August 4, 2009

Unusually Long Band Names

Filed under: Bad Band Names, Band Naming Tips — Band Name Master @ 08:36

I don’t recommend giving your band an excessively long name. I’m not referring to names with two parts like "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers"
or "Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention" that flow — but rather the flat-out, unnecessarily long band names.

Here are some examples:

  • When People Were Shorter and Lived Near the Water (9 words, 49 characters)
  • The Presidents of the United States of America (8 words, 46 characters)
  • …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (10 words, 44 characters including ellipsis)
  • I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness (7 words, 35 characters)
  • I Can Lick Any SOB In The House (8 words, 31 characters)

While "The Presidents of the United States of America" can be nicknamed and referenced as "The Presidents,"
the rest of the names don’t have a lot of options unless you want to go the Excessively Long Acronym route.
Here are some reasons to avoid a long name for your band:

  • Does not flow in conversation
  • Can be difficult to remember
  • Often does not sound like a band name
  • Website domain name will need to be different than your name (unless you want to make the mistake of using the actual long version) Note: There is a 67-character limit on domain names

I’d like to add that the occasional song or album with a long name is okay, but Fiona Apple went too far with her "When the Pawn" album title that is 450+ characters in length!

What do you guys think? Any other long band names that are worth noting? Do you have a long-winded band name?

7 Comments »

  1. So true! Long band names are hopelessly difficult to use in conversation. Did you ever tell a friend: “I’m going to watch ‘The Presidents of the United States of America’ play at the ‘Big Day Out’”? But I can truthfully say: “I saw the ‘Hoodoo Gurus’ play live at the very first ‘Rock Above The Falls’” – and that’s one brag I wouldn’t want to stumble over.

    Actually, I took my teenage son there that year. I suspect I was the oldest guy in the crowd — tho lots of the band members were older! — cos the kids all gave me strange looks. One even yelled out “Hallo, Grandpa!” So I looked at my seventeen-year-old and said: “Hey, have you got something to tell me?”

    Even medium-length names can get you in trouble. One of Australia’s headline acts back then was “This Is Serious, Mum” – naturally anacronymised as “TISM” – and my son thought the sun shone out of their collective. So one day in the car, when my wife asked “Who’s that band?” I could quickly reply: “TISM – This Is Silly, Mum”. Son, in the back seat, was not impressed …

    Comment by Yahya — October 23, 2009 @ 17:12

  2. Forgot to say: I think that even names ‘like “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” or “Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention” that flow’ are a right mouthful. They also seem immodest, on the part of the lead. If the lead member is so darn hot, why not just call them “Big Ego (and band)”?

    Comment by Yahya — October 23, 2009 @ 17:21

  3. Sort names are generally better and that is why we are focusing on selling one-word domain names for bands. But longer names can work too. It’s just a matter of how good the band is and their marketing and promotion are. U2 is not huge because they have a sort name. They could have a name like “fried lumps of crap” and would still be as big as they are, or almost as big. :-)

    But a short name with a strong image is best, like Yes, Tool, Genesis, and so on. But if those bands were not as good as they are, the name would not help much. I think bands need to think about their name from the standpoint of “branding” and how that brand can help or hurt what they are doing, but it’s not the most important aspect of any band.

    Comment by Chris Nielsen — December 2, 2009 @ 12:02

  4. Bands like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers aren’t so egotistical if the band member mentioned in the name is already a prominent figure, and/or has had large previous success in the music industry. The name of my current band is The Thing That Ate Rosie O’Donnell, which is 29 characters, a pain to type out, and probably hard to say. We should fix that I guess…

    Comment by Oskama bin Laden — December 2, 2009 @ 16:25

  5. I think probably the very best band names are one-word. Metallica, U2, Beatles, etc. (Yes, I know it’s “The Beatles” but I don’t count the word “The”).. but bands with kind of long names have done fine too.
    System Of A Down
    Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Rage Against The Machine
    Just three examples up there. Them Crooked Vultures doesn’t roll off the tongue either but they are an awesome band.

    Comment by Frank Sinatra of Heavy Metal — December 5, 2009 @ 12:45

  6. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

    Comment by My name is the boy — March 6, 2010 @ 07:07

  7. The only one I know is I Killed A Bear Once,” and they are very very good.

    Comment by Chris — November 10, 2010 @ 20:34

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