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They're Called... WHAT?

Wikimedia Commons / via Christie's, with permission

What’s in a name band-wise? If you try playing “beatles” on a Scrabble board -- no dice, of course. So where did this icon get their unique name? And what contemporary duo grabbed their moniker from a mere dictionary flip-through?

According to KUNC’s News Director, Brian Larson, our resident guru of All Things Beatles-trivia, John Lennon was quite aware of 'The Crickets' (of "That'll Be The Day" fame) formed in the mid-fifties by Buddy Holly. As The Beatles became the bee’s knees in 1961, Lennon told reporters about his dream: “I had a vision that a man came unto us on a flaming pie, and he said, ‘You are Beatles with an A.’ And so we were.”

Lennon especially liked the “beat” aspect of the name. Paul McCartney refers to this vision in his song, "Flaming Pie." (Then catch a 1997 humorous interrogation by Conan O'Brien, with Paul answering, among other things, whether he'd ever trashed a hotel on tour and his memories of meeting Elvis.)



How about the name origins of some other contemporary artists? Alysia Kraft of area band, The Patti Fiasco, told me that "Patti Fiasco" used to be her alias as a soloist, and the band warmed to its anarchic quality.

"Good Old War" from Philadelphia got their hook through the band members' last names: Keith Goodwin, Tim Arnold, Daniel Schwartz.

Canadian Afie Jurvanen chose the name "Bahamas" over "Alaska" on his short list because it evokes "warm" and "some sort of escapism," yet provides a contrasting feel with his melancholy songs.

Malaysian-born Zee Avi told reporter Carisser Weethat her stage name morphed from her birth name, Izyan Alirahman:

"Donald Trump gave it to me. Just kidding. Hi, my name is Izyan and I’m an insomniac (laughs). Well, Izyan gradually turned into Izzy, which turned into ‘Zee’. And ‘Avi’ is an abbreviation of my last name because, as I always say, anything more than one syllable is a mouthful. It’s something that’s universal and easier to remember. I just found out that ‘Zee’ means ‘sea’ in Dutch! Like ocean, pantai (Malay) you know? If you put an ‘E’ at the back of ‘Avi’, it means life. So… sea of life!"

Another ukulele lover and singer, Coloradoan Danielle "Ate the Sandwich" Anderson, says she never liked the sound of her first and last names together. So, after a long night of brainstorming, she came up with better imagery she thinks. And just who's sandwich? "It was Prince William’s Reuben," she claims, "and there is a king’s ransom out for my head for such acts of treason!"

What about that sister-duo, First Aid Kit? Their recent album, The Lion's Roar, topped the charts in Sweden. Sister Klara Soderberg "came to the rescue" ofinterviewer Liz Raftery:

"When I was 12, I decided that if I was ever going to make music, I wanted to work under a pseudonym. I scanned through an English-Swedish dictionary and found the name First Aid Kit. When I started performing live with Johanna, we decided to stick with that name. For us, our band name means that our music is a sort of consolation, a comfort. Call it a plaster for the soul, if you like."


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