25 Of the Most Absurd Band Names — and Where They Came From

Most hardcore Alice Cooper fans would know the meaning of the name "Alice Cooper," while others would just assume that “Alice Cooper” is the mascara-wearing man’s real name. What about some of the world’s other greatest bands? I won't lie...most of these bands will probably be truer to my taste, but I’ll try to include some post-70s bands to please the younger audience. Don’t see your favorite band? Click here for more information.

1. Led Zeppelin

Zeppelin is another name for a blimp. The name comes from when the Who's drummer Keith Moon explained to Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, that the group's music would "go over like a lead balloon." The band spelled “led” so people would pronounce it correctly.

2. The Doors

Originally called the “Psychedelic Rangers,” The Doors got their name from a William Blake quote (Jim Morrison was a pretty big poet as well) which said, “If the doors of perception were to be cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”

3. The Beatles

Apparently a play on Buddy Holly’s Crickets, the original bassist of the band, Stuart Sutcliffe, came up with the idea to use beetle. The band later moved on to be called “The Quarrymen and the Silver Beetles,” and then, they went on to experiment with different versions of “Beetle” with an “A,” including  “Beatals,” “Beetals,” “Silver Beetles,” “Silver Beatles,” and finally resting on “Beatles.” 

4. Queen

Freddie Mercury chose the name since he was obsessed with royal queens as well as drag queens.

5. The Rolling Stones

Brian Jones came up with the name after the Muddy Waters song “Rollin’ Stone.”

6. The Who

While the members were testing out band names, Pete Townshend, who was deaf, kept asking, “The Who?” After so many times, the name stuck.

7. AC/DC

Meaning “Alternating Current/Direct Current,” a band member saw the letters on a sewing machine and decided to keep it. AC/DC, in their early years, came to realize it also was slang for bi-sexual, causing for the band to explain their meaning. A rumor also surfaced claiming it stood for. “Anti-Christ Devil’s Children.”

8. Jefferson Airplane

While rumors claim the name came from the slang word for using a clip to keep a cannabis joint from burning your fingers, Jorma Kaukonen claims the name came from a friend of his who called him Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane, as a joke for Blind Lemon Jefferson. When the band was trying to get a name, Kaukonen offered this and the name stuck.

9. The Animals

Due to their wild behavior, people began calling them the animals. 

10. Black Sabbath

Originally called Earth (they even released an album as Earth before changing their name), Ozzy was watching Black Sabbath, a 1963 Boris Karloff film and took the name from there.

11. Sex Pistols

Malcolm McLaren owned a clothing shop called “Sex” in London and he told his customers Paul Cook and Steve Jones they would make a great band if they partnered up with his assistant Glen Matlock. 

12. Creedence Clearwater Revival

The name came from a logo the band members saw on an Olympia beer can, even though their first label called them the Golliwogs.

13. ZZ Top

The rumor is the name combined two cigarette rolling papers, Zig Zag and Top, but the name actually comes from a blues player in Texas called ZZ Hill. 

14. Alice Cooper

Vincent Furnier (the mascara guy, not actually named Alice Cooper) was playing on a Ouija Board when he claims he spoke to a spirit named Alice Cooper.

15. Pink Floyd

Doing various shows with various different names, the band performed at a show as The Tea Set, only to discover there was another band there with the same name. Syd Barrett suggested The Pink Floyd Sound after blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. The band swung back and forth between The Pink Floyd Sound and The Tea Set until they chose The Pink Floyd Sound. They eventually dropped the sound but still kept “the,” and it is unclear when they dropped it since the band's first two albums have them listed as “The Pink Floyd.”

16. Ramones

Inspired by Paul McCartney’s name as Paul Ramone when The Beatles were called The Silver Beatles, Douglas Colvin took the last name and the band members began to follow, making themselves not only a band, but a family. 

17. Van Halen

The band wanted to be called Mammoth but had to change after they realized another band had taken that name. Instead they took the last name of guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen. 

18. Foreigner

Since Mick Jones was from Britain, he started the band in New York as a foreigner.

19. Lynyrd Skynyrd

“One Percent” and “Noble Five” were the original names of the band until band members Gary Rossington and Bob Burns remembered their gym teacher Leonard Skinner, who punished them for having hair longer than their collar.

20. Aerosmith

Joey Kramer wrote the word all over his high school notebooks in school.

21. Kiss

The band denies that the name is an acronym for “Knights in Satan’s Service” and according to Paul Stanley, the name was meant to sound dangerous and sexy

22. Steppenwolf

Originally called Sparrow, the name Steppenwolf came from Hermann Hesse’s book Steppenwolf, which Gabriel Mekler loved. 

23. Guns N’ Roses

The name came from Axl Rose’s and Tracii Guns’ names. Axl Rose’s name was actually William Bruce Rose Jr., and he legally changed his name to Axl after his previous band AXL. Tracii Guns was born Tracy Ulrich and changed his name to Tracii Guns after his band, L.A. Guns. 

24. The Byrds

Heavily influenced by The Beatles, the band was originally set on The Jet Set until the members had Thanksgiving dinner. There, they tried to stay as close to the flying theme as possible while maintaining The Beatles connection.

25. Eagles

First called Teen King and then The Emergencies, the band ended up sticking with the Eagles since they were heavily influenced by The Byrds.