How These 30 Legendary Rock Bands Got Their Name

How These 30 Legendary Rock Bands Got Their Name | Society Of Rock Videos

via @acdc/Twitter

Ever wonder how your favorite rock band got their name? We listed down 30 legendary rock and roll acts and the stories behind their name. Take a look below.



1. AC/DC
If you’re a real fan of this band and you see a sewing machine and instantly think of them, then you know the story behind the name of AC/DC. Yes, it stands for the electrical parlance abbreviation “Alternating Current/Direct Current.” Brothers Malcolm and Angus Young went for the name AC/DC after their sister Margaret saw the initials on her sewing machine. They felt it’s the perfect name to represent the power-driven nature of their music.

2. Aerosmith
Drummer Joey Kramer and his girlfriend were listening to Harry Nilsson’s “Aerial Ballet” and started combining names that had “aero” in them. Kramer liked how “aerosmith” sounded, but the band at that time disagreed, until Joe Perry and Steven Tyler joined and go with it.

3. The Beatles
The Fab Four were big fans of the Buddy Holly’s backing group called the Crickets, and that’s where the inspiration for their name came from.

4. Black Sabbath
The band’s first name was Earth Blues Company and was changed to Earth. Although, another band was already using it so they settled for Black Sabbath after the 1963 film starring Boris Karloff.

5. Cheap Trick
The name was inspired when bassist Tom Petersson commented that the band Slade used “every cheap trick in the book” as part of their act on their concert.

6. Chicago
The band was originally called The Big Thing until they moved to Los Angeles and signed with Columbia Records. Producer Jimmy Guercio changed the name to Chicago Transit Authority in honor of the bus line he used to take to school. But after the release of their first album, their name was later shortened to Chicago.

7. Deep Purple
They were called Roundabout first before guitarist Ritchie Blackmore suggested to change their name to Deep Purple after a song.

8. Def Leppard
Singer Joe Elliott initially named the band “Deaf Leopard,” until percussionist Tony Kenning suggested to change the spelling and make it less “punk.”

9. The Doors
The band got their name from a 1954 book titled “The Doors of Perception,” by Aldous Huxley.

10. Eagles
There are three stories coined with this name. One, Bernie Leadon named the band “Eagles” during a drug-and-alcohol-enhanced group trip to the Mojave Desert where he read about the Native American Hopi tribe’s reverence for the eagle. Two, J.D. Souther suggested the name after Glenn Frey shouted out “eagles!” when they saw some flying above them in the desert. Lastly, Comedian Steve Martin, a friend of the band, said he suggested the group should be referred to as “THE Eagles” and Frey just shortened it to “Eagles.”

11. Foreigner
The band’s original name was “Trigger,” but it was already being used by someone else. Mick Jones then came up with “Foreigner” inspired by the fact that at least three of them would always be foreigners no matter where they went.

12. Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac was named after Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. Five decades and many lineups later, the duo is the only remaining original members.

13. Guns N’ Roses
GNR was a child name from two other bands, Hollywood Rose and L.A. Guns. Guitarist Izzy Stradlin was roommates with Tracii Guns and when L.A. Guns needed a new singer, Hollywood Rose’s Axl Rose joined and thus formed the Guns N’ Roses.

14. Iron Maiden
After bassist Steve Harris left his previous group, Smiler, Iron Maiden were formed on Christmas Day 1975. Harris got the name from a film adaptation of “The Man in the Iron Mask” where he remembered the notorious torture device from the Dark Ages, the iron maiden.

15. Journey
The original members of Journey were initially called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section as they all came together in San Francisco in 1973. Eventually, they hold a radio contest to come up with a new name, but was only disappointed with the suggestions. Until a roadie named John Villanueva recommended the name “Journey” and all of them agreed.

16. Judas Priest
The band’s name was suggested by early member Bruno Stapenhill to original frontman Al Atkins, inspired by “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” by Bob Dylan.

17. King Crimson
Original lyricist Peter Sinfield came up with the name King Crimson in reference to the fallen angel Beelze­bub in the poem of John Milton’s “Par­adise Lost.” Sinfield shared:

“I wanted something like Led Zeppelin, something with a bit of power to it,” “King Crimson had arrogance to it.”

18. Kiss
Initially, they were called the Wicked Lester, until co-founder Peter Criss brought up the fact that he had previously played in a band called Lips. That’s when Paul Stanley thought about Kiss.

19. Led Zeppelin
In the summer of 1966, The Who’s Keith Moon and John Entwistle joined Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones on the Jeff Beck single “Beck’s Bolero.” The teamed up led to forming a new group and they became Led Zeppelin.

20. Metallica
Lars Ulrich’s friend Ron Quintana was brainstorming titles for a new metal music fanzine, and had proposed “Metal Mania” and “Metallica.” Metallica wasn’t chosen, so when Urich needed a name for his newly formed band, he used it.

21. Pink Floyd
Co-founder Syd Barrett named the band after learning that their old name the Tea Set is already used by another group. He combined the names of two Piedmont bluesmen from his record collection: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

22. Queen
Farrokh Bulsara, known as Freddie Mercury, went to Ealing Art College and met Tim Staffell of the local band Smile. Bulsara joined the group after Staffell left for another gig. He then encouraged the remaining Smile members to change their name to Queen.

23. Ramones
Douglas Colvin was the first to adopt the name “Ramone,” calling himself Dee Dee Ramone. He was allegedly inspired by Paul McCartney’s use of the pseudonym Paul Ramon during his early Beatles days. Dee Dee convinced the other members to take on the name and came up with the idea of calling the band the Ramones. Hyman became Joey Ramone and Cummings became Johnny Ramone, until Christopher Joseph Ward (known as C.J. Ramone) was added.

24. The Rolling Stones
The band took their name from Muddy Waters 1950 song “Rollin’ Stone.”

25. Rush
The official lineup was formed in 1968 by Geddy Lee, who’s a schoolmate of Alex Lifeson. They were joined by John Rutsey who has a brother that suggested the name “Rush” in May 1971.

26. The Clash
The punk pioneers picked their name after noticing that the British Evening Standard tabloid used the word “clash” multiple times on their headlines.

27. The Monkees
The band was created to be the American version of the Beatles. So they made their name similar to the Fab Four.

28. The Police
Drummer Stewart Copeland named the band before Sting joined. Stewart simply saw the name on the side of a cop car and used it as his band’s name.

29. The Who
The band’s choices for their name were No One, The Group, and The Hair, until finally Roger Daltrey have chosen The Who.

30. Twisted Sister
The band was initially called as the Silver Star. But audiences referred to the members as the “twisted sisters” as they looked like heavy-metal drag queens, and so they’ve changed it to that.

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