5 Mungo Jerry
You may not remember who Mungo Jerry is right away, but you definitely know their biggest hit. It’s that song you hear at every tiki bar you’ve ever been to, the one that goes: “In the summertime, when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch sky. When the weather’s fine, you’ve got women, you got women on your mind.” Yeah, those guys! Well, their strange name is actually taken from a T.S. Eliot poem, even though it sounds more like what the locals call the twitchy homeless guy that lives under the pier. If you’re on the beach in the summertime, be wary of crazy old Mungo Jerry, or he’ll stab you with a broken Coke bottle.
4 Death Cab for Cutie
This may be the most random one of them all. It’s not that Death Cab for Cutie isn’t kind of a fun name, the issue is more that it’s pretty misleading. When you first hear their name, their particular style of music isn’t exactly what comes to mind. Death Cab for Cutie sounds like a raging, screaming, hardcore metal band, not a gentle, catchy indie-rock quartet from coastal Washington. The explanation of their odd name is fittingly odd too, as they named themselves after a song by the equally strangely named comedic rock group, the “Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.”
3 Stone Temple Pilots
The name Stone Temple Pilots sounds like what someone would come up with while trying to put three random words together to form a catchy name. And guess what, it was. This group was formerly called “Mighty Joe Young,” but had to change it when they found out another artist already went by that name. Inspired by the “STP” motor oil sticker, they threw out random combinations and eventually settled on the Stone Temple Pilots. And if the logic of this process sounds to you like that of a person on a whole lot of drugs, just remember their lead singer is Scott Weiland.
2 Hootie & the Blowfish
Hootie & the Blowfish is definitely odd, but it’s also memorable, which probably served the band quite well. The biggest problem being that if you don’t want people to think your name is Hootie, and that your bandmates are the Blowfish, it’s probably not the way to go. The name of this ‘90s pop-blues/rock combo is actually a reference to the nicknames of two of their mutual friends, but has ultimately led to lead singer Darius Rucker forever having to endure screams of “Hootie!” and “Where the hell are the Blowfish?!” as he tries to enjoy a nice Sunday walk with the family.
1 Pearl Jam
What the hell is a Pearl Jam anyway? If you ask lead singer Eddie Vedder, he’ll happily give an explanation, just don’t expect it to be true. Over the course of his career, Vedder has offered several different stories just to mess with people, including a claim that the band is named after his great grandmother, whose Native American husband had a recipe for a hallucinogenic jam made with peyote. Not true. And while it might sound like it, it’s also untrue that their name is a euphemism for sperm. One thing that’s true, though, is that they used to go by “Mookie Blaylock,” in honor of the former NBA All-Star. So yeah, they’re just weird all around.
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