger would regularly say “here’s your money” to customers, and his brother Chad Kroeger liked the saying enough to name the band after him.
Stone temple pilots
There are a few conflicting accounts of how Stone Temple Pilots started out, but the most interesting story comes from a Black Flag concert in Long Beach, California. Frontman Scott Weiland and bassist Robert DeLeo met at the concert and started talking about their girlfriends. They quickly realized that they were dating the same woman; instead of getting mad at each other, they broke up with the woman and formed a group.
They were originally called Swing, but DeLeo’s older brother refused to play in a band with that name. Soon the band changed their name to Mighty Joe Young and released a demo tape. They were gaining ground in the rock world and were planning to record their first album.
However, during that session, their lawyer called to let them know that Mighty Joe Young was already being used by a blues musician. The group was inspired by the STP engine oil sticker, including one on Weiland’s motorcycle. They came up with several names with the initials “STP” before settling on Stone Temple Pilots.
Behind the singles “Crawling in the Dark”, “Running Away” and “The Reason”, the rock group Hoobastank has carved out a career spanning more than a quarter of a century. They have sold over 10 million albums worldwide and “The Reason” was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2005 Grammy Awards.
In an interviewHoobastank drummer Chris Hesse explained how the band got their name, largely because frontman Doug Robb misunderstood the pronunciation of a German street.
“Doug’s brother is the vice president of BMW Motorcycles and lives in Germany,” Hesse said. “And there’s this street near his house called Hooba Street or something and before Doug could pronounce the name he called it Hoobastank and it was kinda cute and his brother is still teasing him at this topic so far. When we were looking for group names, it was almost impossible to find a group name that was not taken. Everything normal at a distance has already been taken. I don’t remember how it happened but someone said it and we were like yeah. “
Toad the wet gear
Alternative band Toad the Wet Sprocket enjoyed a string of hit singles in the 1990s. Their hits include “All I Want” and “Walk on the Ocean,” which were mapped in the United States. Billboard Hot 100 card at # 15 and 18, respectively. But they have to thank Monty Python for their name.
A sketch called “Rock notes“from the comedy group Album of contractual obligations finds a presenter reading updates from fictitious groups. The humor is in the ridiculousness of the names of the groups and the situations in which their members find themselves. Toad the Wet Sprocket is the band’s first name spoken in this sketch. The group’s own website said the name was probably only meant to be temporary, but it has lasted for over 35 years.
Eric Idle, who originally made the sketch, once thought about the name of the group: “I once wrote a sketch about rock musicians, and I was trying to think of a name that would be so silly that no one would ever use it, or dream that it could ever be used. So wrote the words ‘Toad the Wet Sprocket.’ And a few years later I was driving down the freeway in Los Angeles, and a song came on the radio, and the DJ said, “It was from Toad the Wet Sprocket, “and I almost got off the freeway.”