Selecting a name is often one of the most difficult decisions in a band’s early existence.
Many acts choose to go the straightforward route by titling themselves after a member of the group, including Van Halen, Bon Jovi, the J. Geils Band, Dio and Dave Matthews Band. But what about those who were named after someone who wasn’t part of the lineup?
Below, we’ve highlighted 15 acts that were inspired by real-life people outside the group. The namesakes are as varied as the bands themselves. There are historical figures, inventors, professional athletes and even serial killers on our list.
In several instances, bands chose to pay homage to their influences. Such was the case for Pink Floyd, ZZ Top and the Hollies. In other examples, acts chose a friend or family member.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was famously named after a high school gym teacher who regularly sent the band’s members to detention. “He used to get us in trouble for having long hair in school,” co-founder Gary Rossington later told CNN. “[The hair] was just down to our eyebrows or touching our ears back in the ‘60s, but we liked the Beatles and we wanted to be a band so we tried to grow it long. But in gym class, he’d notice it shaking and stuff, kick you out to go get a haircut.”
More on that story and other bands who got their names from real people can be found below.
Rock Bands Named After Real People
The Rock Supergroups You Totally Forgot