10 Stories Behind Famous Band Logos

Every logo has its secrets.

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10 Stories Behind Famous Band Logos
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Led Zeppelin

A lot of people don't really know what these symbols are all about.  Here's the Jimmy Page's quote on the matter:


“After all this crap that we’d had with the critics, I put it to everybody else that it’d be a good idea to put out something totally anonymous. At first I wanted just one symbol on it, but then it was decided that since it was our fourth album and there were four of us, we could each choose our own symbol. I designed mine and everyone else had their own reasons for using the symbols that they used,”

 - Drummer John Bonham’s symbol consists of three interlocking rings, which represent the mother, the father and the child. The symbol was chosen from Rudolf Koch’s Book of Signs.

- Bassist John Paul Jones’ symbol was also chosen from the same book. It resembles a circle intersecting 3 vesica pisces (a triquetra) and it symbolizes a person who has confidence and competence.

- Singer Robert Plant’s symbol is a feather inside a circle and was designed by him. The feather is an emblem of a writer (ie song lyrics) and also it is based on the lost civilizations and continent of Mu.

- Jimmy Page designed his own symbol and it is often referred as “ZoSo”. He never publically explained or stated what the true meaning behind the symbol is, however it was discovered that it dates back to at least 1557 and it represents Saturn.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

When it comes to the logo of the rock band the Red Hot Chili Peppers, there are a lot of beliefs, most of them spawning from the band interviews. Some people call it Star of Affinity probably because it sounds kind of spiritual, and is just convincing enough. It was also referred to as Angel's Asshole due to apparent similarities.

But the truth turned out to be more prosaic. In his autobiography, Anthony Kiedis told how a record label executive asked him to design a logo. for the band. Kiedis drew the first thing that came to his mind. So there's no meaning behind it whatsoever .  

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones logo is so famous that it has practically transcended the band itself, becoming an iconic pop culture image even amongst those who don't know of its connection to the band.

A lot of people think that this logo was designed by Andy Warhol, but in fact it was made by an English artist John Pasche. It's also commonly believed that the logo is supposed to be a representation of Mick Jagger's mouth, but again this isn't the case. The mouth was actually inspired by the Hindu goddess Kali, who is generally depicted with her tongue sticking out of her mouth.

KISS

The KISS logo is just as iconic as the make-up of its members. It was designed by their former lead guitarist Ace Frehley who came up with the idea while attempting to write the band's name over Wicked Lester on a poster outside their next venue. Wicked Lester were a short-lived band led by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, who recorded one album.

Technically, however, the band actually has two logos, as the lightening bolt S-letters bear a striking resemblance to the Nazi SS symbol. In various countries that have banned Nazi iconography such as Germany, Israel, Austria, Poland and Switzerland, these letters are replaced by two backwards-facing Z-letters.

Aerosmith

Aerosmith's logo hides more secrets than you can think. The image features the wings from the self-titled album on which it first appeared and a circle which is commonly interpreted as a steering wheel, but which upon close inspection is merely the end of the wings meeting at the letter A. This design is completely intentional, of course, with the gap in the "A" acting as the steering wheel's star-shaped horn. This combination of wings and steering wheel evokes the rock and roll spirit and freedom associated with the band's music.

Queen

 

The Queen's logo was designed by Freddie Mercury himself before the release of their debut album and is styled in a similar fashion to the Royal Coat of Arms, but instead of unicorns it depicts the zodiac signs of each of the members of the band. Two lions (John Deacon and Roger Taylor are Leos) flank the side of a massive red Q. On top of the Q sits a massive crab (Cancer) which belongs to Brian May. And below the two lions are two fairies (Virgo) which represent Freddie Mercury himself. As for the massive Phoenix on top, well, Mercury probably thought it was kinda cool (and we can't argue with that.)

Nirvana

 

The Nirvana smiley face is one of those logos that is instantly recognizable and incredibly iconic, yet not many people know where it came from.
Drawn by Kurt Cobain, it first appeared on a flyer for the release party of Nevermind in 1991. It was inspired by a logo on the marquee of a Seattle-based strip club called The Lusty Lady. The bottom of the marquee had a small, dazed-looking smiley face next to the phrase "Have an erotic day!".

Misfits

 

Misfits were known for their fascination with all things horror, commonly incorporating horror film themes and imagery into their music. It's unsurprising, that their band logo a grinning skull shrouded in darkness would exemplify that precedent. The logo was discovered by the band's founder Glenn Danzig, who took the image from the 1946 film serial The Crimson Ghost specifically from the face of the titular ghoul. Though Danzig had no idea the logo would become as iconic as it did, it fittingly represents everything that the band stands for, and so was adopted as the band's signature image.

Black Flag

 

Perhaps you thought the Blakc Flag's logo was nothing but a 4 stripes? Nope. The band's logo is one of those once you see it, you can't unsee it kind of logos. Formulated by guitarist Greg Ginn's brother Raymond Pettibon, the logo is actually a flag hence the disjointed bars, which are supposed to represent ripples. Though it seems obvious in retrospect, it's amazing how many people don't perceive it naturally, despite the logo appearing on basically all of their albums.

Alt -J

The logo of Alt-J is directly related to the name. Those of you who have Mac keyboard, please hold pressing the "Alt" and "J" keys. Here is the result; ∆. It's a symbol that is used to show a change in mathematical equations.

30 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jddthomas
    And what about Anal Cunt logo ? Just for my knowledge. Thanks UG
    DrCOOL
    Alt-J has some tunes I'm down with, but I would hardly say their logo is anywhere near the levels of fame (iconic even) of the others in this list. 
    ThatSerbDude
    Yup. I know some of their songs, but this is the first time I've even seen the logo. 
    bistirdslap
    What about the logo for Corey Taylor?
    OriginOfFeces
    The phalic shape of it resembles the strong desire to be alpha male, but the shining edges give hints of lust and desire FOR the phalic shaped member. The colour pink that is wildly used in this logo often stands for open homosexuality. The font in which the initials CT were "tattooed" with on the phalic shape, resemble the font that was used by famous LA gaybar Les Heaumeaux. 
    bistirdslap
    Damn son, you sure did your homework! Good to see you again by the way, my dutch friend :
    OriginOfFeces
    Hahaha! Oh hey man! Did not even realise I was replying to you!
    bistirdslap
    Haha yeah figured as much my last reply to you must have gotten lost in transmission, then I went on a hiatus for a few months. Hope you are doing well and that your moving into the new house (if I remember right) went well
    OriginOfFeces
    Oh well, you win some, lose some right?  Don't blame ya! I'm good man, all settled in the new house and doing my thing. (awesome that you remebered that!) how are you man?  Still traveling around?
    StarryEyes81
    Aerosmith's 'Wings' logo didn't actually appear on the debut album cover. It appeared on their second album; Get Your Wings. And the story behind it is the boys heard how one of the steps of 'getting your wings' and becoming a fully patched Hell's Angel, is to go down on your girl while she is on her period.  I read about it in their autobiography.
    argarg1313
    I like the first graphic with all of the band's logos written out... kinda want that as a poster for my home.
    brianfallen97
    still perceiving the Black Flag logo as four stripes. Don't see no flag with ripples. 
    OriginOfFeces
    Korn logo was scribbled by Jonathan Davis with his left hand (while being right handed) I think he accidentally inverted the R due to this. 
    dennis.1960
    Henry Rollins story:  He got in an argument with this woman at an airport (a common occurence for Henry if you've read any of his books or seen his spoken word shows) and she saw his Black Flag tattoo on the back of his neck and said, "what's that, your prison tattoo?"  Rollins responded, "No, it's a bar code"