Readers’ Poll: The Dumbest Band Names of All Time – Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The Dumbest Band Names of All Time

Picks include Limp Bizkit, Nickelback and Foo Fighters

John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls performs in New York City

Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

When we posted our list of the 13 dumbest band names last week, more than a few people got upset. We made it abundantly clear we were merely mocking the names of these groups, not their music, yet fans of the Dave Matthews Band and the Beatles (not to mention Anal Cunt) were ready to declare a fatwa against Rolling Stone. With that in mind, we figured it was only fair to let our readers make their own picks. Click through to see the results. 

Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon of the Beatles perform in New York City

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10. The Beatles

The story of how the Beatles came up with their name changed a lot over the years. In February of 1964, George Harrison said, "We were thinking of a name a long time ago, and we were just wracking our brains for names, and John came up with this name 'Beatles,' and it was good, because it was sort of the insect, and also the pun, you know, b-e-a-t on the beat. We just liked the name and we kept it."

Much later, a story circulated that Stu Sutcliffe saw The Wild One and was inspired by the motorcycle gang in the movie called the Beetles. He told John about the film, and he said, "Yeah, but we'll spell it Beatles, as we're a beat group."As it turns out, the movie was banned in England until the late Sixties (though it is possible he read about it somewhere). 

John usually answered the question in the same way: "I had a vision when I was 12, and I saw a man on a flaming pie, and he said, 'You are Beatles with an "a,"' and we are."

George's story seems to be closest to the truth, but whatever happened, we weren't alone in thinking it's a dumb name, especially for the greatest band of all time. 

Anal Cunt performs in New York City

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9. Anal Cunt

Some band names are dumb simply because they're too crass to speak aloud in polite company or even print in many newspapers. Nashville Pussy has this problem, as does former Massachusetts grindcore band Anal Cunt. They sometimes went by A.C. or AxCx to please the man, but Anal Cunt was Anal Cunt and they were proud to be Anal Cunt. Sadly, Anal Cunt frontman Seth Putnam passed away in 2011. Hopefully the survivors will one day find a new frontman so Anal Cunt can be Anal Cunt once again.

Chumbawamba performs in France

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8. Chumbawamba

Chumbawamba formed in England in the Eighties, at a time when Duran Duran and Kajagoogoo ruled the pop charts. They decided to make up their own nonsense name, even though their songs sounded nothing like "Hungry Like the Wolf" or "Too Shy."

"Chumbawamba doesn't mean anything," they wrote on their official FAQ. "We liked the sound of Chumbawamba because it wasn't nailing ourselves down. Thatcher on Acid were a good band but it's lucky for them that Thatcher stayed in power for 11 years. If her influence had only lasted 18 months, Thatcher on Acid's sell-by date would have come and gone a lot sooner. We wanted a name which wouldn't date." Chumbawamba broke up in 2012. 

Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish performs in Los Angeles

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7. Hootie and the Blowfish

As a child, Darius Rucker was friends with one kid who had owl-like eyes and another kid with puffy cheeks, earning them the nicknames "Hootie" and "the Blowfish." He named his University of South Carolina bar band Hootie and the Blowfish in 1986, not realizing that people would call him "Hootie" for the rest of his life. Contrary to widespread belief, Darius isn't supposed to be Hootie, and the band aren't the Blowfish. Like many dumb band names, it was a joke that seemed funny at the time, but has been a drag ever since: hell, even the Beach Boys lived to regret their name. They briefly talked about changing their name to "Beach" in the Seventies, but wisely thought better of it. Hootie and the Blowfish are still Hootie and the Blowfish, though the band is mostly retired now due to Rucker's huge success as a country singer

Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters performs in London

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6. Foo Fighters

Shortly after Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl recorded a demo tape on which he played every instrument. Knowing that his own name would distract any listener, he simply titled it Foo Fighters. It's a term used by World War II pilots to describe mysterious flying objects. He eventually hired a band to perform the material live, and the name stuck around. 

Chad Kroeger of Nickelback performs in Los Angeles

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5. Nickelback

You can blame Starbucks for this one. When Nickelback bassist Mike Kroeger worked there in the early Nineties, many of their prices ended in 95 cents, causing Kroeger to say "Here's your nickel back" over and over again. He was in a cover band called Village Idiots at the time, but when they began recording originals, they went with Nickelback. 

John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls performs in New York City

Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

4. Goo Goo Dolls

Like many bands on this list, the Goo Goo Dolls lived to regret their hastily-conceived name. They took it from an ad in True Detective magazine for an actual doll called a Goo Goo Doll. "We were young and we were a garage band," frontman Johnny Rzeznik said. "We had a gig that night and needed a name. It's the best we came up with, and for some reason it stuck. If I had had five more minutes, I definitely would have picked a better name." It's nearly 30 years later, and they are still the Goo Goo Dolls. 

Gibby Haynes of Butthole Surfers performs in Rotterdam, Netherlands

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3. Butthole Surfers

The Butthole Surfers didn't have a regular name when they first started gigging, calling themselves everything from Fred Astaire's Asshole to Ed Asner Is Gay. At an early show, the announcer looked at their set list, saw the title "Butthole Surfer" and accidentally introduced them as the Butthole Surfers. They decided to go with it. It's a cautionary tale: establish a proper name early on or somebody else will do it for you. 

Douglas Robb of Hoobastank performs in Mountain View, California

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2. Hoobastank

If you're looking for deep meaning in the name Hoobastank, prepare to be disappointed. "It was fun to say at the time, and when we named the band we were a lot younger," said Hoobastank frontman Doug Robb. "It kind of fit in with the quirkiness of what we were all about. It kind of rolled off the tongue in a funny way." 

Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit performs during Family Values tour

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1. Limp Bizkit

From the very beginning, Fred Durst knew that his music wasn't for everybody. "The name is there to turn people's heads away," he said in the band's bio. "A lot of people pick up the disc and go, 'Limp Bizkit. Oh, they must suck.' Those are the people that we don't want even listening to our music." Limp Bizkit still managed to attract quite a few haters, and many are likely to claim that their name is low on the list of the things they find unappealing about the band. If this was a poll of terrible album titles, it's likely their third LP, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, would rank pretty high, too. Simply put, people really, really, really hate Limp Bizkit. 

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