Musicians The Best Bands Named After Songs  

Ranker Music
Originally by
3.5k votes 496 voters 15.1k views 37 items

List Rules Only bands whose name is derived from a song (probably by another band).

Complete list of bands named after songs performed by other musicians (or, in some cases, bands named after their own songs). Looking at where rock groups get their names can be fun because band name etymology reveals a lot about how the musicians see themselves and who their early influences were.

The most famous band named after other performers' songs is Radiohead, named after Talking Heads song "Radio Head." Some of the best rock groups/performers of all time that have huge name recognition now--like the Rolling Stones and Boyz II Men--borrowed their names from song titles or lyrics that were written by other performers. In some cases, bands used titles from their own songs to help them name their bands. Rage Against the Machine is named after an earlier song that Zack de la Rocha performed with his old band and The Chemical Brothers also named their band after their own song.

Test yourself to see how many of these name etymologies you know, vote on your favorites and feel free to add any to the list that may not be on there yet. 


list ordered by

1
174 53
The Rolling Stones is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Muddy Waters' "Rolling Stone"

2
125 49
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Originally called Earth, the band changed its name after it's own song of the same, which reflected the band's new musical direction

3
101 54
Deep Purple is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after the Bing Crosby song "Deep Purple."

4
114 70
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs

after Talking Heads's "Radio Head"

5
78 43
Pretenders is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Named after The Platters 1956 No.1 hit "The Great Pretender".

6
86 52
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Hawkwind's "Motorhead"

7
72 51
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Bob Dylan's "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"

8
86 63
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after the name of a song that Zack de la Rocha performed with his old band, Inside Out.

9
74 65
Panic! at the Disco is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
from a line in Name Taken's "Panic"

10
84 77
Lady Gaga is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Queen's "Radio Ga Ga"

11
52 60
The Killers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after the name of the fictional band in the music video for the New Order song "Crystal"

12
68 78
Icehouse is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
PaulCollins added

13
51 58
Godsmack is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Alice in Chains' "God Smack"

14
56 76
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after New Edition's "Boys to Men"

15
31 51
Silverchair is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
a misspelling of Nirvana's "Sliver" and You Am I's "Berlin Chair"

16
44 63
Death Cab for Cutie is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's "Death Cab for Cutie" on their album Gorilla

17
37 65
Ladytron is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Roxy Music's "Ladytron"

18
1 1
I Don't Know How But They Foun... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
1523547810615 added I Don't Know How But They Found Me

19
30 49
The Kooks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after David Bowie's "Kooks" from his album Hunky Dory

20
30 49
The Sisters of Mercy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
A tribute to the Leonard Cohen song "Sisters Of Mercy" from his 1967 debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen

21
26 43
FireHouse is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
named after Kiss's "Firehouse"

22
26 49
The Chemical Brothers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
This name came from a song they wrote under the name The Dust Brothers called "Chemical Beat."

23
27 54
Blonde Redhead is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after the DNA song "Blonde Redhead"

24
23 48
Spoon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after the 1970s German avant-garde band Can's song "Spoon"

25
27 55
Mr. Big is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Free's "Mr. Big"

26
20 43
Cocteau Twins is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after the song "The Cocteau Twins" penned by fellow Scotsmen 'Johnny and the Self-Abusers', who later renamed themselves Simple Minds; the song "The Cocteau Twins" was also re-penned as "No Cure."

27
18 49
Right Said Fred is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Bernard Cribbins' single by the same name

28
13 31
After Forever is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
punksnotdead added after Black Sabbath's 'After Forever'

29
13 33
Stiff Little Fingers is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
punksnotdead added after The Vibrators 'Stiff Little Fingers'

30
14 35
Ranker Video
Shinybeast added The Muffin Men after Frank Zappa song Muffin Man. 
The Muffin Men are a British band, based in Liverpool, England, which primarily plays the music of Frank Zappa and his band, The Mothers of Invention.

31
16 41
The Raveonettes is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Buddy Holly's "Rave On"

32
14 38
The Mountain Goats is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Yellow Coat"

33
7 30
ABC is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
punksnotdead added

34
15 41
Pretty Girls Make Graves is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after The Smiths song by the same name.

35
15 43
The Get Up Kids is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after The Cure's "Suburban Get Up Kids"

36
13 39
The Naked and Famous is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after The Presidents of the United States of America's "Naked and Famous"

37
11 42
Dum Dum Girls is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
after Iggy Pop's "Dum Dum Boys," as well as The Vaselines album Dum Dum