Unusual 1980s Band Names – How did they get them?
Above Photo: A poster for the 1960s cult film, Nightmare in Wax. (Disclaimer: the words ‘Frozen into zombies, doomed to unbearable horrors. People puppets at the mercy of a fiendish madman’ have absolutely nothing to do with the band or any members thereof)…
As mentioned in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out! I had the pleasure of playing bass in two of Liverpool’s most oddly named 1980s bands. The first, Pink Military Stand Alone, was apparently named after something Eric’s Club owner Roger Eagle had said in conversation.
The second was Pete Burns’ band, Nightmares in Wax. This was already the new name for the band, which was briefly, previously and colourfully named ‘Rainbows Over Nagasaki’.
Former guitarist Mick Reid said: “Even before we’d organised our first band rehearsal Pete Burns had decided he no longer liked the Rainbows name so he, keyboard player Martin Healy and myself visited the book department of Lewis’s city centre store looking for inspiration. Martin found the Nightmares name in a book about horror and sci-fi B-movies. I thought it daft, but was out voted two to one.”
Nightmares further changed its name to Dead or Alive, shortly after I left in 1980.
So I was recently interested to see an article about the naming of other 1980s bands, from which I’ve taken some that are mentioned in Bombed Out! and I’ve put a link to the full article at the end.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Named after a random headline from a US magazine (the “Frankie” in question referred to Frank Sinatra).
A Flock Of Seagulls
Taken from the lyrics to “Toiler on the Sea” by The Stranglers:
We ventured overland
Fought with the aliens
The young ones used their hands
Pointed the way to a flock
A flock of seagulls!
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
The name was taken from the title of a song idea thought up by Andy McCluskey while still at school. The name was chosen so as not to be mistaken for a Punk band.
Named after early rock and roll American band the Platters’ song The Great Pretender.
Public Image Ltd
The band were named after a Muriel Spark novel, The Public Image.
The band’s name is a facetious tribute to the (in name only) Velvet Underground’s final album, released in 1973 and featuring none of the original band members.
Named after a song by reggae artist Prince Buster, called Madness.
Inspired by lyrics from David Bowie’s song “The Jean Genie”
“Hes so simple minded he can’t drive his module,
He bites on the neon and sleeps in the capsule”
Named after a character from the science fiction cult film, Barbarella (but also inspired by the Birmingham Punk and New Wave club of the same name). The character, played by Milo O’Shea, is named “Dr. Durand Durand”.
A surprisingly hardcore origin for the name of a musically softcore band. The name refers to Nazi War Crime hangings at Spandau Prison in Germany, where the victims would twitch and jump at the end of a rope, in a grisly death ballet.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
See the full article, with many more band names, here: http://flashbak.com/1980s-band-names-demystified-5893/