10 BAND NAMES INSPIRED BY HISTORY



How many fans of the Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand are actually aware they took their name from a famous Austrian Archduke assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914? An event that led to the outbreak of World War I.
So here are ten internationally famous bands that have taken their names from famous historical events or personalities, from the Paris Commune to the Cold War and the Chinese Cultural Revolution.




The rock band U2 was formed in Dublin in 1976. Band members are Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen. Many of U2’s songs refer to political or historical events. ‘Bloody Sunday’, for example, is about the Troubles in Northern Ireland and ‘Mothers of the Disappeared’ addresses the struggle of mothers whose children disappeared during Videla’s military dictatorship in Argentina in the late 1970s.

The band is named after the American Lockheed U-2 high altitude surveillance aircraft developed in the early 1950s to help monitor Soviet military capabilities and intentions. This plane was made especially famous in May 1960, two weeks before the opening of a scheduled East-West summit in Paris, when an American U-2 plane flown by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union. The Four Powers Paris Summit between Eisenhower, Khrushchev, Macmillan and de Gaulle eventually collapsed on May 16th when Khrushchev left the talks following Eisenhower’s refusal to apologize for the incident.






Jethro Tull are a British rock group, formed in Luton, Bedfordshire, in December 1967, they are named after an English agricultural pioneer who helped to bring about the British Agricultural Revolution.                                                                               Jethro Tull (1674 - 1741) perfected a horse-drawn seed drill in 1701 that economically sowed the seeds in neat rows. He later developed a horse-drawn hoe. Tull's methods were adopted by many great landowners and helped to provide the basis for modern agriculture. This revolutionized the future of agricultural success.

Tull's book on husbandry also influenced the cotton culture in the American Southern Colonies. Tull's system taught that to ensure a sufficient number of plants, they did not just need to increase the quantity of seed, but to plant the seed at regular distances.         

                                        


The English rock band, originally founded as ‘Warsaw’ in Salford in 1976, changed its name to Joy Division in late 1977. 
Joy Divisions were brothels in Nazi concentration camps to reward hard-working inmates. Between 300 & 400 women were forced to become sex workers in brothels in ten concentration camps, including Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald & Sachsenhausen. 

The band allegedly took their name from the Joy Division mentioned in the novella The House of Dolls by the Jewish writer Yehiel De-Nur, who spent two years as a prisoner in Auschwitz.

The band consisted of singer Ian Curtis, guitarist Bernard Summer, Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris. Ian Curtis committed suicide in May 1980. After his death the band reformed as ‘New Order’.





The English post-punk group from Leeds was formed by the singer Jon King, guitarist Andy Gill, bass guitarist Dave Allen and the drummer Hugo Burnham. They released a first series of albums from 1977 to 1984 and then re-emerged twice in the 1990s with King and Gill. 

They took their name from 'The Gang of Four' - a leftist political group, which came to prominence during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-76) and was composed of the four Chinese Communist party officials Jiang Qing, Mao Zedong's last wife, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen. They were put on trial in November 1980 and charged with a variety of abuses during the Cultural Revolution, including the deaths of some 34,000 people.





The British alternative rock band Maximo Park formed by the guitarist Duncan Lloyd in 2000 with the  band’s four other members -Paul Smith, Archis Tiku, Lukas Wooler and Tom English. 

They named themselves after Máximo Gómez Park (also known as Domino Park), located in Little Havana, Miami. Máximo Gómez was a Cuban revolutionary born on November 18th, 1836, in the Dominican Republic. As Major General in the Ten Years’ War (1868-78), the first of three liberation wars fought that Cuba fought against Spain, Gomez commanded Spanish reserve troops. He subsequently retired from the Spanish Army, however, and joined the rebel cause. He rose to the rank of Generalissimo in the Cuban Army and fought during the Cuban War of Independence from 1895 to 1898. Gomez died in Havana in 1905.





 The Decemberists are an American indie folk rock band from Portland, Oregon.
The band's name refers to the Decembrist revolt, an 1825 insurrection in Imperial Russia. Russian army officers led about 3,000 soldiers in a protest against Nicholas I's assumption of the throne after his elder brother Constantine removed himself from the line of succession. 

Because these events occurred in December, the rebels were called the Decembrists. This uprising, which was suppressed by Nicholas I, took place in the Senate Square in Saint Petersburg. In 1925, to mark the centenary of the event, the square was renamed as Decembrist Square, but in 2008 it reverted to its original name.


In addition to their name, their lyrics often focus on historical incidents and/or folklore. The band also stages whimsical reenactments of sea battles and other centuries-old events, typically of regional interest, or acts out songs with members of the crowd.






The Levellers are an English rock band, founded in 1988 and based in Brighton. The name of the band is drawn from the Levellers, a 17th-century radical democracy movement founded in England during the English Civil War that emphasized popular sovereignty, extended suffrage, equality before the law, and religious tolerance, all of which were expressed in the manifesto "Agreement of the People".

They came to prominence at the end of the First English Civil War and were most influential before the start of the Second Civil War. Leveller views and support were found in the populace of the City of London and in some regiments in the New Model Army.






Franz Ferdinand are a Scottish rock band formed in 2002 and based in Glasgow. They have received two Brit Awards—winning one for Best British Group, and have won an NME Award. With their four studio albums, the band sold over three million albums worldwide in 2009.

The name of the band was originally inspired by a racehorse called Archduke Ferdinand.  After seeing the horse win the Northumberland Plate in 2001, the band began to discuss Archduke Franz Ferdinand and thought it would be a good band name because of the alliteration of the name and the implications of the Archduke's death (his assassination was a significant factor in the lead-up to World War I).  

"Mainly we just liked the way it sounded," says Bob. "We liked the alliteration." "He was an incredible figure as well," continues Alex. "His life, or at least the ending of it, was the catalyst for the complete transformation of the world and that is what we want our music to be. But I don't want to over-intellectualize the name thing. Basically a name should just sound good … like music." Paul offered, "I like the idea that, if we become popular, maybe the words Franz Ferdinand will make people think of the band instead of the historical figure" – talking to is this music?

The song "Take Me Out", on the band's first album, was the second single to be released by the band. The single release of "Take Me Out" came with the B-side, "All for You, Sophia", based on the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, whose name was Sophie, not Sophia. The band chose the name Sophia rather than Sophie to give the song a better ring. The song mentions the assassin Gavrilo Princip, the Black Hand, the location of the Apple Quay and "Urban" (Franz Urban), the name often mistakenly given to Leopold Lojka, the driver of the car.

In addition to this, in 2004 the band played a number of "secret" gigs under the pseudonym "The Black Hands", alluding to the secret society that was held responsible for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand.





The Communards were a British pop duo, Jimmy Somerville & Richard Coles, active from 1985 to 1988. They are most famous for their cover versions of "Don't Leave Me This Way" and "Never Can Say Goodbye".

The name Communards refers to the revolutionaries of the 1871 Paris Commune. Karl Marx said of the uprising that "Yes, gentlemen, the Commune intended to abolish that class property which makes the labor of the many the wealth of the few... this is communism." Somerville seems to have used the term to express his political sympathies while avoiding immediate connections to contemporary activism. However, the use of the term and Somerville's left-wing politics drew regular accusations that he was a communist.



The B-52s are an American new wave band, formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976. 
The band's name comes from a particular beehive hairdo resembling the nose cone of the aircraft of the same name. Keith Strickland suggested the name after a dream he had had one night, of a band performing in a hotel lounge. In the dream he heard someone whisper in his ear that the name of the band was "the B-52s." 

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The bomber is capable of carrying up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons.