My Top Ten Band Names

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We all probably have band names that we’ve just always really liked or found cool. I thought it would be fun to do a list of My Top Ten Favorite Band Names. This is not a list of my favorite bands (that would be a very hard list for me to make!) – it’s just a list of names I like. Okay – I do love most of these bands, which is interesting… I think a really great band name probably sometimes helps a band to become big. However, I can’t even name one song from my top choice… Hmm! My one rule when I thought of this list was that I had to have already heard of the band – there are all kinds of odd band names out there if you do a Google search but the below bands are ones I already knew of.

Here are My Top Ten (er, 11) Favorite Band Names counting down from ten to my number one favorite plus my favorite song from each band:

10. TIE: Massive Attack & Blue Öyster Cult
My Favorite Songs: Teardrop & (Don’t Fear) The Reaper

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Massive Attack apparently had to change their name to just “Massive” during the Gulf War. Well, Massive is a sucky name so I’m glad they didn’t go by that forever. Teardrop & Protection are also amazing songs that are unlikely to ever leave my iPod. As for Blue Öyster Cult, that name just rules. Of all the band names with dots over the Ö, I have to say Blue Öyster Cult is even cooler than Motörhead & WAY cooler than Mötley Crüe. I’d never before thought to look into the meaning of the Blue Öyster Cult name so this is what I just found on the almighty Wikipedia: the band’s name comes from a poem by manager Sandy Pearlman in which the “Blue Oyster Cult” was a group of aliens who had assembled to secretly guide Earth’s history. Huh. Love it!

9. The Chemical Brothers
My Favorite Song: Setting Sun

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Interestingly enough, The Chemical Brothers were originally called The Dust Brothers (another band name I quite like). Well, they had to change their name due to there being an existing Dust Brothers but I think it worked out for them as The Chemical Brothers is the better name & they went on to be more successful than The Dust Brothers anyway. (I’m a big fan of The Chemical Brothers. I highly recommend their current single, Go, featuring Q-Tip).

8. Radiohead
My Favorite Song: Paranoid Android

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Radiohead are another big favorite of mine. Maybe I AM a sucker for a good name?? Not exactly true – the music comes first but the name & image do matter too. This is a very simple but effective name that I think works very well with Radiohead’s style of music & their values (especially everything since OK Computer).

7. Black Sabbath
My Favorite Song: Black Sabbath & Spiral Architect

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Okay, yes – another very favorite band of mine. But you HAVE to admit that Black Sabbath is the best & most METAL name ever. It sounds dark, evil & Satanic. I love it.

6. The Velvet Underground
My Favorite Song: I’m Waiting For The Man

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Classic album cover as well, of course. I don’t have much to say about this name… I just like it! The Velvet Underground were just one of those bands I always wanted to be a big fan of simply because the name sounded so cool but, in reality, I don’t know very many Velvet Underground songs (although I do really love I’m Waiting For The Man). I was a little worried that “velvet underground” may be a reference to a part of the female body or something so I’ve just looked up the meaning. According to THIS, The title of a book by Michael Leigh, The Velvet Underground, was embraced as the ideal band name. And that is no wonder, because the novel was about the secret sexual subculture of the early sixties. Kinky! Still sounds like it could mean “vagina”, though, which leads me to my next favorite band name…

5. Pearl Jam *see also band name 10cc* 😉
My Favorite Song: Alive

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Honestly, I had no idea at first that Pearl Jam was a totally filthy name. I’m of the age where it was a requirement for me to like Pearl Jam when their first album came out. And that first album WAS great & I far preferred them to Nirvana. However, I can’t say I’ve listened to them ever again since my early twenties… Anyway, while I was still a fan, I remained completely naïve & innocent to the real meaning of “Pearl Jam”. I thought it actually sounded quite sweet! Well, from what I can gather, I think Eddie Vedder & Co have always denied that they named their band after sperm. 10cc, however, haven’t exactly denied the origin of their band’s name: “Producer Jonathan King is supposed to have been the inventor of the name 10CC, convinced as he was that an average ejaculation yields about 9 cc semen and therefore that 10 cc is an enviable quantity.” And in looking that up, I see that the band name Lovin’ Spoonful also means the same thing. Just how many bands are named after semen?!?!

4. Iron Maiden
My Favorite Song: Phantom Of The Opera

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Anyone who reads this blog often enough may know that Iron Maiden are my very favorite band ever. Well, I love their music first & foremost (and Eddie, of course) but naming your band after a medieval torture device is even more METAL than Black Sabbath. I don’t care if anyone accuses me of being a middle-aged man with a big fat beer belly (I’m middle-aged but a girl & beer belly-less) – Iron Maiden kicks ass as a band and as a band name!

3. Daft Punk
My Favorite Song: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger and Instant Crush

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I do know how Daft Punk came up with their name & really like the story: The members of Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, were originally members of a rock group called Darlin’. An early negative review of their work in Melody Maker dismissed the music as “a bunch of daft punk.” Two words I really like on their own, I think they work perfectly together. And I love these robots! (I reviewed Daft Punk’s Electroma film HERE). I also think Random Access Memories is one of the best albums in years.

2. Strawberry Switchblade
My Favorite Song: Since Yesterday

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I’d never heard of this one-hit-wonder until I moved to the UK & I had to remind myself of the song when putting this post together. It’s quite a good song, actually! I’ll include the YouTube link to it at the end. Anyway, if I were cool enough to be in a band, Strawberry Switchblade is THE band name I’d want! Sounds so female PUNK. Love it! It makes me think of the movie I watched recently with a very young Diane Lane in a female punk band (Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains). I wish I’d seen that movie when I was younger – I’d have wanted to BE her! (Who am I kidding? I still want to be a female punk rocker…). Anyway, I don’t know a thing about Strawberry Switchblade but I dig their look & the song – it’s too bad they didn’t get anywhere after this.

1. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
My Favorite Song: No idea – I don’t know any.

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Ned’s Atomic Dustbin! YES! What the HELL possessed them to name their band that?! Let’s look that up on Wikipedia, shall we?: “The band took their name from an episode of The Goon Show”. Huh! Well, that’s a pretty boring story but it’s a GREAT name. I’ve been curious about Ned’s Atomic Dustbin since seeing their name carved into a desk I was sitting at in college. Now, to you young people, this is back in the early nineties so it wasn’t like I could easily go YouTube their stuff or something. So, to this day, I’ve never heard a Ned’s Atomic Dustbin song. I suppose I could finally go have a listen online now? Does anyone know anything by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin? Any recommendations? You know, I think I won’t bother YouTubing them just yet – I have fond memories of that time in my life and, in case their stuff sucks, I don’t want it to ruin my love of their name. 🙂

Honorable Mentions:
A Tribe Called Quest
Rancid
Death From Above 1979
Lick The Tins
Kraftwerk
Bomb The Bass
The Prodigy
Modest Mouse
Yellow Magic Orchestra
Teenage Fanclub
Squirrel Nut Zippers

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52 thoughts on “My Top Ten Band Names

  1. Those are some great band names, albums and artists you mentioned.
    If I may add…

    Faith No More
    Eagles of Death Metal
    Queens of the Stone Age
    Judas Priest
    Sex Pistols
    Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
    The Kills
    Dead Weather
    Noir Desir
    Louise Attaque
    Thin Lizzy

    • Great choices! I love when I do a list like this & then people add their own picks. 🙂 I love Faith No More! (The band. But the name is great too). You lost me for a while after Joan Jett until you got to Thin Lizzy – not heard of those in the middle. I almost put the Sex Pistols on my list. And Judas Priest. All great names! Thanks for the list. 🙂

  2. Those are some awesome band names. I love reading how Daft Punk got their name and Whoa I had no idea that Pearl Jam was about that. Hell, they could have just called themselves Pearl Necklace instead. Other band names I like. Lords of Acid, Chicks on Speed, Fuzzy Machete, and The Trendy Trendy Space Vegans,

    • Come to Cinema Parrot Disco for all your semen-related band name info! Lol. Those are great band names! I can’t say I’ve ever heard of them… I especially like Trendy Trendy Space Vegans. 🙂

  3. These are great!! I have always loved the name My Chemical Romance because of the origins. When Mikey Way was working in Barnes and Noble he found an Irving Welsh novel called Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance and took the name from there.

    • My Chemical Romance is a great band name too. 🙂 I love how a lot of bands seem to have gotten their names from book titles! Like The Doors from The Doors Of Perception.

    • Thanks! 🙂 Oh, I do love Creep too. I love loads of Radiohead songs. But still love Paranoid Android above all else. It might help that I love The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. 🙂

    • A list! I love it!!! 🙂 I give your list a 7/10. You lost 3 points for Nickelback as they should be included in no lists ever. I’ve not heard of Archers of Loaf. Oh shit – I just realized I forgot to include Squirrel Nut Zippers! I knew I’d forget something!

  4. Radiohead continues to be my favorite band but I do like Strawberry Switchblade and Blue Oyster Cult as well. I also like the band name The Cure (sometimes just Cure), and I love there music, too. Great idea for a post!

      • Nice! You’ve got me thinking about some of my fav bands with cool names:
        Siouxie and the Banshees
        My Morning Jacket
        Badly Drawn Boy
        Son, Ambulance
        Without Gravity
        Naughty By Nature
        The Boomtown Rats
        Tangerine Dream
        …. so many good ones!

      • Oh! Tangerine Dream! I love Tangerine Dream! Mentioned them recently as they had a great score for the film Miracle Mile. Awesome name. I like all the names you mentioned. 🙂

  5. What an awesome idea!!!! And some great choices there 🙂

    I love Blue Oyster Cult!!!!! ❤ in fact I like pretty much everyone you mentioned, except I'm unfamiliar with the last couple and never really listened to Velvet Underground.

    I listen to a lot of 50s doo wop and I must admit some bands from the 50s have the funniest, crazy names. So I think a lot of my favourites would be from that era!

    Randy and the Rainbows
    Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers
    THE CREW CUTS!!!!

    Just so many great and hilarious names 🙂

    • Thanks, Emma! I find it really interesting that you listen to 50s doo wop – I’d have never guessed that from your favorite soundtracks. Blue Öyster Cult are great. You have great taste! 🙂

      • Thanks! (so do you!!!)

        I have such eclectic music taste, you should hear my Spotify on shuffle!!

        One minute I’ll be listening to NWA or Limp Bizkit…the next track will be The Temptations ‘My Girl’ or something and then it will be some slushy little doo wop number! All concluded with a piece from Once Upon a Time in the West! Ha ha ha. You get the idea 🙂

        Yeah I love doo wop. I always have! It’s so lovely ❤

        The Hop by Danny & the Juniors (another awesome name lol) never fails to make me feel happy!!!

      • That’s awesome! It’s great to like lots of different styles of music. My taste has changed over the years but I know I was obsessed with the 50s & 60s thing when I was 13 & watching Stand By Me most every day. 🙂

  6. Who doesn’t love an odd band name? I’ve always been partial to Oingo Boingo myself.

    Also, yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes to Instant Crush as one of your Daft Punk picks. I think I just listened to that on loop for days after the album came out.

    • Ah yes – Oingo Boingo was a great name as well! I knew people would remind me of great ones I didn’t think of. 🙂 Yay! Glad to hear from an Instant Crush fan. Hell, that whole album… Love it love it love it! Daft Punk are the best. 🙂

  7. Interesting post! 🙂

    A few of my fave band names for what it is worth (Maiden, Priest, Floyd and Sabbath already taken) –

    Deep Purple – Just has a wonderfully evocative and mysterious feel about it

    Van Halen – Sounds so metal and cool and more remarkably it is Eddie & Alex’s real name!

    Bon Jovi – See above

    Metallica – nuff said, right? 😉

    • Thanks! 🙂 Oh yes – Deep Purple is another great one! There are so many awesome names I didn’t think of. All good ones! I love that so many people joined in on this & added their own favorites. Yes – always liked Metallica as a name as well (and a favorite band as a teen). 🙂

  8. Thanks for this inspirational Post.

    This is my list:

    10. Mudhoney
    9. Dexy’s Midnight Runners
    8. Punk Floyd
    7. Bogshed
    6. Joy Division
    5. Tangerine Dream
    4. Bonzo Dog Doodah Band
    3. The Cherry Blades
    2. Rancid Hellspawn
    1. Half Man Half Biscuit

    Cheers!

    • Thanks for the list! I love that so many people added their own! 🙂 I’d thought about adding a few you mentioned. Joy Division was one (although the story behind the name isn’t so nice!). Also like Pink Floyd. And LOVE Tangerine Dream – not sure why I didn’t include that. 🙂

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  10. WTF! Are you kidding me? Squirrel Nut Zippers?! Hahah, that’s perfect. In my book that beats out your #1. That puts such an image in my head. 😉 😀

    Here are ten of mine:

    Neutral Milk Hotel
    Stool
    Pink Floyd
    Imagine Dragons
    The Temper Trap
    Porno for Pyros
    The Sex Maggots (the Goo Goo Dolls’ original name)
    The The (I’m not kidding, look it up. . ., if Google actually pulls anything up, that is)
    The Killers
    Chumbawamba (who can forget that one?)

    • Oh I loved a Squirrel Nut Zippers song called Hell! Check it out. 🙂 YES! Another list! I love that so many people added their own lists to this one! Made me realize how many great band names I’d forgotten. I know of The The (because I’m Old Old). 😉 Didn’t know that was the Goo Goo Dolls original name! Yikes! Less wussy than Goo Goo Dolls, though, I guess! Yours are all good too! And I know them all except Neutral Milk Hotel & Stool. Stool?! Lol. Lovely. Unless it’s a typo & you mean Tool. 😉

      • Stool is actually a local band here in Knoxville that a couple of my friends started up. I used to have their t-shirt but I have lost it I think. Sad, sad times. Their music is good. Their band name, even better.

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