Had a side convo last night in the jacuzzi with a couple Zep fans, discussing this. We ended up going off on a tangent and rattling off what we thought were the best band names of all time.
There are, of course, tons. There are great straightforward names pulled from familiar terms in English, like The Cure, Rush, Cream, Suicidal Tendencies, Heart, R.E.M., Dire Straits, The Pretenders, KISS, The Rolling Stones, Blind Faith, Yes, Rainbow, The Misfits, Journey. There are also more creative names, composed by using English words in unconventional contexts and combinations. Killer names like Soundgarden, Foghat, Aerosmith, Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge, Deep Purple, and maybe even Cheap Trick. Then you’ve got names that fall into a more personal category, with a hidden meaning that intially excludes outsiders from completely understanding the name. Seemingly nonsensical names like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Limp Bizkit, Jimmmy Eat World, Smashing Pumpkins, Blue Oyster Cult, Stone Temple Pilots, System of a Down, and perhaps even The Who. There are overlaps in all these categories.
After hashing this out for a while, I realized that, for me anyway, the most thought-provoking names contain one or both of the following two factors:
— striking use of metaphor (example: Pearl Jam)
— an oxymoron or paradox (example: Quiet Riot)
Any name that plays with these factors makes you think twice or three times. It makes you talk about it in the jacuzzi, perhaps even provoking debates over subjective interpretation. In any case, it beckons a blog entry.
That stated, off the top of my head, here are what I would consider my Top 5 Most Thought-provoking Band Names Ever:
4. The Grateful Dead
3. Black Sabbath
2. Led Zeppelin
1. The Doors
What are yours?