Five on Friday: 5 band names and their origins

Five on Friday: 5 band names and their origins

Have you ever wondered where your favourite music groups got their names?

I have.

Sometimes the names are pretty straightforward. For example, ABBA is made up of the initials of its four members, and Linkin Park is an alternate spelling for Lincoln Park, where the late Chester Bennington used to drive past on his way to the studio.

Sometimes the name evolves, but still has obvious links. Like Foster The People, which was formerly Foster and The People after lead singer Mark Foster.

For others, the reason for their name is not so immediately apparent. In this week’s Five on Friday, we take a look at five of them:

MICHAEL LEARNS TO ROCK

Let’s start with this one since they’re coming to Singapore soon – who’s Michael and why is he learning to rock?

None of the band members has the name Michael anyway.

As it turns out, “Michael” refers to the King of Pop himself: Michael Jackson.

Shortly after the band was formed in 1988, they made a demo tape to be sent to the Rock Grand Prix competition in their hometown of Aarhus, Denmark. They had to quickly come up with a name before they posted it, however, and singer Jascha Richter wrote the name Michael Learns To Rock on the sender line.

In a 2007 interview with the Taipei Times, guitarist Mikkel Lentz said Richter may have been inspired by Jackson. “It was kind of funny, because it was like, what would he sound like if he learned to rock? It was wordplay,” he said.

He also noted the similarity with English bands Johnny Hates Jazz and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

“Sure, I’ve regretted calling ourselves this many times, but we were successful so quickly we had to stick with it and over time I got used to it,” Richter said.

THE WHO

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