6 Famous Rock Bands Explain the Meaning Behind Their Names

Rock bands tend to have some pretty creative names, don’t they? Let’s take a look at six particularly uniquely named rock bands and break down the meaning behind their names.

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1. The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground have become cult legends in today’s music world, and few know the origins of the art rock band’s name. According to legend, one of John Cale’s friends showed the band a book titled The Velvet Underground by Michael Leigh. The book was actually a study from 1963 on the “unconventional” sexual exploits between adults. Naturally, the band had to use the title as their name.

2. Lynyrd Skynyrd

This is by far the strangest name on our list. However, the “Freebird” hitmakers had some intention behind the name instead of just scribbling some letters together. The band members went to school together and had a gym teacher named Leonard Skinner who absolutely despised men with long hair. Naturally, they had to take a jam at him with their now-legendary band name.

3. Simple Minds

This Scottish rock band got their name from one of their inspirations: David Bowie. The band name comes from lyrics from the Bowie track “The Jean Genie”. The song laments someone “so simple-minded he can’t drive his module, he bites on the neon and sleeps in the capsule.”

4. Coldplay

This rock band is still touring sold-out arenas today. And they almost weren’t called Coldplay. Allegedly, the band threw around a few different names, one in particular being “Starfish”. However, their friend’s band decided to give up the name “Coldplay” and Chris Martin thought it was perfect. The original band took the name from a book of children’s poems.

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5. Queens Of The Stone Age

Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme has said exactly why they chose the name for their rock outfit. “Rock should be heavy enough for the boys and sweet enough for the girls,” Homme said. “That way everyone’s happy and it’s more of a party.”

6. Foo Fighters

This name has puzzled casual fans for years. However, a quick history lesson would clear up any confusion about the meaning behind Foo Fighters. During World War II, allied military aviators would often refer to unidentified flying objects as “foo fighters”. Dave Grohl liked the name because it was mysterious.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives

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