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Rock Band Name Origins

Click on each clue for its answer.

  1. Originally called Smile, the lead singer came up with this new name for the band. To the band members, the new name sounded regal, universal, simple and humorous in a risqué way. Furthermore, the lead singer's bisexuality made the name even more risqué.


  2. Taken from the Bob Dylan song "The ballad of Frankie Lee and ___ ___."

    Judas Priest

  3. After being told by friend and fellow musician Keith Moon that the band would go over like a "___ ___", the band distorted the spelling and took the name.

    Led Zeppelin

  4. Was originally called Easy ___. The band felt there was too much negativity in the punk scene and wanted an optimistic sounding name.

    The Cure

  5. From blues musician Muddy Waters' song.

    The Rolling Stones

  6. Their name is taken from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.

    Savage Garden

  7. Duritz and Bryson called themselves after an English rhyme. "...if you hang on to the flimsiness of anything, you might as well be standing there, ___ ___."

    Counting Crows

  8. German for "Power Plant" .


  9. Inspired by a 1963 Boris Karloff horror film of the same name.

    Black Sabbath

  10. It's a palindromic acronym from the initials of the first names of the band members.


  11. The name was chosen because the phrase meant the same thing in several languages.


  12. Named after a book about sadomasochism by Michael Leigh.

    Velvet Underground

  13. In the underground gay disco scene they have/had darkrooms, ___ ___'s, where you don't know who it is you're doing it with.

    Pet Shop Boys

  14. Supposedly inspired by a drawing Joe Elliot made of a leopard with no ears.

    Def Leppard

  15. Chosen at random from a dictionary entry by the lead singer because their previous band name "The Warlocks" was far too common.

    The Grateful Dead

  16. All of the members of the group came from Greenwich Village, their manager, Jacques Morali, decided to call them this.

    Village People

  17. Named after the UK Social Security form for unemployment benefit.


  18. Taken from the Bing Crosby song "___ ___", a favorite of Ritchie Blackmore's grandmother.

    Deep Purple

  19. Inspired by various newspaper articles mentioning the word "___" to refer to violent confrontations (e.g. "a ___ with police").


  20. Friends and relatives thought their demo was too loud and the music ___.


  21. Named after a dildo in the novel Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs.

    Steely Dan

  22. He was inspired by a hearing aid store in Dublin, Ireland.

    Bono (Paul Hewson)

  23. It describes the financial situation the band in the early days.

    Dire Straits

  24. Named after the 18th century agriculturalist ___ ___, who invented the seed drill. The band changed its name each week; the first time they were asked to play a return engagement, that's what they were calling themselves.

    Jethro Tull

    Ian Anderson has said he is "faintly embarrassed" about the name.

  25. Named after a sculpture entitled "The ___" located in Seattle's Magnussen Park.


  26. Their first studio was in a basement. So they were masters of their basement.

    Ace of Base

  27. From term randomly picked out of the dictionary; refers to a phase of sleep.


  28. Named after a Talking Heads. The band originally used the name On A Friday, referring to the only time where all band members were able to practice.

    Radio Head

  29. Taken from an American Military term to represent one million deaths.


  30. From a facetious theory developed by Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis that humans are doing this (___) rather than evolving.

    DEVO ("de-evolving")

  31. Scott Ian heard the word in biology class, and thought it was a good name for a band.


  32. The name was taken from the novel The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

    Collective Soul

  33. In response to a support slot for the band - Pretty Boy Floyd.

    Ugly Kid Joe

  34. A reference to brothels in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

    Joy Division

  35. From a name the group's producer Jonathan King saw in a dream.


    A popular urban legend suggests that the name came instead from the semen an average man ejaculates, which is erroneous.

  36. The name was suggested by June Fairchild, girlfriend of singer Danny Hutton. She had read a magazine article about Australian aborigines, who slept next to their dogs for warmth. The coldest weather was known as a "___ ___ ___."

    Three Dog Night

  37. Taken from the name of a character from the cult science fiction film Barbarella.

    Duran Duran

  38. Named after a shopping area called "The ___ ___ Market" near Church Street Station in Orlando, Florida.

    Back Street Boys

  39. Inspired by a French fashion magazine of the same name. It translates to English as "Fashion Update" or "Fashion News Dispatch."

    Depeche Mode

  40. A tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets.

    The Beatles

  41. Inspired by a book called ___ by Sinclair Lewis (1925).

    Aerosmith (book is Arrowsmith)

  42. Named after a medieval torture device.

    Iron Maiden

    It is often erroneously thought to have been a reference to Margaret Thatcher. In fact, the band's formation predates the beginning of Thatcher's term as PM.

  43. The band was hugely influences by the Byrds, they all wanted an American sounding name, a member wanted something Native American, so this name.

    The Eagles

  44. From a nickname for Unidentified Flying Objects during World War II by Allied pilots.

    Foo Fighters

  45. The lead singer took the name from a book called ___ ___ of Perception by Aldous Huxley, which in turn took its name from a quote by William Blake (If ___ ___ of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite.).

    The Doors

  46. The name of the 'sixties bouffant hairstyles worn by several band members. The style was in turn named after the Boeing Stratofortress.


  47. Taken from a David Bowie song, "Jean Genie."

    Simple Minds

  48. From the names of the two bands that came together to form it - Hollywood ___ and L.A. ___.

    Guns N'Roses

  49. There are multiple versions of this name - The lead singer's grandma supposedly made a peyote (hallucinogenic drug) jelly which as kids they called it this. 2) It may also come from NBA player Mookie Blaylock - it's his nickname. 3) The lead singer also once asserted that it is taking excrement or waste and turning it into something beautiful.

    Pearl Jam

  50. The band was originally called "The T-Sets" then later changes their name to The ___ ___ Sound, after blues musicians ___ Anderson and ___ Council.

    Pink Floyd