The San Francisco Chronicle has a fun article on band names While not everyone can play guitar, everyone has some random ideas for band names. Imaginary band names are, I think, our tenuous way of clinging on to the adolescent dream that we, too, could be rock stars.
In the article, Peter Hartlaub comments on the dearth of originality in band names:
Among the most popular musical groups are the spelling-challenged (Linkin Park; Ludacris), the painfully unimaginative (Usher; Creed) and various combinations of the two (Lil’ Jon & the Eastside Boyz). There are also inside jokes that everyone forgot a decade ago (Green Day) and metaphysical nonsense that will make your head hurt even before you listen to the music (Destiny’s Child). Good Charlotte? Bad name.
As he notes though, creative band names are a “harbinger of doom” – well, not necessarily doom, but bands with seriously creative names don’t often make it big. Of the top of my head, that theory seems to fit these bands: … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, !!!, Sorry About Dresden – all of whose records I own, all of whom I think are pretty decent, and all languishing in mid-table obscurity, as soccer/football fans like to say.
Whereas the Beatles have, to be a honest, a fairly cheesy name for a band, a reference to Buddy Holly’s Crickets combined with the “beat” play on words. Clearly there’s no strict correlation between name quality and band quality.
Incidentally, why do people complain that Usher’s name is unoriginal? It’s his real name, right? Shouldn’t make fun of real names…
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