What's in a (Band) Name?
March 04, 2014
Recently, I was thinking about a conversation I had with a friend regarding concerts we had attended in our teens, and bands we had heard but never saw live. One band I didn't really discover until I was in my early 20s was Uriah Heep. At the time, my friend was talking about them. I realized I had heard some of their music, but didn't really know the band name. We were in his car and when I inquired, "Why do you think they named themselves after the Dickens character?," it was like that scene in the movie when the music suddenly stops and the brakes are slammed. It wasn't quite that dramatic, but my friend said, "What are you talking about?" "You know, the jerk character from David Copperfield." My friend looked at me blankly. Turns out, his familiarity with Dickens was about as good as my knowledge of 70s metal bands at the time.
I have since learned that there is a band called the Boo Radley's (To Kill a Mockingbird reference) and another group called Veruca Salt (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
Many people don't know these are bands who named themselves after literary characters. I find it fascinating that these musical groups made conscious decisions to give themselves these monikers. Perhaps, they want to keep the names in our social vernacular. Maybe, they just they sounded cool. But maybe... just maybe... they figured that the name would conjure up memories of some classic literature and encourage people to read a little more. Who knows. In the meantime, I'm going to try and download some music from another band I recently became familiar with - The Nerfherders (Empire Strikes Back anyone?).