Band/Musician The 15 Greatest Bands Named After Real People

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In honor of school principal Leonard Skinner, who inspired the name for classic rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, here are the 15 greatest, most famous bands in history that have been named after real people; along with a song from each band. The name origins of each of these great bands is pretty interesting, as you would expect. And no, Pink Floyd was NOT inspired by the character Randall "Pink" Floyd in the movie Dazed and Confused.

What are bands named after people? These could either be tributes to people they know, meaning teachers, fellow musicians, serial killers, it doesn't matter. Plus, what do you know about the Alice Cooper witch? Time to learn! Band names can be both weird and strange but hopefully accurately reflect what a band is at its core. Some of these groups might even have some songs named after people in their discography, who knows?! Things named after people are a fun way to commemorate and honor special individuals and this list of bands with people names has them all!
Collection Photo:  mandy_cat via deviantart
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Pink Floyd


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Originally called The Tea Set, the members of this iconic band showed up at a gig one night to discover that there was already another band on the roster who had called dibs on that title (Joan Rivers would have torn them apart!)

Thinking quick, Syd Barrett mixed the names of two blues musicians he loved, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, to rename the band ‘The Pink Floyd Sound,’ and then later shortened the name to Pink Floyd.

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#18 on The Best Pop Groups/Artists

#2 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#8 on The Best Jam Bands

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Legend has it that the band was named after Tom Fogherty’s friend, Credence Nuball, whose favorite beer was Clearwater. The beer was discontinued by the maker, but then was picked back up by another brewery; hence the Clearwater revival. Ta da.

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#25 on The Best Pop Groups/Artists

#35 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#54 on The Best Pop Rock Bands & Artists

#1 on The Best Country Rock Bands and Artists

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Lynyrd Skynyrd


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Long ago, this name was explained as homage to a gym teacher named Leonard Skinner they had in high school, who would send them to the principal’s office because "their hair was too long."

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#64 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#127 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#149 on The Top Country Artists of All Time

#3 on The Best Country Rock Bands and Artists

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Jethro Tull


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This band went through a ridiculous number of names in the early days, because no one would give them a repeat booking. Their booking agent’s assistant suggested the name Jethro Tull for one such show, and the band went along. It was this performance that they just so happen to get the attention of the club owner who wanted them to play a repeat show. So who is Jethro Tull? He is, in fact, an 18th century English agriculturist and inventor of the seed drill.

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#96 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#7 on Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

#33 on The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

#590 on The Worst Bands of All Time

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Tesla


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If you’re going to be a metal band, your name has to be pretty damn hardcore, so this group decided to steal the name of Nikolai Tesla, a 19th century electrical engineer and scientist who specialized in working with electrical currents and magnets. You don't get David Bowie to play you in a movie if you're not 100% badass.

Here's the studio version of their greatest hit, "Love Song": Tesla - Love Song

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#216 on The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

#377 on The Best Rock Bands of All Time

#214 on The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s

#110 on The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands

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Alice Cooper


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When Vincent Furnier’s band originally came to LA, they were called The Nazz. As they were signing to a record contract, they learned there was already a band called Nazz, so it was back to the drawing board. What better way to make the decision than to consult the almighty Ouija board?

So the story goes that during the session with the occult, Vincent learned that he was the reincarnated soul of Alice Cooper, who was a woman burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials for practicing the black arts.

In the end, not only was the band’s name changed, but Vincent made it his stage name and persona to match his ancestry/destiny.

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#114 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#64 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#60 on The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

#873 on The Worst Bands of All Time

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Kings of Leon


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This band consists of four extended family members whose grandfather and father/uncle were both named Leon. It almost seems like these guys are saying they rule over their elders. What’s wrong with kids today?

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#48 on The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers

#467 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#139 on The Best Indie Bands & Artists

#239 on The Worst Bands of All Time

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Jane's Addiction


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There was a hooker friend of Perry Farrell named Jane, who said that prostitution was her addiction. He then decided to exploit this poor woman’s habit as his band’s gain.

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#382 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#240 on Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

#63 on The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

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