Groove to The Band Name Origin Quiz!


By: Olivia Cantor

7 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Some band names sound weird, or at the very least, they make us stop and think. With some bands, that's sometimes the whole point. With others, it's a bit more involved. Take the band name origins quiz and find out a little bit more about the bands we listen to.

The heavy metal band __ Sabbath took its name from a horror movie. What color is featured in its name?

The Black Sabbath blokes were so amazed that people were paying a movie house to be frightened by the “Black Sabbath” movie, that they decided to take the name for themselves. They would go on to scare conservatives and excite fans with their music.


Guns N' ___ is one of the most famous bands in the past decades. The band members mixed up the names of their originating bands to form this band’s name. What flower is featured in their name?

Guns N' Roses is a tribute name of sorts. The members are from two famous Los Angeles bands, L.A. Guns and Hollywood Rose. They were fronted by guitarist Tracii Guns and singer Axl Rose, respectively. Some shuffling happened, and so the name Guns N' Roses came out for this super band.


The name Backstreet Boys can give the idea of punks and criminals. But the truth is, they took it from a flea market in Florida. What’s another name for a flea market?

The Backstreet Boys weren’t the bad boys from the other side of the tracks. If anything, their name makes it look like they were community-minded performers.


The Beach Boys are the band that highlighted great voices and mellow melodies, coming up with summer vacation hits that are still being played on the beach. Which beach activity did they sing about as they rode the wave of popularity?

"Surfin'" had been pressed, and the label wanted the hipper name "The Beach Boys" on it, to ride on the surfing craze. The band, which had been named the Pendletones, just ran with the name, and the rest is history.


Lady Antebellum so loved the architecture of some houses they had visited, that they decided to call themselves after the design, which was seen in pre-war Confederate houses. In what part of the United States were the houses located?

Antebellum architecture applies to pre-Civil War houses. The band liked the look of the houses so much, they named themselves after it!


There's talk that the Beatles were known as the Silver Beatles earlier in their career, but it still begs the question: Why did they use the name "Beatles"?

The Beatles really idolized Buddy Holly and even played some of his songs in their early live sets. They wanted to have a name close to the theme of Buddy Holly's band: the Crickets. As for the misspelling, some people say it was because of the "beat" for which the Beatles' songs were known.


When rocker Jon Bongiovi needed a name for a band, someone suggested that he just go for a two-word band name. What’s the name of his band?

Lead singer Jon was advised that breaking his last name in two would make for a catchy band name, and it looks like that was the right thing to do! Bon Jovi would go from glam rock to pop, and even country, with that simple, two-word name.


Stewart Copeland had a band name supposedly loosely based on his dad being a CIA agent. However, the band didn’t really come together until Sting and Andy Summer joined. What was the name of this band?

The Police was Stewart Copeland’s idea, though Sting is probably the most famous among the members. An alternate theory on their band name suggests that Stewart liked how “Police” looked on the side of a squad car.


Where other bands would have wilted when their first songs were criticized, Daft Punk capitalized on the attacks. From where did they get their name?

Back when Daft Punk was still known as Darlin’, their early work was called “a daft punky thrash.” They were depressed, true, but they got even by using the insult as their new band name, and becoming mega-successful.


Chris Cornell’s original band was named Soundgarden, taken from an art piece in one of the parks in their city, which made a lot of sounds depending on the wind. From which rainy, coffee-loving city did the band originate?

Soundgarden was one of Seattle’s leading bands in the grunge era. They were known for being more on the metal side of the movement.


Rage Against the Machine is all about protest and hard-hitting rock and rap music, combined. The name comes from an old song that singer Zack had for his former band. But what is the machine that they are raging at?

Rage Against the Machine is a rare case of a successful political band, as they question authority with loud music and shocking lyrics. It's perfect: make your money and complain about the system!


Green Day’s band name origins aren’t so much punk as California. What did the name mean?

"Green Day" was a local term in the Bay Area for spending a whole day smoking marijuana. Legend has it that singer Billie Joe Armstrong retired the band’s previous name, Sweet Touch, in favor of Green Day.


Why is the band Chvrches spelled like that?

Chvrches must have a pragmatic view of how people search for bands. Their name has been purposely misspelled so they will be easy to find in Google searches. There have been other reasons that led to the decision, but so far, their Google savvy is the most believable.


Nirvana was the highest spiritual level, where you can be one with everything. Kurt Cobain liked the idea behind the name a lot, and pushed for it to be the name of the now-famous band. How did he describe its meaning to his band mates?

Nirvana singer and songwriter Kurt Cobain was the one who suggested the name to his band mates. The term meant​ going past suffering by finding yourself spiritually, something that may have fascinated Cobain.


Sometimes pop culture and kids’ fare are the best for picking out band names. From which famous family-centered cartoon series did Fall Out Boy take its name?

Fall Out Boy took the name from a super hero character in the Simpsons universe, Fallout Boy. He was the sidekick of Radioactive Man, a fictional comic book character within the cartoon series. That character has had a few appearances after being introduced.


The Chainsmokers are famous for their catchy songs, but they’re not chainsmokers, really. But they are smart about the Internet. Why did they use the name The Chainsmokers?

One of the big reasons why they used the name is that the chainsmokers was a unique, cool name for a website. You’ve got to give them props for their online marketing skills!


U2 is one of the biggest bands in the world. What does their name mean?

Leave it to U2 to make even their short name a philosophical thing. Apparently, Bono and company have said that it's about interacting with the audience - you, too! U2 sounds much cooler.


Most bands want to sound mysterious with their names. What's the mysterious idea behind the Foo Fighters’ name?

The Foo Fighters took their name from an old term in World War II, for unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. They were normally seen as bright balls of light or fire.


The Killers owe their name to music videos. What band gave them the idea for their name?

New Order's music video for their song, "Crystal" had a band named The Killers. And that's how The Killers got their name. You could say they were a fictional band that became real.


Sometimes equipment failure can lead to a wonderful band name. How did DJ and electronic music legend, deadmau5, figure out his “band name”?

After finding a dead mouse in his PC, deadmau5 figured that the incident would make for a good moniker or “band name.” The DJ character known as deadmau5 was born!


Linkin Park was the band that crossed pop, rock, metal, and hip-hop to make a market-friendly sound. From where did they get their somewhat presidential name?

Linkin Park's name is taken from Lincoln Park in Santa Monica, California. A few letter changes in the name made for good copyright and online domain name purposes.


Paramore supposedly got their name from an old band mate's middle name. It sounded cool already, but what made it cooler to them was that it sounded like “paramour.” What the heck is a paramour?

The idea of a secret lover - a paramour, in French - and all the forbidden ideas attached to that, probably appealed to the band. So they took on the soundalike name, Paramore.


Aerosmith are kings of American Rock. Joey Kramer supposedly had the name in mind for a long time. Once the chance came up, he offered the name to the band. The other guys like the "aero" part of it. How come they liked that part of the name?

The boys in Aerosmith weren't too hot on the name at first, but they liked how the "aero" part of the name could describe how their music had that lifting, flying, soaring effect.


Death Cab for Cutie has one of the more unusual names for a band, and, no surprise, they took it from someone else's song title. What does the name describe?

Death Cab for Cutie's name was taken from an old song by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. And they took it from a tabloid article they read - about a car accident.


The popular heavy metal band Metallica didn’t just stumble onto a perfect name. It was ready to print, but someone changed their mind. For what was the name originally intended?

Lars Ulrich's friend was choosing between "Metallica" and another name for a magazine. When Metallica was discarded, Lars chose it for the band.


No Doubt was named after a favorite expression of an ex-band mate of singer Gwen's brother. Who is Gwen's brother?

Gwen Stefani’s brother, Eric, had a friend who loved saying “no doubt” as a figure of speech. When the friend, John Spence, passed away, they kept the name.


Depeche Mode’s name was inspired by a fashion magazine of the same name. What language is Depeche Mode’s name in?

Depeche Mode named themselves after a French fashion magazine, which is funny given that they started out as electronica geeks. As they grew older, though, they would fit right into some fashion magazines in the way they dressed up.


The Script was a band in L.A., and they kept on calling each other, asking “what’s the script?” After all, they were in the movie capital of the world. But as a band, what, for them was a "script?”

The Script boys figured that since songs were stories, calling themselves The Script would be a good idea.


A muse is a spirit that influences people in the arts. The band mates in Muse first heard of it in their town. What did the musically inclined townspeople believe?

While Muse front man Matthew Bellamy believes that the name looks good on posters and merchandise, the band also says that many people in their hometown believed a muse lived there.


Aside from being a pop music juggernaut in their time, ABBA also had a great, short name. How did they come up with it?

ABBA, while being a wonderfully short and memorable name, is also the initial letters of the members' names. Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Anni decided that the simplest way to get a band name was to use theirs. It makes sense, but also makes it harder to have new members.


Why did Freddie Mercury suggest the name Queen for the band he was in?

Say what we will about how flamboyant Freddie Mercury was, his idea for the name "Queen" wasn't just about pomp and circumstance. It was about how strong and regal royalty was. And that's how he wanted Queen to sound.


Heavy metal band Iron Maiden has one of the best names in classic heavy metal, combining the tender idea of a young girl with the basic name of a common metal. But what was an Iron Maiden?

An iron maiden is a medieval torture device. It looks like a very small walk-in closet with spikes on the inside. Being put in one was like becoming a human pin cushion. It gets its name from the fact that the decoration outside had a female face, making it look like a pharaoh's casket.


R.E.M. stands for Rapid Eye Movement, but according to Michael Stipe, the lead singer, it was a random thing. From what book do you think they got the name?

The way Michael Stipe says it, they just opened a dictionary and picked the first term they saw. So yes, R.E.M. means rapid eye movement, but no, it doesn't mean a thing. That's like losing one's religion!


Some people think that pop girl band Haim may have gotten its name from the Jewish term, which means “Life.” But where did the name really originate?

Este, Danielle, and Alana are all sisters whose last name is Haim. They’re all music veterans, having performed in a family band named - not kidding - Rockinhaim since they were very young.


Green Jelly chose the name because they felt that color of gelatin had the worst flavor. Why did they have to slightly change their name?

Kraft Foods, who owned Jell-O, was not amused that a band was using their name. The band had to change the name to avoid a lawsuit. Maybe they should have tried an exchange sponsorship deal.


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