15 bands that named themselves after other people's songs

6 August 2023, 19:00

The Kooks - and the man that wrote "Kooks", David Bowie
The Kooks - and the man that wrote "Kooks", David Bowie. Picture: Louise Wilson/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Need a name for your band? Then why not take a look through the track listing of your favourite album...

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Finding an original band name is always tricky - surely all the best ones have been taken? Well, no - you can always take a look at the track list of your favourite album for inspiration.

Here are 15 bands that have used another artist's song title for their name - some famous, some rather obscure...

  1. The Kooks

    The Kooks in 2006:  Hugh Harris, Luke Pritchard, Paul Garred and Pete Denton
    The Kooks in 2006: Hugh Harris, Luke Pritchard, Paul Garred and Pete Denton. Picture: Louise Wilson/Getty Images

    The Brighton indie rockers named themselves after the 1971 David Bowie song Kooks - which is dedicated to the superstar's son, Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones.

    Kooks (2015 Remaster)

  2. The Ordinary Boys

    The Ordinary Boys in 2004: Preston, William Brown, James Gregory and Charlie Stanley.
    The Ordinary Boys in 2004: Preston, William Brown, James Gregory and Charlie Stanley. Picture: Richard Ecclestone/Redferns/Getty

    Morrissey's 1988 debut solo album Viva Hate had a song that gave some inspiration to Preston and co.

    Morrissey (the voice !) -The Ordinary Boys -

  3. Radiohead

    Radiohead in 1993: Ed O'Brien, Jonny Greenwood, Thom Yorke, Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway
    Radiohead in 1993: Ed O'Brien, Jonny Greenwood, Thom Yorke, Colin Greenwood and Phil Selway. Picture: Bob Berg/Getty Images

    Originally called On A Friday, Thom Yorke and his bandmates were told by their label to change their name - so they picked a song from the Talking Heads album True Stories, called Radio Head.

    Radio Head (2005 Remaster)

  4. Motörhead

    Motorhead in 1978: Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, Lemmy and "Fast" Eddie Clarke
    Motorhead in 1978: Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor, Lemmy and "Fast" Eddie Clarke. Picture: Estate Of Keith Morris/Redferns/Getty

    Lemmy decided to name his new heavy rock band after a track by his old band, Hawkwind. It was the last song that the musician wrote for the space rockers, before he was fired in 1975.

    Hawkwind - Motörhead - HD Promo Video

  5. Starsailor

    Starsailor in 2001: James Walsh, Barry Westhead, James Stelfox and Ben Byrne
    Starsailor in 2001: James Walsh, Barry Westhead, James Stelfox and Ben Byrne. Picture: Benedict Johnson/Redferns/Getty

    The great early 00s rock band were inspired by the folk balladeer Tim Buckley (father of Jeff) and the avant garde title track of his 1970 album of the same name.

    Tim Buckley - Starsailor

  6. Madness

    Madness in 1981: Chris Foreman, Lee Thompson, Mike Barson, Chas Smash, Suggs, Mark Bedford and Daniel Woodgate
    Madness in 1981: Chris Foreman, Lee Thompson, Mike Barson, Chas Smash, Suggs, Mark Bedford and Daniel Woodgate. Picture: Michael Putland/Getty Images

    Suggs and his ska-pop crew took their name from a song in their live set: a cover of Prince Buster's Madness.

    Prince Buster - Madness

  7. Sisters Of Mercy

    The 1987 line-up of Sisters Of Mercy: Patricia Morrison and Andrew Eldritch
    The 1987 line-up of Sisters Of Mercy: Patricia Morrison and Andrew Eldritch. Picture: Brian Rasic/Getty Images

    Sisters Of Mercy is the song that ends side one of Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen's 1967 debut album Songs Of Leonard Cohen. The name came in handy when Andrew Eldritch was looking for a name for his influential goth band in 1980.

    Leonard Cohen Sisters of Mercy

  8. Death Cab For Cutie

    Death Cab For Cutie in 2022: Nick Harmer, Chris Walla, Ben Gibbard and Michael Schorr
    Death Cab For Cutie in 2022: Nick Harmer, Chris Walla, Ben Gibbard and Michael Schorr. Picture: Wendy Redfern/Redferns/Getty

    Ben Gibbard's alt rock project took its name from a song by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, which appeared on their debut album Gorilla in 1967. This parody of rock 'n' roll crooners was performed by the Bonzos in The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour film.

    Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Death Cab For Cutie (DNAYS)

  9. Slowdive

    Slowdive in 1990: Neil Halstead, Christian Savill, Rachel Goswell, Nick Chaplin and Simon Scott
    Slowdive in 1990: Neil Halstead, Christian Savill, Rachel Goswell, Nick Chaplin and Simon Scott. Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

    The early 90s shoegazing stalwarts - who reformed in 2014 - were named after a track on Siouxsie & The Banshees' 1982 album A Kiss In The Dreamhouse.

    Siouxsie And The Banshees - Slowdive

  10. Ladytron

    Ladytron in 2000: Daniel Hunt, Mira Aroyo, Reuben Wu and Helen Marnie
    Ladytron in 2000: Daniel Hunt, Mira Aroyo, Reuben Wu and Helen Marnie. Picture: Andy Willsher/Redferns/Getty Images

    The Liverpool electronic quartet of Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo, Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu are named after the second track on Roxy Music's self-titled debut album from 1972.

    Roxy Music - Ladytron (Old Grey Whistle Test, 1972)

  11. Shakespears Sister

    Shakespears Sister in May 1992: Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit
    Shakespears Sister in May 1992: Siobhan Fahey and Marcella Detroit. Picture: Gie Knaeps/Getty Images

    Former Bananarama member Siobhan Fahey and singer-songwriter Marcella Detroit's duo was named after a 1985 single by The Smiths - itself named after a section of the book-length essay A Room Of One's Own by Virginia Woolf. The misspelling was a mistake when a friend tried to design a logo for the band, but the pair kept the error to make the name more distinctive.

    The Smiths - Shakespeare's Sister (Official Audio)

  12. The Rolling Stones

    The Stones in December 1963: Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger and Brian Jones
    The Stones in December 1963: Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger and Brian Jones. Picture: Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images

    Founding member Brian Jones had to come up with a name for his group of blues enthusiasts for an impending show at the Marquee in London in 1962. Luckily he had a copy of the 1959 compilation LP The Best Of Muddy Waters to hand and spotted the title Rollin’ Stone. They're still using the name 60 years later.

    Rollin' Stone

  13. Funeral For A Friend

    Funeral For A Friend in 2003
    Funeral For A Friend in 2003. Picture: Nigel Crane/Redferns/Getty

    The Welsh rock band took their name from a track by Illinois punk act Planes Mistaken For Stars on their 2001 debut album F**k With Fire. We should also mention that Elton John also included a song with that title on his 1973 classic Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

    Funeral for a Friend

  14. Pretty Girls Make Graves

    Pretty Girls Make Graves performing at Coachella festival in May 2004
    Pretty Girls Make Graves performing at Coachella festival in May 2004. Picture: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

    The Seattle-based post-punkers are named after a song on The Smiths' self-titled debut album from 1984.

    The Smiths - Pretty Girls Make Graves (Official Audio)

  15. Desperate Journalist

    Rob Hardy and Jo Bevan of Desperate Journalist performing in Manchester, October 2015
    Rob Hardy and Jo Bevan of Desperate Journalist performing in Manchester, October 2015. Picture: Jonathan Nicholson/NurPhoto/Getty

    A band named after a song that was never officially released? The London post-punk group took their name from a track played by The Cure in a John Peel session in May 1979. The song was essentially a Cure album track - Grinding Halt - with Robert Smith altering the lyrics to mock NME journalist Paul Morley's dismissive review of the band's debut album Three Imaginary Boys.

    The Cure - Desperate Journalist... (1979 05 16 Peel Session)

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