You Know My Name (Look up the Number)

The Black Jacket Symphony.

It’s the name of a project, a vision. 

It’s not exactly a “band name”, but musicians are selected to BE in this band every performance to recreate a classic, timeless album.

I think it’s a good name. 

Probably because I came up with it.  But it explains what it is pretty well.  The band members wear black (including jackets) and play the “symphony” of this generation.

 Names of bands can be good or bad.  Dave Grohl commented that he wished he knew that the ‘Foo Fighters’ were going to be so popular because he would have thought up a better name.  I think it’s great.

 The thing about great names of bands is that they transcend the actual meaning of whatever name they have chosen.  Here’s a list of some of those and their origins:

– The Beatles

You don’t even thing of an ugly little bug when you hear it do you?

The origin is murky.  The surviving members couldn’t really even say in the Anthology series. 

It either came from a line from a movie called “The Wild One” with a motorcycle gang called ‘The Beetles’, or one time member Stu Sutcliff came up with it in honor of Buddy Holly’s Crickets.    

What is NOT up for debate is that it was John Lennon’s idea to spell it with an “A”.

“Beat”.  Get it?  Yeah, he was the smart Beatle.

– AC/DC 

 It is said that one of the band member saw it on an appliance and thought it had something to do with power. (It does mean “alternating current / direct current”.)  The band used it not realizing it was also slang for a bisexual.  Oops.

 –BLACK SABBATH

 From a 1960’s cheap horror movie starring Boris Karloff , suggesting a holy day of witchcraft.  Perfect name for this band.

 –DEVO

shortened form of “de-evolution” – the opposite of evolution – expressing the band’s opinion on what the planet is going through.

 –THE DOORS

Jim Morrison read poet William Blake who said “if the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite. “He was also influenced by author Aldous Huxley who referred to the same line when he titled his book on drug experimentation The Doors of Perception. 

 –FLEETWOOD MAC

 a simple one. They just took the last name of drummer Mick Fleetwood and a form of bassist John McVie’s last name.  One of the greatest rhythm sections in all of rock and roll.

– THE GRATEFUL DEAD

 originally called The Warlocks, Jerry Garcia found out that another band had the same name. Supposedly, he looked in a reference book at random and found a folk tale about a troubled soul who is put to rest by a traveler. The spirit then helps the traveler with his own quest.

 –JETHRO TULL

Named after the rather obscure inventor of the farmer’s seed drill.  Really.

 –LED ZEPPELIN – Jimmy Page was drinking with Keith Moon of The Who. They joked about the two of them starting a band with Jimmy, and one of them said “Yeah, that will go over like a lead balloon”. When Jimmy formed his own band, he remembered this and thought “Lead Zeppelin” would be good. They decided to drop the “a” so Americans wouldn’t mispronounce it.

 –PINK FLOYD

Taken from the names of two Georgia bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council – from the early days when the band saw itself as a blues band

 –RAMONES

Paul McCartney used to call himself Paul Ramone. The Ramones all use the last name Ramone even though it’s not their given name.

 –THE ROLLING STONES

From the Howlin’ Wolf blues song “Rolling Stone” – Keith Richards was a fan of the version recorded by Muddy Waters.

– STEELY DAN

 Taken from William Burrough’s book Naked Lunch. In it Steely Dan is the nickname given to a giant steam-powered dildo (see cover photo on their first album)

 –The Who

 There’s a legendary story that they were really named The Who because very time they would talk to Pete Townshend’s grandmother about a band, she would say: “The Who?”

She probably asked them to get off her lawn as well…

 

How about you?  Have a favorite (and somewhat tasteful) name of a band?

Jethro Tull: AgriculturistJ

Jethro Tull:  Agriculturist

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2 responses

  1. You left out an important story on JT. Ian Anderson says they were so bad coming up that in order to get gigs they had to change the band name every week. “Hire this band” said their agent. “they’re the shrimptoast!” “Well, as long as they don’t sound like that awful bad ‘Toga’ you sent me last week!” “Oh, no..Shrimptoast is much better!” (it was the same band with a new name, get it?) Anderson said the first time a club owner liked them and wanted them back, they had to go back and figure out what name they played under that week…Jethro Tull. From then on they were stuck with it!

    March 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm

  2. JOHN MANN

    “Blue Öyster Cult”! Their name came from a poem written by their manager Sandy Pearlman. Their previous name (also from Pearlman) was “Soft White Underbelly” (a phrase used by Winston Churchill to describe Italy).

    And “Hawkwind” took their name from the nickname of Nik Turner (saxophones and flute) derived from his bad habit of clearing his throat (hawking) and excess, um, wind. (Nik was also known as ‘Thunder Rider’, probably for similar reasons.

    And, one more, if I may. Little Feat got their name from a comment made by the Mothers’ of Invention’s drummer (Jimmy Carl Black) about Lowell George’s “little feet.” The changed spelling of “feat” was an homage to The Beatles. And so we’re back where we started. Sorta.

    March 16, 2012 at 7:22 am

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