Band Name Origins

Okay, so you can probably figure out the origins of band names like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, or The Dave Matthews Band. But what about some groups whose name origins might be a little more obscure? See if you can pick the real name origin from the two phonies we've made up.

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Journey

Bay Area Rock station KSAN-FM ran a contest to come up with a name for the band. The winner, a Berkeley student, actually came up with the name Journeys, but the band used Journey instead.
Bay Area Rock station KSAN-FM ran a contest to come up with a name for the band, but it was unsuccessful. The name is rumored to have been hit on by one of the band's roadies.
Bay Area Rock station KSAN-FM ran a contest to come up with a name for the band. The winner, a Stanford student, came up with the name and won a free trip to NYC for a weekend, plus backstage passes to Journey's show at the Garden.
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Kings of Leon

The core of the band is made up of three brothers with the last name Followill. They named the group after a card game they invented in which kings are always wild.
The core of the band is made up of three brothers with the last name Followill. They named the group after their father and grandfather, who both were named Leon.
The core of the band is made up of three brothers with the last name Followill. They named the group after their dog Leon, who they had when they were kids.
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Garbage

Named by original band members Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig, who were roommates in college and lived near a refuse facility.
Named by original band members Duke Erikson, Steve Marker and Butch Vig after someone once commented that their work sounded "like garbage."
Named by lead singer Shirley Manson, whose boyfriend at the time drove a trash truck.
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Death Cab For Cutie

Named by lead vocalist Ben Gibbard after the song of the same title performed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in the Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour.
Named by bassist Nick Harmer after the song of the same title performed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in the Beatles film Magical Mystery Tour.
Named by drummer Jason McGerr, who had a dog named Cutie. "Death Cab" was the nickname the other band members gave his car because it was a jalopy.
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The Postal Service

Vocalist Ben Gibbard, of Death Cab For Cutie, was an avid stamp collector. The idea for the band name was his.
Ben Gibbard, of Death Cab For Cutie, used to be a postman while trying to make it as a musician. When he teamed up with producer Jimmy Tamborello (who happened to be a serious stamp collector), the duo decided to call the band The Postal Service.
Named for the way the songs were recorded. Producer Jimmy Tamborello would lay down backing tracks and then ship it to vocalist Ben Gibbard, of Death Cab For Cutie. He would then edit the track, and ship it back.
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Led Zeppelin

Named for a legendary quote from The Who drummer Keith Moon, who suggested a supergroup with him on drums, John Entwistle on bass, and Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck on guitars would go over like a “lead zeppelin,” a term Entwistle used to mean ‘a bad gig.’
Named after guitarist Jimmy Page read a book on the Hindenburg disaster. He mentioned the name to vocalist Robert Plant, who said, "Sure, that will go over a like a lead balloon!"
Named by The Who drummer Keith Moon, who was putting together a supergroup with bassist John Entwistle, and guitarists Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Moon had recently read a book on the Hindenburg disaster.
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Aerosmith

Joe Perry came up with the name based on a lyric in Harry Nilsson’s album, Hollywood Dreamer. The lyric references an arrow beaten out by a metal 'smith.'
Joe Perry came up with the name after reading the Sinclair Lewis novel, Arrowsmith.
Drummer Joey Kramer suggested this name because he used to write the word all over his notebooks in school as a child. The idea came from Harry Nilsson’s album Aerial Ballet, which featured a circus performer jumping out of a biplane on the album's jacket.
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Green Day

Originally called “Sweet Children” the band was encouraged to change their name to avoid confusion with another band “Sweet Baby.” Green Day referenced their love of money.
Originally called “Sweet Children” the band was encouraged to change their name to avoid confusion with another band “Sweet Baby.” Green Day referenced theirreferenced their eco-awareness.
Originally called “Sweet Children” the band was encouraged to change their name to avoid confusion with another band “Sweet Baby.” Green Day referenced their referenced their fondness for marijuana.
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Foo Fighters

After Kurt Cobain died, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl made a demo tape of some new material he was working on. Wanting to keep his anonymity, he called his ‘band’ Foo Fighters , a WWII term used to denote Unidentified Flying Objects.
Dave Grohl came up with the name when he was still drumming for Nirvana. He didn't want anyone to know about the side project, so he called the ‘band’ Foo Fighters , a WWII term used to denote “Unidentified Flying Objects.”
After Kurt Cobain died, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl made a demo tape of some new material he was working on. Wanting to keep his anonymity, he called his ‘band’ Foo Fighters , a WWII term used to denote kamikazes.
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Radiohead

The name comes from a Talking Heads song called "Radio Head." The band was originally named "On a Friday" because that was the day they usually rehearsed in their school music room. Their label asked them to come up with a better name.
David Bowie heard Radiohead play and said they sounded like the Talking Heads meets Radio Band. Thus the members put the two together and called themselves Radiohead. The band was originally named "On a Friday" because that was the day they usually rehearsed in their school music room. Their label asked them to come up with a better name.
The band was originally named "On a Friday" because that was the day they usually rehearsed in their school music room. Their label asked them to come up with a better name. Thom Yorke spoke to his friend David Byrne, who suggested the name Radiohead.