6 Folk Rock Bands Explain the Meaning Behind Their Names

Folk rock bands tend to have interesting names, and many of those band names have fascinating backstories. Let’s look at six folk rock bands and the meaning behind their names!

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1. Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield was composed of legendary artists Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer, and Dewey Martin. Their time together was short from 1966 to 1968, but the members went on to launch noteworthy careers in folk rock.

According to the band, their name simply came from a brand name on a steamroller that was parked outside of their house. An apt one, considering how the band steamrolled through their career before disbanding early.

2. Fleetwood Mac

Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were two of the original members of the iconic folk rock outfit Fleetwood Mac. Their name is simply a unique combination of both of their surnames. Allegedly, the name was put together and chosen by Peter Green, another original member of the band.

3. Simon & Garfunkel

Well, this is probably the most obvious one on this list. Simon & Garfunkel was comprised of singer/songwriters Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Their band name was just made up of their last names. Sometimes, simple is best.

4. Creedence Clearwater Revival

This band name has always been a mouthful, and few actually know what the meaning behind it is. The Fogerty brothers-led band put together their name with a few different elements in mind. “Creedence” referred to Tom Fogerty’s friend of the same name. “Clearwater” was a reference to a TV commercial for the Olympia Brewing Company. “Revival” was a reference to the four members’ revitalized commitment to the band. A few names that didn’t make the cut included “Muddy Rabbit” and “Gossamer Wump”.

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5. The Mamas & The Papas

The Mamas & The Papas were nothing short of legendary in the world of folk music. And their name actually came from none other than the Hells Angels. The quartet was considering the name “Magic Cyrcle” before they switched to their now-iconic name. In the Hells Angels at the time, female members of the motorcycle club were referred to as “mamas”.

6. The Byrds

In the early days of The Byrds, they originally went by the band name “Jet Set”. From there, they decided to change their name to “The Beefeaters” to sound notably more British to appeal to American audiences that had jumped on the British Invasion craze. It wasn’t until 1964 that the band settled for “The Byrds”, which still maintained the flight-focused vibe of “Jet Set” but also mimicked the intentional mistelling that The Beatles were known for.

Photo by Richard Creamer

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