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The Greatest Gig in History

By Dean Nicholas | Posted 21st February 2012, 11:50
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Music 

Jethro Tull, and Ian Anderson of the band Jethro TullOn our Facebook page yesterday, we asked people to come up with a list of bands named for historical people, places or things.

Here are some of the bands put forward, along with a bit of biographical detail about their namesakes. Some enterprising A&R type out there should get the groups together for a gig, perhaps on the historic soil of Glastonbury.

Franz Ferdinand: the Scottish group were named for the Archduke whose assassination in Sarajevo in June 1914 sparked the First World War.

Spandau Ballet: According to legend, this New Romantic outfit named themselves after seeing the phrase scrawled on the wall of a Berlin toilet, but Spandau itself is most famous for the prison where many Nazi party members, including Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer, were incarcerated following the Nuremberg trials.

Kasabian: Named for Linda Kasabian, a member of Charles Manson's cult and a key prosecution witness in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial (suggested by @ncbdoyle).

Jethro Tull: The long-running rock outfit share a name with one of the key figures in the 18th-century agricultural revolution (suggested by Dave Stowe and Ian Richards)

Foo Fighters: A popular rock band led by Dave Grohl, but also a term coined by fighter pilots during the Second World War to describe glowing objects they saw in the skies (suggested by Sudarshana Srinivasan). Other airborne bands include the B-52s, U2 and Bell X-1.

Joy Division: The Manchester group were named for the group of Jewish women forced to work as sex slaves for the Nazis.

Gang Of Four: The name of this New Wave group was inspired by China's Gang of Four, a political faction consisting of Mao's wife Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen (suggested by Justine Wall)

Kaiser Chiefs: The band were named after a South African football team called Kaizer Chiefs, where former Leeds captain Lucas Radebe spent much of his early career. The team takes its name from Kaiser Wilhelm II, the name 'Kaiser' made popular in southern Africa owing to the German colonisation of Namibia (suggested by @ncbdoyle).

The Communards: The synth-pop group fronted by Jimmy Sommerville took their name from the supporters of the short-lived Paris Commune, which briefly ruled the French capital in 1871 (suggested by Waltraud Gasch).

Read more about the Paris Commune in An Exercise in Terror.

New Model Army: Named for the army formed by the Parliamentarians in 1645, which fought against King Charles I. (suggested by Matthew Shaw).

The Levellers: The band, whose popularity peaked in the 1990s, took their name from an English democratic and republican group active during the Civil War (suggested by Justine Wall)

Crazy Horse: Neil Young's sometime band lifted their name from the Sioux war chief most famous for besting Custer's men at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Punk group Siouxsie and the Banshee also took inspiration from Native American tradition (suggested by Agnita Fridhammar).

Other good suggestions included the Dead Kennedys, Led Zeppelin, the Libertines, the Minutemen, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Dandy Warhols, the Maccabees, Louis XIV, the Decembrists, Iron Maiden and Uriah Heep. Drop your own into the comments below.


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