How Did the Band Get Their Name? British Edition

3 minute read

Have you ever wondered how bands come up their names? For example, who was called Tea Set? Why did Radiohead switch band names? In this first edition of How Did the Band Get Their Name, we’ll answer those questions, and give you the details on other well known British bands.


The band was originally called Starfish, while a friend's group was called Coldplay. When the other band no longer wanted their name, Starfish asked if they could use it instead. The original Coldplay had taken the name from a book of collected poems.

The Cure

Their original name, Easy Cure, was taken from the name of one of the group's early songs. The name was later shortened to The Cure because frontman Robert Smith felt the name was too American and "too hippyish."

Duran Duran

Duran Duran had played at Birmingham's Barberella's nightclub, and they ended up taking their name from the villain of the cult science fiction film, Barbarella--Dr. Durand-Durand.


The band evolved from an earlier group called The Rain. Unsatisfied with the vocalist (Chris Hutton), guitarist Paul Arthurs auditioned an acquaintance (Liam Gallagher) as a replacement. After Gallagher joined the group, the band's name was changed to Oasis, inspired by a venue where The Beatles had performed--the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd has performed under various names, including Tea Set. When the band found themselves on the same bill as another band with the same name, Syd Barrett (one of the founding members) came up with the alternative name The Pink Floyd Sound, after two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. For a while, they bounced between The Tea Set and The Pink Floyd Sound, with the latter name eventually winning out. The “Sound” portion of the name was dropped fairly quickly, but “The” was still used regularly until 1970.


Originally called Smile, singer Freddie Mercury came up with the new name for the band, later saying:

"Years ago I thought up the name 'Queen'… It's just a name, but it's very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid…It's a strong name, very universal and immediate. It had a lot of visual potential and was open to all sorts of interpretations. I was certainly aware of gay connotations, but that was just one face of it."


Radiohead, originally known as "On a Friday," was given two weeks to change their name after signing to Parlophone. The band renamed themselves after the 1986 Talking Heads song, "Radio Head" on the album True Stories, claiming it as the "least annoying song" from the album.

The Rolling Stones

The Stones named themselves after the Muddy Waters song, "Mannish Boy."


Naming themselves after their home district of Shepherd’s Bush, West London, Bush encountered issues abroad. In Canada, there was an existing band named Bush, so the band had to release their albums as Bush X. The copyright holder of the name in Canada, Domenic Troiano, eventually agreed to allow Bush to use the name in exchange for their donations to two Canadian charities.