Band Name Trends

Coming up with a band name is hard to do. All the good ones seem to have already been taken and the last thing you want to do is come up with something that coincides with a current band name trend.

Through the years there have been a handful of band name trends. Surprisingly the majority of which happened by accident and usually around the time the trend gets acknowledged, the trend has gotten over used and the novelty has already worn off. Here’s some examples of some trends through the years.

The “THE” trend (early to mid-2000s) – The White Stripes, The Datsuns, The Strokes, The Vines, The Exies

The “Add A Number” trend (mid ’90s – mid 2000’s) – Blink 182, Maroon 5, Eve 6, Matchbox 20

The “Three Words” trend (most of the 90s) – Stone Temple Pilots, 3 Doors Down, Third Eye Blind, Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth, Jars Of Clay, Wide Mouth Mason, (this was probably and still is one of the biggest band naming trends)

During that same period was also the “Three Words: Using the singer’s full name and band as the third word” trend. – Matthew Good Band, Dave Matthews Band…I even remember a period while the “THE” trend was building momentum Dave Matthews Band was occasionally referred to as THE Dave Matthews Band.

In the 80’s we saw the “Last Name As A Band Name’ trend – Bon Jovi, Winger, Dokken, Nelson, Slaughter, Van Halen.

Before that was the “Name Of A City” trend – Chicago, Toronto, Nazareth, Boston and even Chiliwack!

“One Word Names” trend – Tool, Tonic, Garbage, Creed, Live, Saliva, Bush

“One Word Names Spelt Wrong” trend – Korn, Jackyl, Skrape, Outkast, Staind

There are currently 2 trends out there right now, both of which I’m not a big fan of.

The “Double Name” trend. Mother Mother, Radio Radio, Attack! Attack! and Rah Rah. Do you think these bands just didn’t want to get caught in the “One Word Names” trend and said “I know…lets say the word twice”

The ‘No Vowels” trend. SWMRS, DNCE, MSTRKRFT even The Weeknd forget one of the vowels in his name. This also seems to be the new trend in names for restaurants and bars. (to my friends who have possibly inadvertently followed this trend, both bands and bars, I apologize…it was cool when you thought of it, but now everyone is doing it.)

It’s not that I don’t like either of these, to me they were both trends that popped up really fast, like if everyone just jumped on the trend bandwagon.

The other reason I’m not a fan of these trends is they just seem too easy. I can just see the band meeting “Hey, lets just take all of the vowels out of our name” “No, lets just pick a word and say it twice” Although when you look at all the trends over the years…most of them were probably inspired by the simplicity of the band name. “Lets just use your last name” “Lets just call ourself the name of the city we’re from” “Lets pick a word and number out of a hat and put them together” (Side note: I don’t know if those were the actual ways some of these names were thought up, this is a huge assumption on my part).

Similar to trying to think up a new password or come up with a new e-mail address, coming up with a band name is getting harder and harder to find something unique that hasn’t been used before. Soon we will probably start to see band names following the same naming rules as e-mail addresses and passwords. Must have 1 consonant, a number and a symbol or maybe Prince has it right when he switched his name to a symbol.



About thef3k

Danny Fournier is a marketing expert with over 15 years working within the music industry, including 5 years with a major label. With university degrees in both Marketing and Sociology, Danny brings a unique perspective to marketing with a strong understanding of the needs of the end user and how to engage them. Along with his music and business background, Danny has worked as a corporate trainer, facilitating and write courses for corporate audiences. Danny has been commended for his facilitation skills and understanding of adult learning.
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One Response to Band Name Trends

  1. Pingback: A Journal of Musical ThingsA Review of Trends in Naming Bands - A Journal of Musical Things

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