The 10 Best Band Names

LxL_TopTenThursdays_02_900x300band name

Editor’s note: It’s a slow week in music, so we figured we would revisit one of our favorite lists we have done, our very favorite band names.

Band names are a highly subjective topic for a top ten list.  Some people are more partial to goofy names (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. anybody).  Some people dig simplicity (Cream).  And some people even have a penchant for alliteration (Modest Mouse).  We try to give every type of name its due on our list, but alas, a list of ten is far too short to honor all of the creative, funny, and bold names the creative geniuses throughout time have come up with.  Enjoy our list for what it is, and we’d love to hear your favorites in the comments.  Godspeed.

10.  Sex Pistols

sex pistols, full band

Sex and guns.  These punk rockers took two of the things most likely to cause an adrenaline rush and mashed them together to to give a name to their raucous, groundbreaking style.  Without hearing a note, The Sex Pistols manage to sound exciting.

9.  Men Without Hats

men without hats, full band

When going through all the options, Todd couldn’t even read “Men Without Hats” without having to stifle a giggle.  Its simple yet descriptive, but not too descriptive.  What was the pressing issue these gentlemen had with hats?  I’ll never know, but I’m with them – F*** hats.

8.  Broken Social Scene

broken social scene, full band

I’m not sure what Broken Social Scene means, but it just kind of rolls off the tongue.  It’s kind of an abstract phrase that probably seems deeper than it really is.  Still, our instincts said BSS was appropriate for this Canadian collective.

7.  Unknown Mortal Orchestra

unknown mortal orchestra

Any band that ends its name with “orchestra” has the potential to take itself way too seriously.  UMO toes the line, but came out with a winning name due to their cohesion of tone and style with the ominous name

6.  A Tribe Called Quest

tribe called quest, full band

A Tribe Called Quest’s name was apparently thought up by The Jungle Brothers, another jazz-influenced hip-hop group of the late 80’s.  I think I just like the idea of a group of musicians considering themselves a “tribe”.  It denotes a sense of closeness, but also a level of intensity.

5.  Daft Punk

daft punk 2

An early review of this duo coined their style of music “a daft punky trash”.  Instead of getting upset, they decided to craft their name from the harsh insult and become the biggest thing in electronic music of the past, well, ever probably.  A good sense of humor often leads to creative gold.

4.  The Band

the band

Not many bands that feel such the second-class citizens to their front men go on to be as successful as The Band.  These humble musicians are in a class of their own, even if they don’t even quite believe it.

3.  N.W.A.

nwa 2

N*ggas With Attitude is about as to the point as it gets.  N.W.A. were a bunch of young black men that were angry as hell about any number of things.  The name says it all with this one.

2.  …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

trail of dead

Too wordy for you?  Not for us.  This band wanted to leave a mark, and that mark was a trail of rotting, dead corpses.  Combine the name with the progressive punk beginnings of the band, and Trail of Dead found itself a winning name.

1.  Dead Kennedys

dead kennedys

The name is morbid, maybe in poor taste, and also perfect.  There certainly are a lot of dead Kennedy’s throughout history, so why not use this name as a provocative marketing tool.  Simply put, they got our attention along with anyone else into the punk scene.

Just Missed

Todd – The Shitty Beatles

shitty beatles

This imagined band, mentioned in passing in Wayne’s World, has a name that was just too good to pass up.  I always thought the name was a dig at the actual Beatles, who weren’t hard rock enough for Wayne and Garth, but have never been able to confirm this theory.

Wes – Does it Offend You, Yeah?

does it offend you yeah

This band name is so dumb and brilliant at the same time.  Lifted from Ricky Gervais’ character, David Brent, on the British Office, the name invokes a sense of snarky who-gives-a-shit attitude that one would expect from a Brit dance band. Also considered I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness and Bloomington, IN’s own Murder By Death.

Austin – Iron Maiden

iron maiden

From the musical style, theatrics, and topical nature of the lyrics, Iron Maiden chose a perfect band name.  The Iron Maiden is a torture device from The Man in the Iron Mask, and evokes imagery identical to the band itself.

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