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The Best Bands Named After Songs

Updated August 29, 2019 4.5k votes 702 voters 21.5k views36 items

List RulesOnly 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. 

  • The Rolling Stones1
    after Muddy Waters' "Rolling Stone"
  • Judas Priest2
    after Bob Dylan's "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"
  • Radiohead3

    after Talking Heads's "Radio Head"

  • Motörhead4
    after Hawkwind's "Motorhead"
  • Deep Purple5
    after the Bing Crosby song "Deep Purple."
  • Black Sabbath6
    Originally called Earth, the band changed its name after it's own song of the same, which reflected the band's new musical direction
  • Rage Against the Machine7
    after the name of a song that Zack de la Rocha performed with his old band, Inside Out.
  • The Killers8
    after the name of the fictional band in the music video for the New Order song "Crystal"
  • Pretenders9
    Named after The Platters 1956 No.1 hit "The Great Pretender".
  • Lady Gaga10
    after Queen's "Radio Ga Ga"
  • Panic! at the Disco11
    from a line in Name Taken's "Panic"
  • Death Cab for Cutie12
    after Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's "Death Cab for Cutie" on their album Gorilla
  • Godsmack13
    after Alice in Chains' "God Smack"
  • Boyz II Men14
    after New Edition's "Boys to Men"
  • The Kooks15
    after David Bowie's "Kooks" from his album Hunky Dory
  • Silverchair16
    a misspelling of Nirvana's "Sliver" and You Am I's "Berlin Chair"
  • The Sisters of Mercy17
    A tribute to the Leonard Cohen song "Sisters Of Mercy" from his 1967 debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • The Raveonettes18
    after Buddy Holly's "Rave On"
  • Slowdive19
  • Cocteau Twins20
    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."
  • Pretty Girls Make Graves21
    after The Smiths song by the same name.
  • Icehouse22
  • The Chemical Brothers23
    This name came from a song they wrote under the name The Dust Brothers called "Chemical Beat."
  • Spoon24
    after the 1970s German avant-garde band Can's song "Spoon"
  • Ladytron25
    after Roxy Music's "Ladytron"