Here’s something I’ve often wondered.
There are a handful of bands that I’ve come across since my adolecence that experienced a great deal of commercial success with their first hit (or first couple of hits). Then, just like that, they’re gone. Why? It’s not the quality of the song…otherwise, it wouldn’t have been a “hit”.
Was it the name of the NAME of the band that turned people off? Quite possibly.
Here are a few examples (with links to their YouTube videos if you’re interested)
Dogs Die In Hot Cars
These Scottish alt-punk rockers had a hard driving 2004 hit called “I Love You ‘Cause I Have To”. Such a great hook, melody, and story line…but how many animal lovers did they piss off? Plenty, I’m sure. They’re still around….supposedly.
If you don’t know the song “Little Bastard”, you probably didn’t listen to ANY rock radio in 1993. Four words: ALL FISH BELLY WHITE! This Cincinnati based neo country quartet took a break from their grassroots influences to create the album “Electric Rock Music”. “Little Bastard” was the one and only single that ever saw the light of day. It quickly became one of my all time favorites…and still is. But with a band name like “Ass Ponys”, I can’t help but wonder if they would have gone further with a different name. Don’t ask me what that name should have been…that’s for someone else to deicde.
“Novocane For The Soul”…amazing song, excellent video, weird band name. It’s a shame, too. This west coast band has depth…and a weird band name. It’s not even “THE Eels”. It’s just “eels”…all lower case….because it wasn’t weird enough already. Anywhoo, I love this song and it will remain in many of my future playlists.
Alien Ant Farm
In 2001, we got our first glimpse of AAF when they covered Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. Awesome. Everybody dug this….but as many music critics will tell you, if your first “hit” is a cover, you better come out swinging for your NEXT hit. AAF gave us “Movies”. The video was quirky and the hook got in to your head like an ear infection for a 5 month old (Sydney?). After that, the steam fizzled out. Sure, they’ve released more material since then and their fan base is smaller (and likely more defined and dedicated). Middle America seems to have forgotten about AAF, though. Did the name of the band act as an Alien death ray? Perhaps.
When I was a DJ on 929 dave fm from 2005 to 2008, this was the ONLY band name I can honestly say I was uncomfortable saying on the air. It’s my suspicion that the program director(s) purposely scheduled this song during MY shift just to make me say it. A theory I have yet to prove. Let’s face it, it’s an awkward name that makes me squirm to this day. I didn’t even like typing it.
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies
During the swing revivial of the late ’90′s, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies burst on to the scene (with mouths foamed) with “Zoot Suit Riot”. These guys were tight, talented, and could SWING, baby. But along with the death of the aforementioned revival, the Daddies went by the wayside. It’s likely that they would have stuck around if the swing thing stayed, but this wasn’t the case. The other “daddy” group of the swing revival, “Big Bad VooDoo Daddy” also disappered from the scene. Did the revival kill the bands, or did the bands kill the revival? Ask Brian Setzer….and his orchestra.
“…and the bottom drops out!” – Catchy, right? Of course! This diddy went to # 10 in 1999 and was a mainstay on top 40 and AAA radio. You’ll still find it in my iTunes, as well (which is quite an honor). This Milwaukee based soul/rock group disbanded in 2002, but their biggest hit lives on in our various mp3 players. It’s a calcuated risk choosing a band name that can be drawn with another reference. In this case, it’s closely related to, what some consider, the greatest movie ever made. A risk that didn’t pay off in the long run.
I’m not saying they’re a BAD ensemble, I’m just saying the name is weird. If they had a better name, maybe we’d hear from them more often than we do, that’s all. The same might be said for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra….but at least their name strikes a little bit of fear in to you…and that’s awesome.
It’s no secret that country music is to me what kryptonite was to Superman. But I can recognize talent. SHeDAISY is made up of three very talented women (sisters) from the small town of West Valley, Utah. The attached song (“Don’t Worry ‘Bout A Thing”) reached # 7 on the Billboard Hot Country chart in 2004. The name is easy to SAY, but not easy to read…or type. Did this make country programmers shy away from the SHe? It’s possible. Catchy tune, though….for a country track.
Tony! Toni! Toné!
No one in the band was named Tony, Toni, or Toné. ‘Nuff said. Apparently it’s a reference to the movie The Untouchables. There’s another defunct trio with a quintet name that also caused some confusion.
These are just ten I thought of but I think I’ve expressed the spirit of the exercise.
What band names would YOU add to this list?