You are on page 1of 14

Path

:
uuwest!control.spies.com!spies!sgiblab!darwin.sura.net!haven.umd.edu!uunet!comp.vu
w.ac.nz!waikato.ac.nz!dfong
From: dfong@waikato.ac.nz
Newsgroups: rec.music.misc,alt.rock-n-roll
Subject: REPOST: what's in a name ?
Message-ID: <1992Nov21.165037.12370@waikato.ac.nz>
Date: 21 Nov 92 16:50:36 +1300
Organization: University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Lines: 764

Main Sources : - Q magazine, June 89 article "What's In a Name".
- Bits and Pieces: The Penguin book of Rock Facts -
by Steve Smith. From the section on names.
- The Rolling Stone Encyclopaedia of Rock'n'Roll.

Groups that are named after songs or films may not have the date of
release listed. e.g. Bad Company.
Because of time restrictions I don't have time to look them up.

I have not included solo artists that have changed their name, only those
that have an interesting reason for it, e.g. Elton John.

Also, my reference books are quite old, so no recent bands are in here.
(apart from Nirvana of course ;-)
Though if I had more time, I wouldn't mind doing a list of recent
artists.

Oh well, this is the last thing I shall ever post here as my account
expires on the 23rd.
But mail messages will get to me somehow...it just might take a few months,
that's all !

Goodbye.
This whole USENET has been great fun.

Darryl 'De Fish!' Fong

P.S. in my findings I found this in the RS book :

the former keyboardist for Roxy Music has a full name of
Brian Peter George St. John de Baptiste de la Salle Eno

P.P.S. William Orbit rules !

--------------------------------------------------------------------

What's in a Name ?

Abba - from the first letters of their christian names : Anni-Frid,Benny,
Bjorn, Agnetha.

A Flock of Seagulls - a line from the Stranglers' song "Toiler on the Sea".

All About Eve - name taken from 1950 Bette Davis movie about an
ageing Broadway star.

Alphaville - a 1965 Jean Luc Godard-directed sci-fi film.

Amen Corner - a section of the Negro spiritual church where a group of women
sat and hollered the 'Amens'.

The Animals - Named after a squatter known to the group, one Animal Hog.
"He epitomised what we wanted to represent with our music. Total freedom,
a little bit of anarchy, a lot of wildness and a lot of good times."(E.Burdon)

Arcadia - after the central region of the Greek Peloponnese, home of
the god Pan.

The Art Of Noise - The Art Of Noises was a 1913 booklet by italian futurist
painter Luigi Russolo, urging a new concept of music:"One day...every factory
will be transformed into an intoxicating orchestra of noises."

Aswad - In the Ethiopian Amharic language, Aswad is the word for black.

Aztec Camera - According to Roddy Frame, in 1983:"Aztec sounded right and
Camera came off the B-side to a Teardrops Explodes single." (His first group
was called Neutral Blue because "the guitarist was an electrician and that's
the way he remembered how to wire a plug.")

Bad Company - after a Robert Benton western (date ?)

The Band - Formerly Dylan's backing musicians, habitually called "the band".
Hence the name!

Bangles - originally call the Bangs, then changed it to
the Electric Prune's song of the same name.

Barracudas - After the Standell's song 'Barracuda'.

Bauhaus - German school of design, founded 1919, aiming to integrate
architecture, fine arts and technology to create "the compositely inseparable
work of art, the great building."

BB & Q Band - from Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens Band.

The Beach Boys - Formerly Carl & the Passions, then Kenny & the Cadets.
Changed name to suit image behind the first hit single "Surfin'".

The Beatles - Insect theme was inspired by name of Buddy Holly and the
Crickets. They also liked Crickets' double meaning( an insect or a game)
so they made Beetles into Beatles, to carry pun on beat music.

Bee Gees - Stands for Brothers Gibb.

B-52's - An American bomber plane that later gave its name to a beehive
hairstyle.

Big Country - "It just implied a sense of vastness, open spaces. A sense
of new discovery. A sense of ambition." (Stuart Adamson)

Black Oak Arkansas - Amazingly they came from Black Oak, Arkansas.
Black Uhuru - swahili for 'freedom'.

Blondie - From the long-running US newspaper cartoon strip Blondie and
Dagwood, about a dizzy blonde and her husband.

Blow Monkeys - In his teens, single Dr. Robert lived in Australia, where
he heard the expression used as a somewhat diaparaging term for
Aboriginal didgeridoo players.
Also cited as jazz slang for saxaphone players.

Blue Rondo a la Turk - after a jazz song, best known in its version
by David 'take five' Brubeck.

Boney M - after an australian TV detective (an aborigine ?)

BoomTown Rats - Formerly Mark Skid and the Y-Fronts, they wisely opted for
the name of a gang in Woody Guthrie's autobiographical book "Bound for Glory."
A gang of kids in Oklahoma who were the children of the casual oil-well
labourers.

David Bowie - Named himself after a hero, Jim Bowie, who fought with Davey
Crockett at the Alamo. Changed his name from David Jones to avoid confusion
with Monkee of similar title.

Brilliant - so DJs would announce, "That was Brilliant".

Bucks Fizz - a cocktail of champagne and orange juice.

Buffalo Springfield - after a make of steamroller

Buzzcocks - from the catch-phrase of a character in the TV series
'Rock Follies', who would say "Give me a buzz, cock!"

Cabaret Voltaire - Literary nightclub in Zurich, 1916, which became cradle
of the "Dada" art movement.

Chicken Shack - after a blues song, 'Chicken Shack Blues'.

Clannad - gaelic for 'family'.

The Clash - named by Mick jones, because "that was the word that seemed
to appear most often in newspaper headlines in 1975/76".

Cocteau Twins - After Jean Cocteau (1891-1963), French writer/artist.

Commodores - supposedly found by someone (the manager?) placing his
finger on a dictionary page

Communards - Gesture of solidarity with radical insurgents of the Paris
Commune in 1870.
Put more clearly : named after a French Socialist group who revolted
in 1870.

Alice Cooper - Born Vincent Furnier. Name of a 17th century witch which
was supposedly reincarnated into him.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Originally called The Golliwogs, the group
came under increasing pressure from their record label Fantasy to change
the name, which they did in December '67. The story goes that John Fogerty
has a friend called Creedence, he also saw a TV beer advert which stressed
the virtues of clear water and, finally, he felt some sort of musical revival
was in the air. Put it all together and what do you get?
(that's right : Friend Beer Musical.)

Crowded House - Inspired by the cramped accommodation, in Hollywood, where
the band spent 1985 rehearsing their debut album. [Originally called The
Mullanes, after Neil Finn's middle name. DF!]

Curved Air - From A Rainbow In Curved Air, title of 1969 electronic album
by Terry Riley.

Darling Buds - "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?/Thou art more lovely
and more temperate./Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May./And
summer's lease hath all too short a date." (Shakespeare, Sonnet XVII)

Deep Purple - Name of a 1962 pop hit by Nino Tempo and April Stevens.
Original version by hard rock legend Bing Crosby.
Also cited elsewhere as named after a Joe South song.
Are they all the same songs ?

Def Leppard - I can't quite remember the origin.
But of course it is a take-off of Deaf Leppard.
[I'll have to consult my rock'n'roll comic again]

Depeche Mode - French magazine title, roughly translates as "Fast Fashion".
Group originally called Composition of Sound.

Devo - Short for "de-evolution", an element in the band's view of mankind.

Dexys Midnight Runners - Although Kevin Rowland tends to be a bit vague
about this, it is understood to be a reference to illegally acquired
dexedrine pills, for which the slang term is dexys. The drug has the effect
of giving users artificial energy, thus enabling them to keep going when tired.

Dire Straits - Suggested by a friend. Wry reflection of band's insolvent
plight in 1977, as they rehearsed for early gigs and demos.

Doobie Brothers - californian slang for a joint

The Doors - Jim Morrison took it from an essay on drugs, The Doors of
Perception by Aldous Huxley. The title itself is a phrase from 18th century
poet William Blake:"If the doors of perception were cleansed, man could see
things as they truly are; infinite."

Dr. Feelgood - after a much-covered blues song

Duran Duran - Name of a mad scientist character played by Milo O'Shea in
the 1968 Roger Vadim sci-fi fantasy film Barbarella, [opposite Jane Fonda.]

Bob Dylan - Born Robert Zimmerman, but adopted name of welsh port Dylan
Thomas. Another version suggests it was after a cowboy called Matt Dillon
in TV show Gunsmoke.

Easterhouse - named after a Glasgow (UK) housing estate

Echo and the Bunnymen - "it means, like, nothin'." (Ian McCulloch)
"We had this mate who kept suggesting all these names, like The Daz Men or
Glisserol and the Fan Extractors. Echo and the Bunnymen was one of them. I
thought it was just as stupid as the rest." (Will Sergeant)
[wasn't Echo the name of the drum machine? DF!]

Einsturrzende Neubauten - german for 'collapsing new buildings'

Elton John - from friends John Baldry and fellow musician Elton Dean.

Eurythmics - after a form of rhythmic body movement (actually spelt
eurhythmics) popular in the early twentieth century.

Everything But the Girl - Name of a shop in Hull, where Ben and Tracey
were students.

Fairport Convention - The group used to assemble at Simon Nicol's Muswell
Hill home, which was called Fairport. They were, by extension,
The Fairport Convention.

The Fall - name taken from a book whose name escapes me

Fiat Lux - latin for "Let there be light"

Fine Young Canninbals - Named after a sleazy soap-opera movie, All the Fine
Young Canninbals (1960, MGM), starring Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood. For
the record, Halliwell's Film Guide describes it as a "boring rather than
daring farrago which is not even unintentionally funny."

Fleetwood Mac - Formely Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac. From the surnames of
drummers Mick Fleetwood and bass player John McVie.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Derives from writing on a poster for a Frank
Sinatra film, on the wall of the group's rehearsal room in Liverpool.

Gang of Four - Name applied to four political figures in China, 1976, who
emerged in power struggle after death of Mao Tse Tung. Group included
Mao's widow Chiang Ching.

Gap Band - from the initials of the three main streets (Greenwood, Archer,
and Pine) in the band's home town of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Gary Bykers On Acid - after a Ray Lowrie cartoon.

Generation X - Taken from the 1964 book of the same name by Chris Hamblett
and Jane Davidson, which records teenage attitudes to sex, politics, drugs,
religion,etc. The book includes a poem from which it takes its name, written
in a psychiatric hospital by a 20-year-old female suffering from depression.
One brief verse is as follows:"I am me/I must suffer/Because I am me."

Go West - named after the term "Go west young man..."
It is normally attributed to Horace Greeley (who denied it. But was actually
from a newspaper article by John Soule in 1851.
[how's that for research !]

Grateful Dead - Previously called The Warlocks. New name picked at random
by Jerry Garcia from a prayer in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Harpers Bizarre - after a fashion magazine [which country ?]
Hatfield and the North - Destination on roadsigns, familiar to motorists
leaving London.

Heaven 17 - Fictional group mentioned in the Anthony Burgess novel A
Clockwork Orange: "These young devotchkas has their own like way of
govoreeting. 'The Heaven Seventeen? Luke Stern? Goggly Gogol?"

Herman's Hermits - Peter Noone misheard another band member, who told him
he resembled the cartoon character Sherman from 'The Adventures of
Bullwinkle and Rocky'.

Hollies - either from the plant name, or from Buddy Holly.

House Of Love - name taken from a book, [whose title escapes me]

Human League - From the science fiction boardgame Star Force, in which the
Human League was one of two rival futuristic empires in the year 2180.

Icehouse - originally called Flowers. But the international rights to the
name were already taken by an irish group. So they renamed themselves
after the title of their first album, (thus not having to redo the
first album cover).
I can't remember how the name Icehouse evolved. But I think it has
dark connotations - maybe Nazism ?

Iggy(Pop) and the Stooges - "Iggy" derived from his one-time membership
called The Iguanas. The Stooges came from US comedy troupe of that name.
[I.P.'s real name, James Osterman DF!]

Iron Maiden - Torture implement used in Middle Ages, consisting of
human-shaped shell in two halves, with inward facing spikes. Unlucky souls
were placed inside, then the halves of the maiden were brought slowly together.

Michael Jackson - From the subtle combination of his family name, Jackson,
plus the christian name given to him by his parents at the time of his
birth, Michael.

The Jam - Thought up by Paul Weller's sister at the breakfast table:"Well,
we've had The Bread, and we've had The Marmalade, so let's have The Jam."

James -
[all text from an interview in New Zealand music magazine Rip It Up Issue 177,
April 1992]

The band's name itself is a bit of a mystery, many say it comes
from James Kirk, the guitar player for Orange Juice. Others say they're named
after Jim Glennie (bass) himself. "In a way it was both really. Paul
our original guitarist, was a big OJ fan and we toured with them. We were
looking for a name that didn't give anybody any idea of who or what we were,
Tim (singer) would go on stage and recite a poem and people would go
'oh, that's James, he reads poems'. Then he'd do a song, with an acoustic
and they'd go 'oh right, James plays a guitar as well'. Then the rest of the
band would come on - basically just mucking about with people's lack of
knowledge. When we started the punk thing was dying and the new wave bands
like Teardrop Explodes and Echo and the Bunnymen etc were seem as having
these innovative names. So the name James was really a reaction against
that as well."
Very similar to the reasons for the Smiths.
"Yeah, but we came up with it before we'd even heard of the Smiths".

Jefferson Airplane - after a device used for holding marijuana cigarettes

The Jesus and Mary Chain - The group has stated that it was taken from an
offer on a breakfast cereal packet, to send away for a gold Jesus
and Mary Chain.

Jesus Jones - While on holiday in spain the boys decided to get serious
with their music. One day on a beach of the group made the comment that
in the spanish phone book there was as many Jesus'es as Jones'es in
the English phone book. Hence Jesus Jones.
[thanks to plastic. from oz for this info!]

Jethro Tull - An 18th century English agriculturalist, inventor of useful
farming contraption. Ian Anderson saw a book by him in manager's house.

Jo Jo Gunne - after a character from a Chuck Berry song.
[which song ?]

Johnny Hates Jazz - taken from the Frank Sinatra song of the same name

Tom Jones - Born Thomas Woodward. Manager Gordon Mills rechristened him after
swash-buckling hero of Henry Fielding novel, which had just become a saucy
hit film. Also had suitable welsh element.

Josek K - from the book The Trial by Franz Kafka

Joy Division - 'commandeered' Prostitute's wing of Nazi prison camp. Name
found in lurid paperback novel.

Judas Priest - From the Bob Dylan song The Ballad of Frankie Lee And Judas
Priest, on his John Wesley Harding album.

Paul Kelly and The Coloured Girls - this australian group took their
name from the line in Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side'.
['...and the coloured girls go...doot do doot...']

The Kinks - Formerly The Ravens. "Kinky" was favoured word in 1960s swinging
London, meaning "attractively pervy" (as in "kinky boots"). For early
photos the band posed with riding whips.

Kissing The Pink - a term used in snooker

KMFDM - kill mutherfu...oops...
kur...umm...mein...errr...oh shit I could never remember what it means,
read the rec.music.industrial FAQ

Kraftwerk - German for "power station".

Kursaal Fliers - after the train that paraded along the front at
Southend (UK) advertising the Kursaal Pleasure Park.

Lambrettas - after a motor scooter popular with Mods

Led Zeppelin - Arose out of Jimmy Page's early plan to start a band with
Keith Moon and John Entwistle (who were fed up with The Who). Cynically,
Entwistle said "We'll call it Lead Zeppelin, because it'll go down like a
lead balloon." The 'a' was later dropped from Lead so it wouldn't be
pronounced Leed.

Level 42 - From the fact that 42 is given as "the ultimate answer to the
ultimate question of life, the universe and everything" in Douglas Adams's
book HitchHiker's Guide To the Galaxy.

Lindisfarne - Also known as Holy Island, off coast of Northumberland, north
of group's HQ Newcastle. Famous abbey founded there in 635 AD.

Little Feat - When Lowell George was a member of the Mothers of Invention,
their drummer Jimmy Carl Black (the indian of the group) used to refer to
him as Little Feet, an ironic reference to the size of his pedal extremities.

Little River Band - this australian band supposedly took their
name from a road sign post.

Los Lobos - spanish for 'the wolves'

Lovin' Spoonful - Taken from Mississippi John Hurt's blues number, Coffee
Song:" I love my baby by the lovin' spoonful."

Lynard Skynard - From Leonard Skinner, name of unpopular gym teacher in the
Florida school that most of the group attended.
Renowned for punishing boys with long hair.

Marillion - Originally Silmarillion, from the title of Tolkein's book,
but later abbreviated.

Madness - Title of old ska hit by the band's hero Prince Buster.

Manhatten Transfer - taken from a novel by John Dos Passos about New York
in the 1920s.

Marshall Tucker Band - after the piano tuner who owned their rehearsal hall

Matchbox - after a Carl Perkins track

MC 900ft Jesus - taken from tele-evangelist, Oral Roberts, who
claimed a 900ft Jesus came to him in a vision
[source : interview in New Zealand music magazine Rip It Up Issue 177]

MFSB - stands for Mother, Father, Sister, Brother.

Milli Vanilli - because they liked the sound of Scritti Politti.

Mi-Sex - the classic New Zealand synthy band took their name
from the Ultravox song.

Molly Hatchet - after Hatchet Molly, an infamous US whore who castrated
her clients.

Moody Blues - from a Slim Harpo song.

Mothers of Invention - Were simply called The Mothers until record company
voiced concern it might be taken as short for "the oedipal compound" word.
New Name adapted from old proverb about Necessity Being...
Motorhead - B-side of a 1974 Hawkwind single Kings of Speed. Lemmy was band
member at the time, subsequently sacked.
In turn, also after a US term for a speed freak.

Mott The Hoople - name of novel by Willard Manus.

Mud - they wanted a name that would stick

Mungo Jerry - from T.S. Eliot's 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'.

Naked Lunch - from the William S. Burroughs novel of that name

New Model Army - after the name given to Oliver Cronwell's troops

New Order - Signified "fresh start" for Joy Division after death of their
old singer Ian Curtis. Term was also used by Hitler, but band deny
Nazi connotations.

New Riders of The Purple Sage - Named in 1970 after 1912 novel by western
fiction writer Zane Gray, Riders of the Purple Sage.
The "new" was added in 1971.

Nine Below Zero - after a Sonny Boy Williamson blues track

Nirvana - hidu term for 'beatific state'
[oops. source typo ? beautific state ?]

NRBQ - New Rhythm and Blues Quintet

101ers - after the torture room (room 101) in Orwell's 1984.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Originally a song written by Andrew
McClusky featuring "three radios and war noises recorded off the telly."

Pop Will Eat Itself - supposedly taken from a David Quantick article
heading about the future state of music, from UK mag. New Music Express.
[I think the issue date was 1985 ?]

Gilbert O'Sullivan - Thought by rock scholars to be an ingenious derivative
of popular english composers Gilbert and Sullivan. Evidence in inconclusive.

Pere Ubu - Character in Alfred Jarry's avant-garde 1896 play Ubu Roi.
[De Fish! says 'YoW !! ArE wE hAvInG fUn YeT ?" ;-)]

Pet Shop Boys - "we had some friends who owned a pet shop and they were
always joked about calling themselves The Pet Shop Boys and recording
'How much is that Doggie in The Window'. When it came time for us to
find a name we decided to use it." - Neil Tennant
It is also supposedly a slang term for a person who performs the
homosexual act of putting a tube pipe up their anus and letting a gerbil
run wild. Hence the t-shirt "So little time, so many Gerbils".
The Pet Shop Boys deny ever knowing about the term.

Pink Floyd - After two Georgia bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Poco - Were to have been Pogo, after Walt Kelly's satirical cartoon strip, but
Kelly refused permission, so group chose Poco as being similar, and having
a musical connotation in sheet music where it means "a little".

The Pogues - Abbreviation of "pogue mahone", irish for Kiss My Arse. So,
are they now The Kisses, or The Arses ?

Prefab Sprout - Leader Paddy MacAloon's imagination was stimulated by
seeing albums by Tyrannosaurus Rex and Grand Central Station tucked under
the arms of school friends. "I feel under the mystery of the names and their
intangible and wilful obscurity. So I put two words together that didn't
mean anything because people would say "what does it mean?" I had other
names like Chrysalis Cognosi and The Ethereal Fair Roses".

Pretenders - From the ballad song The Great Pretender, a 1956 hit for
The Platters.

Primal Scream - the obvious influence in the name being Primal Scream
therapy. See Tears for Fears.

Procol Harum - Name of a cat belonging to friend of Gary Brooker. Latin
Phrase meaning "beyond these things".

Quantum Jump - a term used in physics

The Ramones - When The Beatles were still known as The Silver Beetles, Paul
McCartney briefly used the pseudonym Paul Ramon. When The Ramones formed in
1974 they chose their stage names in memory of the days when McCartney was
still a rocker.

Redbone - a derogatory Cajun term for a half-breed

R.E.M. - Stands for Rapid Eye Movement, measured in sleeping subjects as
symptom of dream activity.

REO Speedwagon - from the high-speed fire engine

The Residents - The most favored rumour is that when the group was sending
out demo tapes to record companies, they once forgot to include their names
in the package. The record company returned the package, addressing it to
The Residents, at the address given on the package. Suitably amused, the group
decided that their name had found them.

Rick Kids - the band containing Midge Ure was named after a
Jean Cocteau book

Righteous Brothers - reportedly named after their audience shouting out
"Hey that's really righteous, brothers !"
Due to their blue-eyed soul singing.

Rolling Stones - From the Muddy Waters blues song, Rolling Stone.

Roxy Music - "It was intended to convey a slightly old-style glamour, with
a pun on rock." (Bryan Ferry)

Sad Cafe - after the book The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, by Carson McCullers.

Scritti Politti - latin for 'political writings'

The Searchers - After a 1956 John Wayne western movie.
The Selector - the name of the first song by the Specials that they tried
to sell to record companies without success. It later ended up on the
b-side of the first single. ('Ghost Town'?)

Sex Pistols - Chosen by Malcolm McLaren, who assembled band in his boutique
Sex, and a distortion of botanical term sex pistils, referring to male sexual
parts of flowers.

Shakespear's Sister - named from the b-side of a certain Smiths single.

Shangri Las - Shangri La is another name for paradise in a novel by
James Hilton.

Shirelles - from lead singer Shirley Alston (nee Owen)

Showaddywaddy - From the doo-wop backing vocal line. (Same as Sha Na Na).

Sigue Sigue Sputnik - Supposedly name of a Moscow street gang, spotted by
Tony James in the International Herald Tribune.

Simple Minds - from a line in the David Bowie song 'Jean Genie'.

Sisters of Mercy - A "laughing" Leonard Cohen song.

Small Faces - "Faces" were any leading characters on the 1960s mod scene.
Marriot, Lane and Co were, if you will, physically "small" examples thereof.

The Smiths - Morrissey just came up with it, and Johnny Marr approved: "All
other bands at the time had 15-syllable names...We just wanted four
individuals who could be collectively known as something normal." Morrissey
has denied it was tribute to fellow Mancunian Mark E. Smith of The Fall.

Soft Machine - Novel by William Burroughs.

Spandau Ballet - Spandau is an area in Berlin; in the last century they had
a ballet there. Friend of the band saw it written on a toilet wall. Gary
Kemp: "Basically we used the name because it had a lot more mystery
than Neasden Ballet."

Standells - after a make of amplifier

Starry-Eyed and Laughing - from a line in the Bob Dylan song 'Chimes
of Freedom'.

Stars of Heaven - from a biblical quotation:'I will multiply thy
seed as the stars of heaven/And as the sand which is upon the sea shore',
Gen. 22:17

Status Quo - Chosen by manager Pat Barlow: "It was a name i kept reading
about in the papers and hearing on the telly. It sticks in the mind."
Francis Rossi: "We're always asked about the name: Did you do it for a
reason? In a word, no."
It is latin for 'the existing position of or in society'.

Steeleye Span - Formed by Ashley Hutchings, previously of Fairport Convention,
they were looking for something folksy and settled for the name of a character
in the traditional Lincolnshire ballad, Horkston Grange.
Steely Dan - Name of a dildo in William Burrough's novel Naked Lunch.

Steppenwolf - Novel by German writer Hermann Hesse.

Stiff Little Fingers - after a Vibrators track.

Still Little Fingers - Derived from a line in a Vibrators song which was, in
turn, referring to an early '60s US sci-fi series, The Invaders, in which
the invading aliens were distinguishable from earthlings only because
they all had unbendable pinkies.

Strawberry Switchblade - after an Orange Juice song

Strawbs - Short for Strawberry Hill Boys, after the district of London where
they rehearsed.

Styx - after the river in the Greek underworld of Hades

Supertramp - From the book Autobiography of a Supertramp, by W.H. Davies
(1908), tale of a british toff who roamed the USA as a vagrant.
[hence the name of their greatest hits collection as well DF!]

Booker T and The MGs - Short for Booker T. Jones and the Memphis Group, once
the house rhythm section at Stax Records in Memphis.

Talking Heads - TV jargon for onscreen speakers.
Someone gives this explanation :
"Talking heads is named after said MIT research with Virtual
Reality, in which a method of commmunication was explored by using different
probes around one's face, and having a computer re-draw it, thus having a
Talking Head, so to speak."
But I have a feeling the VR term was named after the band.
Anyone have any ideas ? (Even though I won't hear them anyway).

Tears for Fears - A phrase lifted from Arthur Janov's The Primal Scream, which
advocates the release of pent-up emotions, such as crying, as a method of
relieving fears and neuroses.

The Teardrop Explodes - From a caption in the Marvel comic Daredevil, (number
77, June 1971): "filling the park with an unearthy whine - painting the
leaf-bare branches with golden fire - the teardrop explodes..."

10cc - Conceitedly a little above the average amount of male ejaculation
during orgasm.

10,000 Maniacs - named after a movie of the same name.
[sorry, no time to get any more details]

They Might Be Giants - taken from the 1971 George C. Scott movie

This Mortal Coil - Shakespeare. From Hamlet's famous "To be or not to be"
speech. "For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,/When we have
shuffled of this mortal coil,/Must give us pause."

Thompson Twins - Comic strip detectives in the cartoon Tin Tin.

Three Dog Night - an australian term for a very cold night, which comes
from the thinking that a man in the outback would need to sleep with
one dog to keep him warm on a mild night, two on a colder night and
three when it's freezing.

T. Rex - Abbreviation for Tyrannosaurus Rex, a large dinosaur. Bolan chose
name, says manager Simon Napier-Bell, "because that was the biggest animal
there'd ever been in the world, and he was going to be that big."

Throbbing Gristle - after a Pork Dukes' track

Tom Tom Club - after the hall where they rehearsed

Toto - after Dorothy's dog in The Wizard of Oz.

T'Pau - the name of Spock's vulcan mother from Star Trek.
[Though I don't recall where it is actually mentioned in the series
or movies].

Triffids - Frankly unsociable plant monsters who attack humanity in John
Wyndham's 1951 novel The Day of The Triffids.

Troggs - short for troglodyte man

UB40 - Number on the british unemployment benefit card. [indicative of their
job status at their first sessions DF!]

Ultravox - latin for 'many voices'

Unit 4 + 2 - in the sixties the chart rundown was divided into units (1-4).
The group called themselves Unit 4 and later when two more people
joined, they became Unit 4 + 2.

Uriah Heep - a character from a Dicken's novel.
Charles Dicken's conniving paragon of "humility".

U2 - Formerly The Hype. Adam Clayton liked XTC's name, and a friend suggested
U2 as being along the same lines. The U2 was a US spy plane, is also the
number of a battery, and could be taken as a pun on "you too."

Van Der Graaf Generator - The (misspelled) name was given by founder member
Chris Judge Smith in 1967, commemorating the invention of R.J. Van de Graaff
(1901-1967), a static electricity generator used for accelerating charged
atomic particles (protons) to high energies.

Velvet Underground - from the salacious pulp book of the same name, about
the joys of sado-masochism.

Ventures - because they considered themselves 'venturing' into a new style
of music, rock instrumentals.

Wang Chung - formerly Huang Chung, which is chinese [which dialect ?]
for 'perfection in music'.

W.A.S.P. - stand for We Are Sexual Perverts
[Though of course there are many other acronyms to be made]

Wet Wet Wet - From the line "his face is wet, wet with tears" taken from the
Scritti Politti song Getting Having And Holding. The third Wet was added to
distinguish them from such double-headed names as Duran Duran and Talk Talk.

Wham! - Taken from their early composition Wham Rap, which contains the
lines "Wham! Bam! I am a man!" [yeah!! slap it to me blud!! DF!]

The Who - Chosen because it would print up big on posters, and cause enough
confusion to make it memorable. Townsend's first suggestion, The Hair And
The Who, was turned down for sounding like a pub.

Woodentops - after a children's TV puppet show

XTC - a phonetic interpretation of 'ecstasy'

Yello - Meaning a "yelled hello". Obviously.

ZZ Top - According to drummer Frank Beard it's a parody of B.B. King.
"We just wanted a name that sounded like maybe some crusty old blues player."
Others allege it's taken from names of two brands of rolling papers.
Another reason being that they wanted to be last in record shop bins.

--