"The Band" is probably the cleverest of them all in a minimalist Zen sense. "Yes" also scores points for having a Karmic purity that reflects the group’s positive music. And I dare anyone to find fault with the witty double entendre of "Cheap Trick."
Others, however, aren’t quite as lucky. Every time I see the name "Kiss" I’m reminded of what one wag once wrote: that they would’ve called themselves "Blow Job" if they could’ve gotten away with it. And let’s not forget that "Sparks" used to be called "Halfnelson" and that they would’ve been called "The Sparks Brothers" had their record company gotten its way.
But if you think that’s bad, how fitting it is that the greatest rock band in history has the dumbest rock band name in history? Because if you stop and think about it, as names go, "The Beatles" is just senseless beyond belief. It’s bad enough that they decided to call themselves the "beetles" to play off Buddy Holly’s "Crickets," but putting that "a" in there is what really elevates an already inane name into the kitsch stratosphere of eye-rolling bad puns.
What’s even scarier is that they chose "The Beatles" before they became drug addicts. The mind convulses at what they might have called themselves after chewing acid or spiking skag.
Of course, the absolute ironic topper of them all is that the best group with the worst group name is also the first group to have a band name logo. And not just any band name logo, mind you, but a brilliantly designed one that would go on to become the most famous band name logo in the world. One that, in the ultimate cool move, they never used on a single album cover.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, my own pick for fave musical moniker belongs to the gents who backed Little Richard. Across the board, on all counts, "The Upsetters" is the greatest rock ’n’ roll band name ever.
Hey, it’s better than "The Rolling Stones."
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The Stooges — The Weirdness (Virgin) :: Album of the year.