22 November 2011
Perhaps, but it depends on what they'd have chosen. There are plenty of terrible band names around (Led Zeppelin, Smashing Pumpkins) which you tend not to question because they sound memorable and the songs overshadow the name. So if The Beatles had another catchy yet fairly neutral name that people could remember, and still had the songs, image and humour, they'd have done just fine.
Not if they were called Herman's Hermits though – some names stand out as being utterly dismal, and it's hard to take the band seriously regardless of their output. We'd still have the music but they might not have got quite so far in their career (breaking America etc). One or two singles, perhaps, then someone else would have usurped them as the nation's favourites. And The Beatles were too clever, too image-conscious to go around with a truly crap name.
1 December 2009
Are you sure you're not thinking retroactively, Joe? It sounds terrible today, but i would imagine that “Herman's Hermits” seemed like a fairly innovative band name at the time – although self-defeating, since there was no actual Herman in the band.
GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions, Marvin Gaye. PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty.
1 May 2011
At the time the beatles was a strange name, hence all the questions at the time of why the name 'beatles' and who came up with it. At least the Crickets (which helped inspire the name Beatles) had some relation to music but who had heard of a musical beetle? You had to see the name to see the 'beat' part but to just here the names 'The Beatles' must have left people a little lost.
In relation to the question set, I think their music, their humour and their personalities would still have won over the fans and press. Unless they were called something so idiotic and/or undignified by the media and the music organisations at the time and even then Brian would have had a quiet word in their ear.
It wasnt the name that got Brian interested enough to be their manager or George Martin to be their producer.
"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris)
Von – of course I’m thinking retroactively. It’s very hard to put yourself in the mindset of someone in the 1960s hearing The Beatles, but them not being called The Beatles and having a terrible name. Part of me thinks it wouldn’t have made a difference, but predicting what’ll be popular is incredibly difficult.
9 June 2010
22 November 2011
What if we named bands serially, like “Band #687,” and later “Band #2056”? This would be a Soviet way of naming them as they named the hotels in the Eastern Bloc back in the day. No need for a marketing department although the cost of promotion might continue in some strange way.
You want to suggest something in a band's name but not too much, and you don't want to unnecessarily offend anyone. “The Beatles” was originally a very silly name as I recall but at least was only one, sort-of-clever word; it didn't contain a lot of semantic information. It was almost a logo before we all knew the term; branding, a marketing success and lesson learned.
There was “beat” and “bugs.” It was cute (the mop-topped boys, and they were marketed as “boys”), suggesting something upbeat or at worst harmless — back then, nobody wanted to offend anyone; whereas today, offending someone seems to be the goal even while extolling the value of cultural diversity. I think they could have been “The BackBeats” or “The Merseys” and we wouldn't know the difference today.
I think The Rolling Stones have the best name for all these reasons. Other good names are The Bangles, The Go-Go's, and The Kinks. There must be hundreds more I can't think of. They don't mean anything but evoke a good mood.
1 May 2011
22 November 2011
The Who — one of my favorite bands from “Happy Jack” and earlier — certainly has a “neutral” name! Unfortunately, it's completely devoid of meaning. But here's a good example of purely meaningless name associated with a great body of work and popularity. Except in the extremes, it probably doesn't matter what the name is, and that was my thought.
16 February 2011
18 September 2011
The Who is a great name.
Same here, I also think Led Zeppelin and The Doors are brilliant names.
Good Dog Nigel. Arf, Arf, he goes, a merry sight. Our little hairy friend. Arf, Arf, upon the lampost bright, arfing around the bend. Nice dog! Goo boy, waggie tail and beg. Clever Nigel, jump for joy
Because we're putting you to sleep at three of the clock, Nigel.
-John Lennon "In His Own Write"