10 Famous Bands That Took Their Names From Songs

How can you tell when a song is immortal? When other band takes it as a name for itself.

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10 Famous Bands That Took Their Names From Songs
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How can you tell when a song is immortal? When other band takes it as a name for itself.

Here are 10 Famous Bands that took their names from songs.

Boris

Awesome Japanese experimentalists Boris thankfully didn’t name themselves after the London Mayor and Boris ‘BoJo’ Johnson. No, their source was much cooler: Seattle noiseniks the Melvins, who had a song of the same name.

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Death Cab For Cutie

Cult 1960s Brit rockers The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s penchant for preposterously long nomenclature didn’t put off Death Cab For Cutie, who – you’ve guessed it – named themselves after the song of the same name.

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Funeral For A Friend

Funeral For A Friend apparently got their name from a song by emo pioneers Planes Mistaken For Stars, though Elton John also wrote a song with the same name back in 1973. Perhaps Planes Mistaken For Stars took their song name from Elton John’s song name?

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The Sisters of Mercy

Goth rockers the Sisters of Mercy couldn’t have sounded much different to brilliant old misery guts Leonard Cohen, but that didn’t stop them borrowing their name from the title of one of his classic songs. A certain darkness pervades the back catalogue of both to be fair.

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High Flying Bird

Noel Gallagher named his backing band the High Flying Birds after the track ‘High Flying Bird’ of Jefferson Airplane fame. Gallagher you thieving musical magpie!

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Motörhead

Motörhead appropriated their name from the Hawkwind song ‘Motorhead’, though to be fair Lemmy did come up with the name when he was the former bass player in Hawkwind. The band had actually booted Lemmy out of the group when he’d got caught with speed by customs officials at the Canadian border in 1975, so it was fair game really.

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Judas Priest

Birmingham heavy metal legends Judas Priest took their name from the unlikeliest source, the Bob Dylan song ‘The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest’. Bob was never into heavy vibes, and we suspect he probably isn’t a fan of heavy metal either. Gotta love the Priest though.

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The Kooks

‘Kooks’ is a well-loved David Bowie oddity from his imperious ‘Hunky Dory’ album, and Luke Pritchard simply added a The prefix that was popular at the time when his band The Kooks formed in East Sussex in 2004.

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Radiohead

Radiohead named themselves after the Talking Heads song ‘Radio Head’, from the 1986 album ‘True Stories’. It’s not necessarily the greatest of names befitting of a band of their considerable might, but it could have been worse; they could have remained called On A Friday.

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The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones were so obsessed with Muddy Waters that they stole their name from his tune ‘Rollin’ Stone’. It wasn’t all they took from Muddy, although the media spotlight thrown onto the bluesman and his contemporaries was probably a fair exchange.

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Know any more bands that were named after the songs? Share your entries in the comment section below.

87 comments sorted by best / new / date

    eatfresh1736
    Iron Maiden took their name from the song Iron Maiden, on Iron Maiden's first album, titled Iron Maiden.
    Tfritz754
    Ahh yeah. Very very similar to Bad Company. I heard they got their band name from the title track of the Bad Company album "Bad Company". Weird how that works.
    SmithDerp1
    Godsmack ==> Alice in Chains song
    Hiddenelegy
     The band's name, according to Erna statement in a 1999 interview, "I was making fun of somebody who had a cold sore on his lip and the next day I had one myself and somebody said, It looks like God smacked your face for making fun. The name stuck and they went by Godsmack from then on. We were aware of the Alice in Chains song but didn't really think much about it." 
    eatfresh1736
    Which nobody really buys, because it's pretty clear that Godsmack was aiming for that AiC vibe.
    atrslade
    I thought they were an Aic cover band in their early career. I'm to lazy to look it up though
    CosyNinja
    Lady Gaga - - Radio Gaga. 
    d.floresumana
    Really? Interesting
    wylde1994
    yeah i remember reading about her when she used to work as a go go dancer, she'd dance to tunes like "Radio Gaga" and some other stuff like Iron Maiden  
    Intersting
    I think someone was trying to call her Radio Gaga and it aug-corrected to Lady Gaga.....or so the story goes.
    HugoPan
    Deep Purple as well. it was a song that Blackmore's grandmother used to listen all the time.
    vikingman369
    Machinehead - the Deep Purple album Machinehead After Forever - the Black Sabbath song "After Forever"
    TenTonHammer
    [Machine Head]'s name was thought of by Flynn because it "sounded cool", despite the popular belief that it came from the Deep Purple album of the same name.
    Might have also been a reference to a guitar's tuning mechanisms.
    eatfresh1736
    Based on your username, I feel like your whole existence on this site is to pop in and correct people on their Machine Head trivia. Keep fighting the good fight, man!
    teemay
    And don't forget my old band "Jack the Bastard"...I played bass and sang. We were freakin' huge in Missoula, Montana in the 1990's. One on our shows had more than 40 people at it and our CD sold at least 65 copies. Well, we might have given some of them away, but that's like selling right? Our big hit was called "Grudge Fuck".
    Spinnerweb
    I heard that Black Sabbath named themselves after the Coven song 'Black Sabbath,' but also that it was after a 1953 movie. I want it to be the former but it's more likely the latter.
    tote111
    Buckcherry, spoonerism of Chuck Berry (R.I.P). Not a song but I guess it still counts
    aaronangus
    Jet got their name from the Paul McCartney song. The band obviously has the Beatle undertones in some of their songs so it's clear he was an influence on them.
    Eifler121
    Radiohead not a good band name​? It is arguably the best thing about the band!
    srv54
    Stevie ray Vaughan and Double Trouble    Double trouble came from the Otis  rush song Double trouble
    Synth-Pro
    Every modern Pop-Punk band took their name from Four Year Strong songs u.u
    dennis.1960
    Prog band Mutiny in Jonestown was named after a song by 80's hardcore band The Minutemen.
    eGraham
    Are there any bands that got their name from songs by bands that got their name from songs by bands?
    Intersting
    Supposedly, Silverchair came from a mix of Nirvana's Sliver and AIC's Angry Chair. It was an abbreviated list of songs they wanted to request on the radio or something like that and when looking over it, it looked like silver and chair.
    Keyworks Kid
    Between the Buried and Me was named from the Counting Crows song "Ghost Train".  "Took the cannonball down to the ocean/Across the desert from the sea to shining sea/I rode a ladder that climbed across the nation/Fifty million feet of earth between the buried and me." 
    chantforeschaton
    Decrepit Birth from the Suffocation's Breeding the Spawn " The structure collapses, spewing forth mutation. Plague bathes the earth from infected skies. Chaotic saturation into the pores of existence. Breeding the spawn. Effigy awake in it's mummified region. Silent tombs concealed from the light. Grueling afterlife christened by their deaths. Malignant offspring of decrepit birth. "
    helltrash
    Running Wild and Exciter probably took their names from Judas Priest's songs.
    Kasper_Jensen
    Dizzy Mizz Lizzy took their name from the Beatles-tune "Dizzy Miss Lizzy". They may not be known in the US, but they're a huge deal in Denmark where they come from. In fact, they're generally considered one of the most important rock-bands in Danish music-history, even though D-A-D (Disneyland After Dark) are much bigger world-wide.
    curiousjoe
    "brilliant old misery guts Leonard Cohen" is a little much don't you think? The song (and most of his discography) was very uplifting and reassuring.
    EchoesOfTheMoon
    Anberlin - Misheard lyric in the song Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead. About 2:30 into the song, it sounds like Thom Yorke says Anberlin a bunch of times in a row.
    estranged_2003
    I would rule out bob not being into judas priest, he clearly likes a wide range of music from The Plugz to public enemy and he had slash play on under the red sky. 
    Oblivoath666
    In Fear and Faith got their name from the Circa Survive song. Only one I can think of lol.
    evadebmx33
    Godsmack was originally an alice in chains cover band so yeah that's where their name came from
    ShaneTheCreep
    The Funeral Portrait is a band and an Opeth song,not sure if that is the inspiration but still.