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8 Band Names Inspired By Other Artist's Names: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, And More

by Joey DeGroot   Aug 31, 2014 17:01 PM EDT

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Coming up with a band name is one of the most important and difficult steps of forming a band. While some artists like to take their names from a song by another artist, such as Radiohead (A Talking Heads song) or Pretty Girls Make Graves (a Smiths song), other artists have found inspiration in the actual names of other artists. Here are eight band names that were inspired by the names of other artists. 

1. The Beatles

Though there's a famous quote from John Lennon about how the name "The Beatles" came to him in a dream (suggested by a man who "appeared in a flaming pie"), that's not actually the name came to be. "The Beatles" was actually suggested by the band's original bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, as a tribute to Buddy Holly's band The Crickets.

2. Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys were one of the most influential artists in all of hip-hop, but the group actually started off as a hardcore punk band back in 1981. The band's biggest influence was Bad Brains, so much so that their initials "B.B." served as the inspiration for the Beastie Boys' own name.

3. Joanna Gruesome

Though some of the other artists on this list were inspired musically by the people they based their names off of, Joanna Gruesome's blistering noise pop couldn't be further from Joanna Newsom's intricate, poetic folk epics.

4. The Brian Jonestown Massacre

One of the Brian Jonestown Massacre's biggest influences is the Rolling Stones, which should be pretty obvious based on the fact that they used the name of original Stones guitarist Brian Jones in their own name. The amount of inspiration they find in Jim Jones, however, is debatable.

5. Kate's Bush

I've never heard a single song by Kate's Bush (I just know that they're one of the side projects of Boyracer's Stewart Anderson), but the only reason I can remember their name at all is because of its slightly tasteless yet still clever twist on Kate Bush's name.

6. Pink Floyd

In the mid-'70s, a clueless record executive met with the members of Pink Floyd and famously asked, "Which one's Pink?" Of course, none of them were Pink Floyd; the name was created by founding guitarist Syd Barrett as a tribute to two obscure American bluesmen: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

7. Sonic Youth

Like Pink Floyd, Sonic Youth created their name by combining the names of two other artists: MC5 guitarist Fred 'Sonic' Smith, and British reggae group Musical Youth. Bassist Kim Gordon recalled that when the name was created, "a certain sound that was more of what we wanted to do came about."

8. Elvis Costello

When Declan McManus originally started performing music in the mid-70s, he adopted the name "D.P. Costello," a tribute to his father's stage name, Day Costello. Then, when McManus was eventually signed to Stiff Records, he changed his first name to Elvis, after Elvis Presley of course, and become known throughout the world as Elvis Costello.

What are some other bands that based their names on another artist's? Let us know in the comments section!

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