What's in a band name -- The inspiration for monikers like The B-52's, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and 10,000 Maniacs

Duuuude, thought of any names for our band yet?”

”Don’t know, man. Just read about this totally excellent group Pearl Jam, though. The lead singer had this grandmother, and she had this secret recipe for hallucinogenic preserves. Her name was Pearl. Pearl Jam — get it? Wanna hear some other band-name origins?”


The B-52’s Southern nickname for the sort of bouffant ‘dos sported by the band’s female members.

Doobie Brothers California slang for a marijuana joint.

Duran Duran Character in Jane Fonda’s 1968 camp classic, Barbarella.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood Tabloid headline at the start of Sinatra’s film career.

Hammer In honor of his baseball idol, ”Hammerin”’ Hank Aaron.

Jane’s Addiction After a Los Angeles prostitute who helped the band early in its career.

Jefferson Airplane A paper match split at one end and used to hold a marijuana joint.

Jethro Tull 18th-century agriculturist and inventor of the ”seed drill.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd Mangling of the name Leonard Skinner, a gym teacher at the band’s Jacksonville, Fla., high school and legendary antagonist of long-haired students.

10,000 Maniacs Derivation from the ’50s B-movie title 2,000 Maniacs.

UB40 Number on the United Kingdom’s unemployment benefits form.