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The Greatest Bands Named After Real People

Updated July 14, 2020 9.9k votes 1.5k voters 248.2k views15 items

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!
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Bands Named After Real People
    Video: YouTube
    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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  • Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Bands Named After Real People
    Video: YouTube

    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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  • Lynyrd Skynyrd is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Bands Named After Real People
    Video: YouTube
    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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  • Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Bands Named After Real People
    Video: YouTube

    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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