Musicians The Best Bands Named After Songs  

Ranker Music
Originally by
2.9k votes 410 voters 13.5k 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. 


1
139 42
The Rolling Stones is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
The Rolling Stones Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk after Muddy Waters' "Rolling Stone"

2
97 38
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Black Sabbath Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal 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
81 43
Deep Purple is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Deep Purple Blues-rock, Classic rock, Heavy metal after the Bing Crosby song "Deep Purple."

4
63 32
Pretenders is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Pretenders New Wave, Rock music, Alternative rock Named after The Platters 1956 No.1 hit "The Great Pretender".

5
92 60
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

after Talking Heads's "Radio Head"

6
67 44
Motörhead is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Motörhead New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Rock music after Hawkwind's "Motorhead"

7
56 38
Judas Priest is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Judas Priest New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Power metal after Bob Dylan's "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"

8
68 48
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Rage Against the Machine Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop after the name of a song that Zack de la Rocha performed with his old band, Inside Out.

9
64 61
Icehouse is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
PaulCollins added Icehouse Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

10
68 62
Lady Gaga is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Lady Gaga Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music after Queen's "Radio Ga Ga"

11
52 52
Panic! at the Disco is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Panic! at the Disco Pop punk, Rock music, Emo from a line in Name Taken's "Panic"

12
44 49
The Killers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
The Killers Pop punk, Synthpop, New Wave after the name of the fictional band in the music video for the New Order song "Crystal"

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13
40 46
Godsmack is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Godsmack Nu metal, Groove metal, Rock music after Alice in Chains' "God Smack"

14
50 63
Boyz II Men is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Boyz II Men Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B after New Edition's "Boys to Men"

15
35 48
Death Cab for Cutie is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Death Cab for Cutie Indie pop, Emo, Alternative rock after Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band's "Death Cab for Cutie" on their album Gorilla

16
24 38
Silverchair is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Silverchair Synthpop, Grunge, Pop rock a misspelling of Nirvana's "Sliver" and You Am I's "Berlin Chair"

17
26 39
The Sisters of Mercy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
The Sisters of Mercy Gothic rock, Rock music, Alternative rock A tribute to the Leonard Cohen song "Sisters Of Mercy" from his 1967 debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen

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18
22 33
FireHouse is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
FireHouse Melodic Rock, Glam metal, Pop music named after Kiss's "Firehouse"

19
33 55
Ladytron is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Ladytron Synthpop, New Wave, Shoegazing after Roxy Music's "Ladytron"

20
23 42
The Kooks is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
The Kooks Indie pop, Pop music, Rock music after David Bowie's "Kooks" from his album Hunky Dory

21
17 33
Overkill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
punksnotdead added Overkill Thrash metal, Groove metal, Heavy metal after Motorhead's 'Overkill'

22
24 46
Mr. Big is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Mr. Big Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal after Free's "Mr. Big"

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23
17 39
Right Said Fred is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Right Said Fred Pop music, Dance-pop, Alternative rock after Bernard Cribbins' single by the same name

24
18 38
Spoon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Spoon Third-wave of ska, Garage rock, Alternative rock after the 1970s German avant-garde band Can's song "Spoon"

25
12 27
Ranker Video
Shinybeast added The Muffin Men Alternative rock, Jazz 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.

26
16 35
Cocteau Twins is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Cocteau Twins Shoegazing, Gothic rock, Ethereal wave 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
20 42
The Chemical Brothers is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
The Chemical Brothers Electronic music, Electronic dance music, House music This name came from a song they wrote under the name The Dust Brothers called "Chemical Beat."

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28
6 23
ABC is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
punksnotdead added ABC Synthpop, New Wave, Disco

29
12 32
The Mountain Goats is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
The Mountain Goats Folk rock, Urban Folk, Indie folk after Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Yellow Coat"

30
14 36
The Get Up Kids is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
The Get Up Kids Rock music, Emo, Alternative rock after The Cure's "Suburban Get Up Kids"

31
21 49
Blonde Redhead is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Blonde Redhead Noise rock, Shoegazing, Rock music after the DNA song "Blonde Redhead"

32
10 28
Stiff Little Fingers is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
punksnotdead added Stiff Little Fingers Punk rock after The Vibrators 'Stiff Little Fingers'

33
12 36
The Raveonettes is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
The Raveonettes Shoegazing, Rock music, Garage rock after Buddy Holly's "Rave On"

34
7 25
After Forever is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
punksnotdead added After Forever Progressive metal, Gothic metal, Power metal after Black Sabbath's 'After Forever'

35
10 34
The Naked and Famous is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
The Naked and Famous Indie pop, Synthpop, Shoegazing after The Presidents of the United States of America's "Naked and Famous"

36
10 36
Pretty Girls Make Graves is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Pretty Girls Make Graves Alternative rock, Art rock, Art punk after The Smiths song by the same name.

37
8 37
Dum Dum Girls is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Bands Named After Songs
Dum Dum Girls Indie pop, Indie, Dream pop after Iggy Pop's "Dum Dum Boys," as well as The Vaselines album Dum Dum