As I mentioned last week during the first of a two-part whinge-fest about band names, we are likely to have the same disagreements over a band’s name as we do over their music. Names that I think are stoopid seem to work just fine for other folks. Now our friends at SPIN have come up with a list of the 40 greatest band names of all time. (Spoiler alert – I will be naming the #1 band name of all time momentarily, and expecting you to be as deflated as I was.)
First of all, SPIN’s list is full of righteous, rockin’ names. Television, for one. And as they perceptively note, this name would not be nearly as interesting if it were The Television. (Or even worse, The Televisions.) Bikini Kill is another name I’ve long admired. But come on… can you really say Motörhead is the greatest band name ever? Even Lemmy Kilmister, who coined the name, admitted he stole the unnecessary umlaut - that apparently transforms the name so magically – from Long Island’s own Blue Öyster Cult. If you’re so impressed by stray (and unpronounced) diacritical marks, why not just go with BOC, since they did it first? And of course Häagen Dazs goes right to the top of the Greatest Food Names of All Time.
Personally, I’d nominate “Mexican Radio” hitmakers Wall of Voodoo (whose name’s a killer combo of Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” production and zombie/apocalypse imagery), or The Cocteau Twins (somehow the name just fits their cool, watery, reflective sound), and, to get out of the 80s for a moment, Arcade Fire. (Now here’s a name that might even be improved with a “the.” Try it - The Arcade Fire. Sounds a little more dangerous, doesn’t it?)
Who would be on your list of greatest band names? Oh, and they’re already on SPIN’s list. The Who, I mean…