Once upon a time musical groups had self-explanitory names: The Carter Family, The Mills Brothers, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra; all fine examples of band names that are essentially descriptions. But at some point all that changed. At some point bands started picking a plural word and sticking the definitive article in front of it: The Inkspots, The Beatles, The Tornados, The Shangri-Las. Fast forward to now and we’ve had a gazillion bands with all manner of names: from the ordinary (Radiohead) to the exciting (Roxy Music). What’s my point? Well, there is none really, I’m just wondering which was the first group to ditch the descriptive name and go for something a bit more wild.
I’m guessing the naming process evolved from being stuff like Craig Robinson and The Flyin’ Flip Flops to just being The Flyin’ Flip Flops. Once that step was made, a band could just call themselves The Anythings. And once that step was made, a band could drop the The and the plural and just be some kind of object: Jefferson Flip Flop. After a few years of that, bands can just choose any old grunt and it can be their name: …And You Will Know Us By The Flyin’ Of The Flip Flops.
In general, though, band names aren’t getting better.
Of course there are exceptions, but really, band names are pretty shoddy these days. And it’s not just the The Bands (Killers, Kills, Thrills…), which seem to be in vogue, and I’m sure must’ve been documented to death in various places.
The ones that get me are bands that tell you nothing: Blur. Oasis. Keane. Radiohead. Coldplay. And I know from reading my trivia that Coldplay took their name from another band in their area with that name after they split up. If that’s the level of band name-aspiration that they have, there’s no wonder their lyrics are shit.
And there’s the other extreme: the stupid name bands (Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Gaye Bykers On Acid, etc.).
Worst of all, and I think it might be my most hated name ever, is the boy band A1. I assume it’s not named after a road that goes near to my hometown. I assume that the idea was to show how tip top grade A number 1 they were. Open the Yellow Pages, chaps: every campany that offers a taxi service, makes fences, sells washing machines, cuts keys, sells storage space: there’s an A1 EVERYTHING!
Oh why why why am I allowing a minor tinkle in pop music’s history to annoy me?
Maybe it’s because the thing I’m working on at the moment is an animation. I’m not enjoying doing it. I never really enjoy animating. It’s a tedious, dull process that only highlights the limitations of my skills by ending up as a pale facsimilie of the glorious fun-filled plan I saw in my head.
But, really… A1? I ask you…
And while I’m on the subject of names: since when has it been okay to be a banking and insurance company called Egg?