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The Beatles, Queen, Kiss… Discover stories behind the band’s names!

14. 03. 2019

Choosing the right name is not simple for a child nor a dog. And what about a band! While with naming your offspring can help you some literature with a band it’s not so easy. How did John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr come up with their insect name? And what does AC/DC mean? Let’s find out together!

“I had a vision when I was twelve, and I saw a man on a flaming pie, and he said “You are Beatles with an ‘a’,” and we are.”

This is how John Lennon replied to this eternal question once while giving an interview. Fans which know something about the lifestyle of Beatles might not find this explanation so improbable – those gentlemen were no strangers with drugs, but later John added another and official version.

When Beatles were at the beginning of their career, they were big fans of singer Buddy Holly and his band The Crickets. In that time, it was customary for bands to have very long names. But they wanted to be original, so they chose short “Beatles”. Those who excel in grammar know that the right spelling would be “Beetles”. Was their grammar so poor? Not at all. It is a language play. When John and his friends were looking for the right name, they were sure it needs to contain “beat” somehow. So, they adjusted the word “beetle”. It’s all about the beat! 😊

Years ago I thought up the name ‘Queen‘… It’s just a name, but it’s very regal obviously, and it sounds splendid…It’s a strong name, very universal and immediate…“

Those who have seen the movie Bohemian Rhapsody know that the band of Brian May and Roger Tylor was called Smile at first and Freddie  Mercury was just their fan. But of course, it was him who came up with the idea to rename the band from Smile to Queen and he hadn’t consulted it with anyone before their first album was released. And so, it was on the album cover where the rest of the band found out how they are called. May and Taylor never protested about it because they knew very well that Freddie would not accept any objection thanks to his unyielding character. And why Queen? In that time this word was understood in England as a name for a homosexual or a poser. Mercury claimed that he came up with this name by accident but are all the similarities with his personality really coincidence?


„And what about Kiss? “

Many people believe that the name of KISS was created from the acronym „Knights in Satan’s Service “, however, it is not true. Paul Stanley, one of the founding members, wished to have a name which would be ambiguous. At the start of the year 1973, all the founding members were driving through New York and it came up to the topic of Peter Criss’ former band called Lips. Stanley immediately got the idea of Kiss as a follow up to Lips. And it was a perfect choice since Kiss is ambiguous.  Is it a romantic kiss or death kiss? That’s up to you!


“Cherchez la femme”

What does AC/DC mean? Brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, the founding members of the band, have also a sister. Her name is Margaret and she used to like to sew. And it was her hobby which inspired her brothers. It got their attention that her sewing machine had the sign of AC/DC which is the abbreviation for alternative current/ direct current. If you don’t understand why they found this name so ingenious, try to remember some of their performances or recordings. They have drive, energy. Simply AC/DC.


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