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Livewire's Top 10

What's in a name?
The Top 10 Coolest Band Names Ever


By Phil Bonyata

What's in a name? Everything - if you're one of the more than four billion people on earth. A name is a way in which a person is designated and distinguished from others. It's how the name rolls off the tongue and strikes our imagination upon release. A successful name is supposed to pull on one or more of a number of emotions - anger, reflection, sadness, happiness and most importantly humor. The utterance of a name can instantly conjure up memories (both good and bad) just like certain smells are able to do. The names band's come up with might take many hours of heated debate or merely fall into their laps winking and smiling. Some names go through an evolution of sorts (The Silver Beatles to The Beatles or Pogues Mahone to simply The Pogues). Many names have become iconic and have taken on lives of their own. Some band names have become cheaply imitated (The Dead Kennedys say hello to The Dead Lennons) because they broke new ground.
This is ConcertLivewire's take on the top 10 coolest band names ever. Oh, and this is probably the only top 10 rock music list anywhere in the known (and unknown) universe that has The Beatles nowhere in sight.

The Ramones10) The Ramones Seminal and groundbreaking New York punkers The Ramones made it official when all the band members took on Ramone as their surname. What they didn't know was that they just created the household name for punk. Without The Ramones there never would have been The Clash or Sex Pistols.
Rage Against the Machine9) Rage Against the Machine What better name for a band who proudly wore it's politics brightly on it's sleeve. Rage's fierce brand of an uncompromising blend of punk-fused hard rock and politically-charged rap only helped to brand their name as one of violent social change. As lead singer Zack De La Rocha once said "Fucking drink up or fucking wake up!"
Butthole Surfers8) Butthole Surfers The Austin, Texas natives used loping melodies, wailing guitar and heavy-metal riffs to help showcase their explicit brand of humor. Their catalogue is as zany and irreverent as their name (which incidentally comes from an early song about beach transvestites).
Velvet Underground7) Velvet Underground The name bleeds New York cool. The band was lost in a future time warp and way ahead of it's time. They created the most adventerous brand of avent garde rock with social realism and sexually explicit lyrics that the '60s was never ready for.
...Trail of Dead6) And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead The name describes what the band leaves in their wake after performing their dense, terrifying and anarchic live performances. It's a world rife with post-punk apocalyspe and their name dares you to listen.
The Sex Pistols5) The Sex Pistols Burning bright like a short lived meteor - The Sex Pistols flamed their noses at convention with their sexually animalistic anarchy. The name has what everyone is consumed with - sex and violence. Whether you want to admit it or not.
Talking Heads4) Talking Heads The Talking Heads created some of the most intelligent and highly original art rock of the late '70s and throughout the '80s. Their unique form of expression was the exact opposite of their name. But dealing with conflicts of thought and reason were as ordinary to the Heads as small talk in the aisles of Wal-Mart are to you and I.
The Who3) The Who What makes The Who such a great name is in the context of when it was created. In 1963 the name was original and irreverent and in 2006 it's still original and irreverent.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre2) The Brian Jonestown Massacre The name is a marriage of lead singer Anton A. Newcomb's rock idol - former Rolling Stone's guitarist Brian Jones and the 1978 suicide/murder tragedy of 408 of "The People's Temple" cultists in the jungles of Guyana. The band, only 10 years old has gone through 40 members to date. Built on the musical soundscapes of the '60s (they play all vintage equipment) the band is notorious for fighting on stage and inciting riots at clubs. The band's name rings loudly with death and tragedy.
The Dead Kennedys1) The Dead Kennedys The name "The Dead Kennedys" was created to offend the establishment. Bleeding with originality and simplicity and taking aim at conventions - the name remains one of the most creative ever. Their unitelligent and brutal style of punk was manifested in such classic albums as In God We Trust Inc., Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables and the seminal Frankenchrist.

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