The Wild Honey Pie

SINGLE WORD BAND NAMES

August 3, 2010 No Comments

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Every three seconds, a new band is formed.  As you read this article, a total of 60 new bands will blossom into existence, and of those 60, nearly 66% will choose a one word moniker.  After extensive research on the topic, I’ve discovered that while one word band names are terrible for Google-ing, they are easy to remember, and give a listener a great first impression.  But why exactly have bands decided to shift from the oh-so-popular The ______s name to the single word form?  That’s a code I am attempting to crack.

Different decades brought different naming trends.  The 40s brought the very effective, very simple usage of the artist’s full name (i.e. Dizzy Gillespie, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra) and the big bands.  The 50s were a glorious time for _____ and the ____s names (i.e. Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps, Johnny and the Hurricanes, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Buddy Holly and the Crickets), an occurrence I predict will be prevalent in the next wave of band names.  The 60s brought us The ____s names such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The WhoThe Byrds, etc. which took a hold of the early 2000s with band such as The Killers, The Strokes, The Shins, The Used (ha), The Kooks, The Kinks, The Format, The Decembrists, and more (you get the point).  The 70s, 80s and 90s seemed to be all over the place with a collage of all the previous sort of names mentioned, yet the single word name became a phenomenon during this span of 30 years; an era that is oh-so-influencial in the world of indie music today.

We can all sigh a breath of relief now that band names are so easy to say.  One syllable (maybe two), and endless possibilities.  Tough on Google, easy on the memory.  WAVVES, GIVERS, YAWN, Neighbors, Jaill, Stars, Women, Girls, Suckers, BRAHMS, ARMS, WHY?, Gorillaz, etc. have all been able to capitalize from the hipness of the single word band name.  After googling the aforementioning band names into Google, I noticed that not all of them appear first in a search.  I like to think of the single word band name as a message that the bands are challenging the regular use of that word.  Will YAWN become more popular than the act of yawning?  Are Girls better than girls? ARMS more important than arms?

Equally important to the single word name is the use of the caps lock.  It’s a stylized trend that injects a bit of mystery into a bands name.  Do the letter actually stand for something?  We all love acronyms.  Not only did they help us study in college and high school, but they also hide the deepest/darkest secrets of our favorite bands.  Or not.

In a recent conversation with Daniel Perzan of the band YAWN, I asked for a reason behind his band’s name.  He simply stated, “we like it short and sweet. It’s also an acronym for our dad’s names.” I think that says it all.  This is most likely the reality of the current situation.  That and the thrill of competing against the regular usage of that particular band’s name on Google obvi.

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—–> Will you ever refer to yourself by just your first name, all in caps (i.e. ERIC) <—–

—–> What’s your favorite one word band name? <—–

—–> What will the next band name trend be? <—–


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