In general, it's not the best idea to pick a name for your band that can also be used as a single person's name, as these musicians have found out the hard way.
"Pink Floyd" is the name of the band (named after bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council), not the name of any of the members of the band. This misconception serves as the basis for a clueless record executive in the Pink Floyd song "Have a Cigar" asking, "Oh, by the way, which one's Pink?"
Note that the central character in both the film and album The Wall goes by "Pink", possibly adding to the confusion. As well, the end of "Young Lust" has an exchange with a telephone operator trying to place a collect call "From Mr. Floyd to Mrs. Floyd", implying that the character's name actually is Pink Floyd.
It's also implied in the movie that his name is Floyd Pinkerton. Which contradicts the phone call, although it could be that Floyd Pinkerton took the stage name of Pink Floyd. The kids in his youth call him, "Pinky".
Sweets: Hey, so, uh, we're Gormogon...I mean, the name of the band is Gormogon. Some people think that I'm Gormogon, but I'm not. It's like, there's no one named Floyd in Pink Floyd.
Jethro Tull often had the same problem. They took their name from the Englishman (1674-1741) who invented the seed drill.
This was referenced in Armageddon, when Oscar Choi (played by Owen Wilson) says to a NASA psychologist (played by the legendary Udo Kier), "I tell you one thing that really drives me nuts, is people who think that Jethro Tull is just a person in the band." (To which the psychologist replied, "Who is Jethro Tull?")
Similarly, Franz Ferdinand named themselves after the archduke whose assassination served as a catalyst for World War I.note Well, they say that they named themselves "Franz Ferdinand" after a racehorse named The Archduke. Either way, they're ultimately named after Franz Ferdinand of Austria. However, surprisingly few people make the assumption that it's a person rather than a band, perhaps because "Franz" sounds like an unlikely name for a Scot and the archduke was a rather famous figure. Which still didn't stop at least one talk show host has asked them which was named Franz Ferdinand. And wasn't joking.
Country band Sawyer Brown sometimes has this problem. They took their name from the road where they originally rehearsed.
Similarly, Sleater-Kinney are not the surnames of the two lead singers, but the name of an arterial road in Lacey, a town adjacent to Olympia, WA, where the band formed.
Australian band Augie March is named after a Saul Bellow novel. The lead singer is named Glen Richards. Nobody in the band is named Augie March.
On the flip side, there are people who name themselves like bands, e.g., Iggy Pop, The Streets or Badly Drawn Boy, and people whose names just happen to sound kind of like band names, e.g., Chaka Khan or Ember Swift.
Similarly, My Brightest Diamond is a single musician, Shara Worden, as opposed to the group that the name might imply.
Likewise with Iron & Wine.
Also The Mountain Goats, which has no regular members other than John Darnielle.
John frequently parodied this at live shows coming on stage alone and introducing himself with "Hi, we're the Mountain Goats"
Nina Sky is also a pair of twins not one person.
People often ask members of the band Hootie & the Blowfish "who's Hootie?" No-one's Hootie, and the band is The Blowfish. Lead singer Darius Rucker is, however, remembered primarily as "Hootie" by most people.
The name, Hootie and the Blowfish, was actually taken from Darius's friends ("Hootie" has round eyes, while "Blowfish" would puff up his cheeks like a blowfish).
The moral of this story: Never name a band (even partially) after someone whose nickname sounds like it could be a collective noun.
This trope could be averted now that Hootie & the Blowfish is on hiatus and Darius Rucker has made a name for himself as a solo Country Music artist.
Michael Ian Black on I Love the 90s: "You're 'Hootie'. You will always be 'Hootie'. Be careful what we wish for, 'Hootie and the Blowfish'!"
Likewise, in early interviews in North America, the UK band Catherine Wheel were asked, "Who's Catherine?" The band was named for the British term for a firework that spins rapidly when lit, which in turn is named for the torture device allegedly used to martyr Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
Coconut Records sounds like a record label. In fact, it's Jason Schwartzman's solo act. That's right; it's not even a band name, it's a pseudonym.
Five For Fighting is one person. It's a reference to hockey penalties.
Similarly, there are only three people in Ben Folds Five. One of them, however, is actually Ben Folds. When asked why they go by the name "Ben Folds Five" when there were only three members, Folds replied "Because Ben Folds Three sounds dumb." Ben Folds has since broken up with the five, and tours with two other musicians under the name of Ben Folds.
Lampshaded in a making-of video for the Ben Folds Five reunion single "Do It Anyway" featuring the Fraggles - Red refers to the band as "Mr. Ben and his three, and the other two once they show up".
In one episode of the American Whose Line is it Anyway?, Ryan Stiles referred to Kid Rock as a band. After Drew Carey pointed out that he's "just one guy", they spent the rest of the episode joking about the mix-up.
Other than that, this is surprisingly rare, perhaps because of how Kid Rock's first hit, "Bawitdaba", opened...
The band is actually the Twisted Brown Trucker band.
Originally Alice Cooper was just the name of the band. After the band broke up, lead singer Vincent Furnier changed his name, thus averting this trope afterward.
Before the band broke up, they referenced this trope in the song "Be My Lover":
She asked me why the singer's name was Alice, I said listen baby you really wouldn't understand
A similar example: when Robin Trower left Procol Harum, he formed a new band. The band was named...Robin Trower. No real difference in practical terms, though it might be surprising to find their albums under "R" instead of "T".
Alternately, Marilyn Manson is the name of both a band and its infinitely more well known lead singer (and no, not one of the albums credited to "Marilyn Manson" is a solo effort by their singer, despite the fact he's the last remaining original member of the band at this point).
The band was originally called "Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids", and was only shortened as late as their first album.
Likewise, Sade refers both to the singer (Sade Adu) and the band of the same name that she is the singer of. Making matters worse is the fact that the rest of the band rarely shows themselves in photos and other promotional material.
Stand-up comedian (and occasional singer) Jasper Carrott's act included a routine about his name being mistaken for a band's. "My agent got a call saying 'Do Jasper Carrott wanna play Scunthorpe Baths?' And of course, he's no fool. He said, 'Um... they might'."
DJ Sharpnel is a pair of Japanese speedcore artists, Jea and Lemmy.
DJ Food is in fact a project involving several DJs; the name is meant to mean "food for DJs" (think fish food).
AphexTwin is the name of one man, Richard David James. However, according to The Other Wiki, the "twin" refers to his twin brother who died at birth.
Similarly, M-Project is not, in fact, two people, but is just another pseudonym for DJ Chucky, although in this case it's intentional.
"Cascada" refers to the German eurodance band, not the singer. The singer's name is Natalie Horler, and the rest of the band consists of producers Manuel Reuter ("DJ Manian") and Yann Piefer ("Yanou").
Even though the name Blondie was inspired by lead singer Deborah Harry's blonde hair, the name refers to the band as a whole and not to Harry specifically.
Strangely, many people think Roxette is the stage name of female performer Marie Fredriksson rather than the name of the band she is in. This is despite the fact that her partner Per Gessle sings lead on almost half the band's hits.
Country Joe and the Fish had a member named Joe and the band was named. Later on, as the band broke up and there were only two remaining members, he became known as Country Joe McDonald and the other guy as The Fish.
One-Hit Wonder Gerardo had to suffer the indignity of being called "Rico Suave" during his fifteen minutes of fame, which was the title of the song.
None of the members of The Marshall Tucker Band were named Marshall Tucker. They found the name on a discarded receipt in a bar.
The real Marshall Tucker was a blind piano tuner.
Only 2 of the original 6 members of The Allman Brothers Band were actual brothers named Allman, and after Duane Allman died in 1971 that left just 1.
On the other hand, it was an accurate name: it's the band started by the Allman Brothers.
None of The Statler Brothers were named Statler and just 2 of them were actually brothers.
Music has lots and LOTS of examples of this, including the Righteous Brothers and the Thompson Twins (actually a trio originally and nobody with a name of Thompson).
It's a shame Pantera died, he was a good guitarist. But hey, at least Tommy Lee's still alive and kickin as the most kickass rock singer of all time!
Nobody in the band Herman's Hermits was named Herman. The guy people usually refer to as Herman is actually lead singer Peter Noone.
Plus, they all lived in modern dwellings, and made regular public appearances.
They claim to have created their name by alliteration and mis-hearing the name of the boy (Sherman) in the Peabody's Improbable History segments of The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show.
Mark "his name is not Sugar Ray" McGrath. He once did a commercial in which people kept mistakenly calling him by his band's name. At least he has a sense of humor about it.
Most people thought that after making it big, former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry had dropped his first name. Uh, no. He's still Chris Daughtry; his band is Daughtry. Extremely confusing because we know that it is, in fact, named for the lead singer, the natural assumption is that he's a solo artist, which he apparently isn't.
The band The Thompson Twins were often assumed to be a duo, from the name, which could cause a problem when they were booked in a venue whose stage was too small for the trio they actually were. In fact the band's choice of name is itself an illustration of this trope. The name comes from two characters from the Tintin books, who shouldn't really be called "The Thompson Twins". Although they look almost identical, they have different last names, "Thompson" and "Thomson" (Dupont and Dupond in the original French), and they are never said to be related in the books.
Many people are shocked to discover that Gnarls Barkley is a group (or rather, a duo), rather than the name of a large African-American singer.
That duo being Cee-Lo Green (singer and songwriter) and Danger Mouse (producer and instrumentalist). Likewise, Deltron 3030 is actually comprised of Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Kid Koala, and Dan the Automator.
MF Doom seems to create this problem for himself, combining with producer Danger Mouse to become Danger Doom on the "The Mouse and the Mask" album, and forming Madvillain with a DJ named Madlib on their album "Madvillainy".
The Japanese band angela has a name that is a common given name in many places, leading to people mistakenly believing that singer Atsuko Yamashita is named Angela.
When Procol Harum performed on a talk show, they were naturally asked which one was Procol.
Daniel Amos is not the name of anyone in the band, but rather two books of the Bible.
"People always ask," comments [Terry Scott] Taylor wryly, "which one's Dan? We took our name from the two Old Testament prophets—Ezekial and Jeremiah."
Even though most/all members of Eisley are related, their shared last name is Du Pree, not Eisley. The name is just a holdover from the band's former name, Moss Eisley, a barely disguised Star Wars reference.
Similar to the above examples, Judas Priest is the name of the band itself, not the name of the singer of the band.
The indie folk/country rock act Bright Eyes is actually a trio (Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott) which is accompanied by a revolving door of backing members (including several well known indie rock musicians). It is not the stage name for lead singer/guitarist Conor Oberst. This mistake has appeared in magazines and even a sketch on Saturday Night Live. Oberst has essentially gotten tired of being called Bright Eyes in interviews.
To further complicate things, Oberst has both a solo career and another band, The Mystic Valley Band.
Both of these are more recent, and in part likely due to Oberst's frustration at being called Bright Eyes, especially given that Walcott is also a member of The Mystic Valley Band. On the other hand, the confusion is somewhat understandable given that several solo Oberst songs were released under the Bright Eyes name, most notably the single "Lua", on account of how Oberst drizzled them out over time and just put them on Bright Eyes albums (not exactly unusual, especially given that a lot of these are basically your nigh-obligatory "lead singer with acoustic guitar" tracks that pretty much every band of that sort puts out).
Hawk Nelson is a band, not a singer.
There is no band called The Good, the Bad, & the Queen. It is the title of an album by Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Tony Allen, & Simon Tong.
Nobody in the Australian pop-rock band The Veronicas has the name Veronica. The singers are twin sisters Jess and Lisa Origliasso. They were named after Winona Ryder's character in Heathers, who when asked if she's a Heather, replies, "No, I'm a Veronica."
Chris Martin has often been referred to as "Coldplay", the name of his band.
La Roux is, in fact, two people. It isn't Elly Jackson's stage name, though it was inspired by her red hair.
Prog rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi was not named after its founders, but after a local bakery (i.e.: Premium/best Bakery of Marconi).
Derek and the Dominoes did not, of course, have a Derek in the lineup. Eric Clapton, hugely famous by then, had no problems seeing his name jinked to give the band an alliterative moniker.
Owl City, A Fine Frenzy, Florence + The Machine, Badly Drawn Boy and Jack's Mannequin aren't bands: they're just oddly-named solo acts.
It doesn't help that some of those artists are supported by backing bands, and those band members are assumed to be members of the "band"
Bon Jovi is a band, Jon Bon Jovi is the lead singer of that band, who has also released solo material. A lot of people refer to Jon as just 'Bon Jovi'. In 1986 they had a big hit with a song called "You Give Love A Bad Name", which is often referred to as "Shot Through The Heart" (the first line of the song/chorus, the title is the third). Interestingly, on their first album there IS a song called "Shot Through The Heart".
Even better when you consider that "Jon Bon Jovi" is actually his stage name - his original name is John Bongiovi. The band was named after a deliberate misspelling of his name, at which point he began to spell it that way too. No clues as to why he's publically Jon instead of John, except perhaps it looks good next to the Bon bit.
Fun fact: Bon Jovi's opening act during the band's Lost Highway tour was Daughtry. See the above example.
Cary Brothers is not a group of multiple brothers of the surname "Cary", but just one guy called "Cary Brothers". The mistake is spread further among people by some sources accidentally referring to him as "The Cary Brothers".
There is nobody named Bettie in the band Bettie Serveert. It's a Dutch phrase meaning "Bettie serves". The lead singer is Carol van Dyk, who has said that she's been called Bettie more times than she can remember.
Ayla was a trance project of DJ Tandu(Ingo Kunzi), who sometimes collaborated with DJ Taucher(Ralph Armand Beck), he named it after a Turkish woman he met while recording the first song of the project, which he also named after her.
The now-defunct group Ian Van Dahl was composed of Annemie Coenen(who now sings as Annagrace), Christophe Chantzis, and Erik Vanspauwen. Their first album was titled ACE.
There is a parody of this trope in Date Night, where Tina Fey's character recognises Will I Am in a fancy restaraunt and identifies him as "the guy from Fergie."
Matt Bianco was the name of a pop group, even if you can occasionally hear a guy singing.
The Doobie Brothers are neither siblings, nor does anyone in the band have the last name Doobie.
"Doobie", in fact, not being the name of a person, but of an item commonly smoked by Northern California Country-Rock bar bands. Unlike, for example, the Bacon Brothers, who actually have guys named "Bacon" and whose food preferences are undetermined.
The band Fountains of Wayne (famous for "Stacy's Mom") was named after a lawn-decoration store. No one in the band is named Wayne.
The store itself, sadly now closed, was named for the town of Wayne, NJ, where it was located. The town was named after American Revolutionary War general "Mad" Anthony Wayne (who is the namesake for a lot of towns around the US, as well as Batman's last name!)
Zombie Nation's "Kernkraft 400" combines this with Refrain from Assuming. Since the lyrics consist entirely of the words "Zombie, zombie, zombie, zombie nation," most listeners assume that this is the title of the the song and that Kernkraft 400 is the artist.
Keane (originally "Cherry Keane") does not derive its band name from any of its members, but from a family friend of lead singer Tom Chaplin who left them money in her will.
Gogol Bordello is the name of the band, not the frontman. His name is Eugene Hütz.
One-Hit Wonder Danny Wilson ("Mary's Prayer") is actually three Scotsmen. Their name came from a 1952 Frank Sinatra movie.
Richmond Fontaine is an alt-country band. They are named after an American expat that had helped bassist Dave Harding when his car was stuck in the desert.
Jeff Beck was in the Jeff Beck Group, but since he wasn't the lead singer, people would tend to assume Rod Stewart (not yet as famous in his own right as he later became) was named Jeff Beck. And, as often as not, come up to him after shows and say "Hey Jeff, what's the name of your guitar player? He's really good."
Dance House Children's third album was titled Rainbow Rider: Beautiful Dazzling Music No. 1. Since "Rainbow Rider" was the largest text on the cover, many fans believed that this was the band's new name.
The wizard rock band, Oliver Boyd & The Remembralls, does not contain anyone named Oliver Boyd. In fact, the only member is called Christian Caldeira.
Since the whole Rickrolling fad came about, plenty of people who were not around for Rick Astley and his reign on the music charts have a strong tendency to call the song "Rick Roll" instead of "Never Gonna Give You Up". Moreover, Astley has sometimes been called Rick Roll by this same age group.
While the drummer of Buffalo Tom's name is Tom, the name is really a reference to him and he is not supposed to "be" Buffalo Tom. The name is a reference to Buffalo Springfield just replacing Springfield with the drummer's first name as a joke.
No one in Rainer Maria was named Rainer or Maria. The name came from the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and was chosen as it was unisex sounding.
Cheap Girls are all male. The name simply to refers to the premise of "easy to get" girls, not any member of the band, hence referring to them as "The Cheap Girls" is not a good idea around a fan.
Steven Tyler's name is not Aerosmith. Aerosmith is the band, Steven Tyler is the singer. This is mostly a problem in people that only knows Steven for his work on American Idol and not with the band. It's usually a very bad idea to refer to Steven as "Aerosmith" in front of fans of the band.
There is no Eli Young in the Eli Young Band. There are, however, a Mike Eli and a James Young. (Jon Jones and Chris Thompson are the others.) The name stems from the fact that Eli and Young used to be just a duo, and added the other two members later on.
Now that country trio Lady Antebellum is having crossover success, the misconception that there's a brunette singer named "Lady Antebellum" backed by a couple of dudes is spreading rapidly. Her name is actually Hillary Scott.
At the height of their fame it was common to hear people call the two "vocalists" from Milli Vanilli "Milli" and "Vanilli", even though Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan had received plenty of individual publicity. Some of it was tongue-in-cheek but there seemed to be a lot people who thought those were their names.
No one in Harvey Danger is named Harvey Danger: they got their name from a piece of graffiti that they just thought sounded cool.
Mark Norman is a trio of Dutch trance musicians: Marcel Woods, Norm Faleng, and Menno de Jong, all of whom also produce solo.
No one in Funker Vogt is named Vogt, although the band was named after a friend who was a radio operator (funker).
The drum & bass act Dom & Roland doesn't have a member named Roland. It's actually a solo project by a guy called Dom, and "Roland" refers to the brand of sampler he uses (Roland S760).
Travis Porter is a Hip Hop band with 3 members, and none of their names include "Travis" or "Porter".
Yuki Chikudate, the only Asian member of New York-based band Asobi Seksu, often has fans following her after shows calling her "Asobi-chan." It's really easy to spot weeaboos at an Asobi Seksu concert.
The late face of Captain Jack was named Francisco Gutierrez, or Frankie G.
John Fahey's first album was titled Blind Joe Death, and many fans thought this was the singer's name.
Vladislav Delay is one of several solo projects of the Finnish electronic musician Sasu Ripatti (aka Luomo, Sistol, Uusitalo, etc.); it is not his name.
There is no song by Imogen Heap called "Dear Sister" or "Whatcha Say" (You can thank Jason Derulo for the latter confusion). The name of the song is "Hide and Seek". Also, it's not best to mix up Frou Frou with Imogen's solo songs.
Bon Iver is a band, not the name of the lead singer. That's Justin Vernon. This confusion is probably because Vernon recorded most of his debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago by himself and thus people assumed that Bon Iver was a stage name.
Not an example of a band, but rather a character from the Rock Opera, Tommy (and a very common one even among hardcore fans): according to the musical version's scripts and PeteTownshend, the character who sings "Pinball Wizard" is, in fact, not called Pinball Wizard, but rather the Local Lad. The Movie just adds to the confusion by also having some people think he's EltonJohn.
Similarly, the name of the prostitute character is not "The Acid Queen" like the title of her song, but The Gypsy (as shown in the lyric sheet of the original album).
Helalyn Flowers is not the band's singer's name, that's Noemi Aurora.
Australian singer Paul Kelly's former backing band, the Coloured Girls, were neither - they were named for a line from Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side. (They were later renamed the Messengers when they first toured the US, because the original name was considered to have Unfortunate Implications there.)
Japanese band "Judy and Mary" did not have anyone with either of those names in it. The only female member was lead singer Yuki Isoya, who goes by the stage name "YUKI" (in all-caps).
Averted by Van Halen. Based on all these examples, it is no small miracle that everyone knows that not only is David Lee Roth the band's lead singer, but that "Van Halen" is the guitarist and drummer's last name.
After Hanoi Rocks broke up for the last time, Michael Monroe formed his own band... called Michael Monroe.
90's R&B Boy Band Dru Hill. Many people thought lead singer Sisqo was "Dru," but the Baltimore-based band is named after Druid Hill Park, which sounds like "Dru' Hill" in the local accent.
There is nobody named James in the band James unless you count bass player Jim Glennie. The lead singer is Tim Booth. During early gigs the band played on this by billing themselves as "James (not a poet)" at concerts. Booth would open the set by reading poetry. The announcement of James' performance at the 2013 V Festival was met with many people asking "Who is this James bloke?"
Neil Perry is not the name of anyone in the band, it's a character from Dead Poets Society.
Ann Berretta is not anyone's name. It's a band named after a term for a certain type of gun.
No one in The Lawrence Arms is named Lawrence. It's the name of an apartment complex the band used to live in.
Sort of subverted with Reverend Horton Heat. Though it started as a trio, it eventually became just the stage name of band leader Jim Heath, the only founding member to remain in the band, and the band eventually became just Heath plus a revolving door of supporting members.
Foxy Shazam is a ban, and the lead singer's name is Eric Nally, and yes, the other members are just as important as him.
House duo Michael Mind adjusted its name to Michael Mind Project after a few years for this reason.
Travis Porter is a rap group made up of Lakeem "Ali" Mattox, Donquez "Quez" Woods and Harold "Strap" Duncan. Their original group name, Hard Hitters, averts this trope.
Pretty Ricky was a rap group (they have since broken up) in which none of the members were named Ricky.
Tony! Toni! Toné! is a R&B/New Jack Swing group which during its heyday was made up of Dwayne Wiggins, his brother Raphael Saadiq and their cousin Timothy Christian Riley.