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July 02, 2006

A band in a name

A band in a name

For people forming bands, arriving at a name to collectively call the group is one basic, significant step. And while some opt to choose ‘dictionary’ words or phrases relating to them (or not), there are still those who officially call themselves simply via their birth certificate names/surnames or even that of another person. Well, these group acts must be aware of the "now a name, soon a legend" catchphrase and would like to get a try in making it happen by themselves.

There are two plausible reasons why a band calls themselves by a person’s name or surname. For one, a number of talented siblings have synergized into collective musical forces ever since, logically calling their bands by their pluralized surnames. Some duos or trios, on the other hand, rather chose their first names, while others, for impact purposes, pick other people’s names to come out with something catchy.

The other reason has something to do with the ‘front man phenomenon.’ This is when the name of the group’s center of attraction, the vocalist to be exact, becomes the very name of the troop. Here in the Philippines, current hot quartet Bamboo seemed to have gotten the lady luck smile when they decided to name themselves after their talented lead singer.

Here is a rundown of internationally acclaimed bands, trios and duos that were then just names, but now already legends (or ‘a flash in the pan’ at least) in the field of recorded music.

l Carpenters – The sister and brother tandem of Karen and Richard Carpenter is one of the ruling acts during the 1970s, having scored 12 Top Ten hits and three number one singles. Their first big hit was their second single "They Long To Be (Close To You) which helped them won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist of 1970. With Karen’s distinctive voice, they churned out more hits in the following years, including the songs "Top Of The World" and "Yesterday Once More." They produced their last album, "Made In America," in 1981 or two years before Karen died from cardiac arrest caused by anorexia nervosa.

l The Corrs – With attractive looks and exceptional musical skills, this girl-dominated Irish quartet has enchanted the world with their music and charm. The group is composed of sisters Andrea (vocalist), Caroline (drummer), and Sharon (violinist), plus their brother Jim (guitarist and keyboard player). They broke into the international scene when the American ambassador to Ireland invited them to perform during the 1994 World Cup in Boston. Some of their hits are "Runaway," "Breathless," and "Only When I Sleep."

l Peter and Gordon – Already a singing duo wayback in their days at London’s Westminster School for boys, Peter Asher and Gordon Waller found fame through the compositions written by Beatle Paul McCartney such as "I Don’t Want To See You Again" and "Nobody I Know." Peter’s sister Jane was Paul’s girlfriend during the height of Beatlemania – a perk that led to their becoming number one in the American charts with another McCartney-penned song called "A World Without Love." The two went separate ways in 1968, with Peter venturing into producing artists like James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

l Bon Jovi – One of the most recognized band front men in the world, Jon Bongiovi (now Bon Jovi) named his band after his surname which he respelled. He is said to have worked as a janitor at a recording studio in New York owned by his cousin Tony. It was there that Jon began recording demos and forming his own band with his high school friend David Rashbaum, along with bassist Alec John Such, drummer Tico Torres and, much later, Richie Sambora, the group’s controversial guitarist. Their breakout album "Slippery When Wet" was released in 1986 and, with the help of professional songwriter Desmond Child, spawned the hits "Living On A Prayer" and "You Give Love A Bad Name." In 2000, the group released "Crush," which sold eight million copies worldwide and produced their more recent hit "It’s My Life."

l Hanson – A trio of brothers named Isaac, Taylor, and Zac, the group popularized the teeny-bopper song "Hmmbop" in the ‘90s and in a way bumped with fame alongside another surname-named young band called the Moffats. The latter is of Canadian origin and boasts off a triplet: Clint, Dave, and Bob. Their big song "Life Is So Short" ignited rumors that the group members have died in an accident. Of course, that’s not true, as two of them have now mutated into a duo called "Same Same."

l Simon & Garfunkel – Singer-songwriter Paul Simon and his tenor partner Art Garfunkel is considered the most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s, with hits like the "Sound Of Silence," "Hazy Shade Of Winter," and "Mrs. Robinson." The two initially went by the name of "Tom & Jerry" back in their early recording days in 1957. They did end on a high note with the highly successful "Bridge Over Trouble Waters" album that included the moving title track and "The Boxer."

l Marilyn Manson – This dark, rocking group managed to decide on a heck of a name by getting the first name of an iconic model and the surname of an infamous cult leader. Marilyn Monroe was somehow the lady equivalent of James Dean while Charles Manson masterminded a killing spree (actress Sharon Tate was one of the victims) brought about by his belief that The Beatles’ White Album contains messages that call for destruction.

l Peter, Paul, and Mary – Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Traverse first burst into the music scene in 1962 with their self-titled LP that had "Lemon Tree" and "If I Had A Hammer" as singles. The latter track reached the Top Ten and earned for the trio Grammy Awards for Best Performance by a Vocal Group and Best Folk Recording.

l Alice Cooper – This name initially stood as a band name before its lead singer Vincent Damon Furnier adopted the name himself. The band has been known for their stage performance that usually employed an electric chair, fake blood and a guillotine.

l Dave Matthews Band – Vocalist and guitarist Dave Matthews is from South Africa who formed his band in the early 90s. The group independently released their debut album which sold well (Thanks to their country-wide tour that made them famous by word-of-mouth) while a couple of major label releases, "Under The Table and Dreaming" and "Crash" cemented their status as a big band. Some say the group was previously called as "Dave Matthews and his Band." But one time, the announcer introducing the band for a performance unintentionally shortened it. It stuck.

(source: www.heathenworld.com/bandname)

Posted by riesambo at July 2, 2006 08:15 AM