The stories behind 25 band names

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The stories behind 25 band names

The Clash's name came to bassist Paul Simonon when he was reading the paper and kept noticing the word 'clash' cropping up in news reports. Prior to that, the band had considered calling themselves either The Weak Heartdrops or The Psychotic Negatives. Photo: PA Photos

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The stories behind 25 band names

Guns N' Roses is an elision of two earlier band names, LA Guns and Hollywood Rose. The latter band were named after their frontman, Axl Rose. LA Guns were a rival Hollywood band, whose guitarist Tracii Guns left to form Guns N' Roses, but was later replaced by Slash. Photo: PA Photos

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The stories behind 25 band names

Long rumoured to be a reference to scoring cocaine, Snow Patrol is the third moniker Gary Lightbody's band have gone under. Originally formed in 1994 as Shrug, they became Polar Bear the following year, before settling on Snow Patrol in mid-1997.

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The stories behind 25 band names

CSS is an acronym for Cansei de Ser Sexy, literally "I got tired of being sexy" in Portuguese. The Brazilian band supposedly took their name from a quote by Beyoncé, although no-one has ever tracked down an interview in which she said this. Photo: Tom Oxley

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The stories behind 25 band names

The Ting Tings are named after a Chinese former shop assistant colleague of singer Katie White's. The band have experienced much success in Japan, and were perturbed to discover that their name means "small, cute penis" in Japanese. Photo: Dean Chalkey

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The stories behind 25 band names

Until they were signed in 1991 by EMI, Radiohead were known as On A Friday. The name-change was suggested by a label representative, who took the name from a song on Talking Heads' 'True Stories' album. Although it was not their idea, Radiohead grew to love the name - Thom Yorke has said that it encapsulates some of the ideas about alienation and cultural sterility dealt with on 'OK Computer'.

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The stories behind 25 band names

Coldplay's name was donated by them by a fellow student at UCL, who had been using it for his group but didn't want it anymore because he found it too depressing. Had he not given up the name, Coldplay might have been called Starfish or Stepney Green. Interesting fact: Keane's Tim Rice-Oxley also studied at UCL - in fact, he was invited to join the fledgling Coldplay, but turned the offer down. Photo: Tom Oxley

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The stories behind 25 band names

Led Zeppelin were known as The New Yardbirds until October 1968, when they changed their name, inspired by a sarcastic comment by The Who's Keith Moon, who predicted the supergroup would "Go over like a lead Zeppelin". At the suggestion of manager Peter Grant, the 'a' was dropped from 'lead' in a bid to prevent "thick Americans" from pronouncing it 'leed zeppelin'.

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The stories behind 25 band names

Bloc Party only settled on their name after labouring under a number of different monikers, including Superheroes Of BMX and Diet. They eventually chose Bloc Party, but have denied any links to the Eastern Bloc or the Canadian political party Bloc Québécois. According to guitarist Russell Lissack, "It doesn't mean anything. It was simply the only name we didn't all instantly hate."

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The stories behind 25 band names

Friendly Fires are named after a song by the cult post-punk band Section 25. â

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The stories behind 25 band names

As befits their 8-bit sound, Crystal Castles take their name from an Atari arcade game released in 1983, a commercial for which stated: "Crystal Castles, the source of all power." It can hardly be called nostalgia though, since vocalist Alice Glass wasn't born until five years after the game came out. Photo: Tom Oxley

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The stories behind 25 band names

Franz Ferdinand are named after the Austrian Archduke whose assassination sparked the international crisis that led to the First World War. The band chose the name predominantly because they liked the alliterative sound of it, although in an early interview drummer Paul Thomson said: "I like the idea that, if we become popular, maybe the words Franz Ferdinand will make people think of the band instead of the historical figure."

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The stories behind 25 band names

White Lies ditched their original name Fear Of Flying in October 2007. When asked about the name change in an interview with a radio station in San Francisco, vocalist Jack Brown said: "We just thought that we should perform these songs as a different band. We had songs that we felt weren't suitable for the band that we were in and we thought White Lies would be the perfect vehicle for the songs."

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The stories behind 25 band names

Formerly known as Rain, it was Liam Gallagher who suggested the name Oasis, inspired by an Inspiral Carpets tour poster which hung in the Gallagher brothers' bedroom. One of the venues the poster listed was the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon. Photo: PA Photos

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The stories behind 25 band names

Originally calling themselves Klaxons (Not Centaurs) before dropping the bit in brackets, Klaxons were inspired by a quote from Filippo Tommaso Marinettiâ

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The stories behind 25 band names

The Rolling Stones took their name from from the Howlin' Wolf blues song 'Rolling Stone' - Keith Richards was a fan of the version recorded by Muddy Waters. Photo: PA Photos

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The stories behind 25 band names

In their earliest incarnation Nirvana went through a series of names, including Skid Row, Pen Cap Chew, and Ted Ed Fred. They finally settled on Nirvana (meaning a state of ultimate bliss) in early 1988. Cobain explained the choice thus: "I wanted a name that was kind of beautiful or nice and pretty instead of a mean, raunchy punk rock name." Photo: PA Photos

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The stories behind 25 band names

Black Sabbath were originally formed as a heavy blues-rock band named Earth. Gradually they began incorporating occult and horror-inspired lyrics before changing their name to Black Sabbath - taken from a '60's cheap horror movie starring Boris Karloff, suggesting a holy day of witchcraft. Photo: PA Photos

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The stories behind 25 band names

Noah And The Whale is a marriage of the title of one of the bandâ

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The stories behind 25 band names

NME Godlike Geniuses The Cure were originally known as Easy Cure. In 1977 they won a talent competition with the German label Hansa Records, and received a record contract - although no singles were released. After disagreements with the label, the contract was dissolved, which meant the band could no longer operate under the same name. Robert Smith subsequently shortened it to The Cure.

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The stories behind 25 band names

Death Cab For Cutie named themselves after a song written by Neil Innes and Vivienne Stanshall and performed by their group the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in the Beatlesâ

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The stories behind 25 band names

Like Radiohead, Blur renamed themselves at the suggestion of their record label. They started out as Circus, before a line-up change encouraged them to switch to Seymour. After being signed to Food Records, label boss Andy Ross drew up a list of suggested names. Blur was one, Whirlpool was another. Photo: PA Photos

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The stories behind 25 band names

Kaiser Chiefs are named after the South African football club Kaizer Chiefs, for whom former Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe once played. The band are big Leeds United supporters. Kaizer Chiefs are one of the biggest teams on the African continent, with an estimated 16 million fans. Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem

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The stories behind 25 band names

Vampire Weekend take their name from an amateur film lead singer Ezra Koening made as a student. It centres around the young Ezra fighting off vampires while wearing a mask. You can watch it by Googling 'Vampire Weekend trailer'. It doesn't look very good. Trailer Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem

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The stories behind 25 band names

According to Mike D, Beastie Boys was originally an acronym standing for "Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Internal Excellence," and the initials B.B. were intended to mimic Washington DC hardcore punk band Bad Brains. However, other members of the band have suggested that these factors were afterthoughts.

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