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Most band names aren't meant to be taken literally. Please try to limit this section to names which could be legitimately misinterpreted.

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     Artists - Non-Indicative Descriptors 

  • The 1975 weren't born, much less formed, in 1975, nor do they sound like a band from that year. They're an English indie-pop group who named themselves after a Jack Kerouac book.
  • Sonic Youth were young enough to live up to their name when they started out in 1981, but when they released their breakout album Dirty in 1992, drummer Steve Shelley was the youngest member at 30, while Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, and Kim Gordon were 34, 36, and 39 respectively.
  • The '90s rap group Young Black Teenagers were all white. Their name is supposedly a reference to the black culture, but many people were offended by it.
  • Similarly, not all the members of the Average White Band were white. Several of them were black. The original line-up was all white, but they had become a mixed group by the time of their breakthrough album AWB, making this an Artifact Title.
  • Turbonegro consists entirely of white Norwegians. None of them have a reputation for being particularly fast.
  • They Might Be Giants are all under six feet tall. We're pretty sure of this. (It's a reference to a movie of the same name about a mental patient who thought he was Sherlock Holmes, a movie which contained the reference to Don Quixote):
    "Of course, Don Quixote carried it a bit too far. He thought that every windmill was a giant. That's insane. But, thinking that they might be... Well, all the best minds used to think the world was flat. But, what if it isn't? It might be round. And bread mold might be medicine. If we never looked at things and thought of what they might be, why, we'd all still be out there in the tall grass with the apes."
  • The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster are far too good a band to be called a trainwreck. Also, they formed in 1999.
  • Scissor Sisters doesn't have any incestuous lesbians in the band or any lesbians at all for that matter. There is only one female member, vocalist Ana Matronic, and neither she nor anyone else in the band are siblings. The name refers to the tribadism, a lesbian sexual act where the participants' legs create a scissor-like shape. (What they cut things with is a closely-guarded secret.)
  • None of the Black Kids are kids, and only two of them are black, sibling Reggie and Ali Youngblood.
  • According to this interview, Crazy Frog is neither a frog nor crazy. Its original name was "The Annoying Thing", which is much more appropriate.
  • Anonymous 4 is a female a capella group of four singers, all of whose names are clearly listed on their album covers (currently, Susan Hellauer, Ruth Cunningham, Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek and Marsha Genensky).
  • Jesper Mortensen, the "Junior" of Junior Senior, is actually 10 months the elder of Jeppe Laursen, the "Senior", though Mortensen is Laursen's nephew.
  • The name of the doujin music circle BUTAOTOME means "pig girl". While three of its four members have Funny Animal personas, there's no pig girl among them. Comp the polar bear isn't even female.
  • The Black Sorrows are not, collectively speaking, particularly dark-skinned, and while there's an edge of melancholy to some of their songs, others aren't particularly sorrowful.

     Artists - Non-Indicative Gender 
  • Barenaked Ladies are actually composed of fully clothed men, though from Gordon up to Everything To Everyone they would record at least one song per album in the buff... just for luck, you understand, with the naked track usually left off the album. Theories include:
    • They named the band after the one thing they knew would draw in young males such as themselves.
    • They named it after a drink.
      • Possibly coincidentally, colchicums (crocus-like flowers which bloom in autumn without accompanying leaves) are sometimes known as "(bare)naked ladies".
  • Queen consisted entirely of men. And all of them commoners. May be a subversion, as "queen" at that time was a commonly used slur against gay men. And Freddie was bisexual.
  • Girls Under Glass, a gothic band from Germany, has an all-male lineup.
  • Twisted Sister isn't a single woman, but a five-man band. Lampshaded in Flight of the Navigator.
  • The Queens of the Stone Age are common men from the present day. When member Josh Homme was in his previous band Kyuss, producer Chris Goss joked that they were like "the queens of the stone age." The "Queens" part was chosen because "king" gives off a macho image.
    • Keyboardist/vocalist Natasha Schneider - now sadly deceased - was a member for a while, but she didn't have any royal titles.
  • Violent Femmes, as pointed out in Sabrina the Teenage Witch: "... there aren't even any femmes in the band, let alone violent ones!"
    • Gordon Gano has said that "femme" is, in this case, Wisconsin high school slang for a sissy, which fits the band's nerdish image.
  • Mrs. GREEN APPLE is a band with a male singer.
  • Supermodels From Paris is one guy from Finland.
  • Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson are both men. The former took the name of his former band, the latter decided to confuse things further by making the name apply to both himself and the band (shortened from "Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids").
  • American experimental rock trio Strawberry Girls is an all-male band; they named themselves after a line from the Siouxsie and the Banshees song "Christine".
  • King Avriel is a woman.
  • The Waitresses. Despite the 80s New Wave band name sounding like an all-girl band, only four of its members are female (lead singer Patty Donahue and bassist Tracy Wormworth being the two that appeared in the band's classic lineup).
  • The Vengaboys' group name isn't exactly non-indicative, as the group has male members, but the fact that the lead vocalists of Vengaboys are female makes some people confused about the name.
  • Lady Antebellum is two-thirds male and the closest connection they have to being related to anything antebellum (meaning the time period before a war, most often the American Civil War) is that they're a country group and were raised in Tennessee and Georgia, respectively. Now going by the Officially Shortened Title of Lady A, so one part of that has been addressed.
  • The Beautiful Girls are three men.
  • The Invisible Girls, a studio back-up group including noted record producer Martin Hannett, contained no females, invisible or otherwise.
  • Girls At Our Best was actually an example of Male Band, Female Singer.
  • All members of Iron Maiden are men (of course, the band is actually named after the alleged medieval torture instrument).

     Artists - Non-Indicative Genre 

  • Metal Church is not a Christian act.
  • Eagles of Death Metal don't sound like Eagles, nor do they play Death Metal. Member Josh Homme came up with the name when he was introduced to a song by Polish death metal band Vader and said they were the "Eagles of Death Metal." He then started to wonder what an Eagles-death metal hybrid would sound like and used the name for his new band.
  • Few people would describe Grand Funk Railroad's music as funk. The name was inspired by the Grand Trunk and Western Railroad, which ran through the band's native Flint, Michigan.
  • Acid House Kings have nothing to do with the music genre Acid House. In fact they play indie pop with no traces of electronic dance music whatsoever.
  • Don Johnson Big Band is not actually a big band group, nor does it have anything to do with Don Johnson.
  • Job for a Cowboy is not a country band. They are quite the opposite in fact: they started as a Deathcore band then shifted to Technical Death Metal.
  • With a name like The Darkness, most would assume they'd be a Death Metal or Black Metal band. They're actually very accessible and glammy Hard Rock.
  • The name of Viking Metal band Amon Amarth is taken from The Lord of the Rings, yet aside from their self-titled song, none of their material has anything to do with the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Though they initially formed under the name Scum, they don't appear to have any songs that address politics, misanthropic cynicism or anything else that Napalm Death would use as a lyrical basis.note 
  • UK dance group N-Trance didn't actually produce trance until rather late in their career.
  • Pentatonix doesn't only sing songs with Pentatonic scales. It's a Punny Name from having five members.

     Artists - Non-Indicative Geography 

  • Boards of Canada are from Scotland, not Canada.
  • Of Montreal are not, in fact, of Montreal. They're from Athens, Georgia. The name refers to lead singer Kevin Barnes' ex-girlfriend coming from Montreal.
  • Alabama 3 is a British band, and has way more than three members.
  • The Nashville Teens were not from Nashville, and were not teenagers at the time of their biggest hit "Tobacco Road." They were British and chose their name because they wanted to sound American.
  • The Bay City Rollers were not from any of the several communities named Bay City. They were Scottish and were named when their manager threw a dart at a map of America, which landed on the location of Bay City, Michigan.
  • Mannheim Steamroller is from Omaha. It was named after an orchestral technique innovated in Mannheim.
  • "England Dan" Seals (of England Dan and John Ford Coley) was American. He was given his nickname by friends who thought he looked English. Averted after the duo broke up, with Seals becoming a major country solo act without the "England" moniker.
  • The Takeover UK is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They added the "UK" into their name to avoid a lawsuit with another band called The Takeover.
  • Brazilian Girls contains no Brazilians and only one girl. Their music doesn't have any Brazilian influence either.
  • The Hoosiers are from England, not Indiana; however, the band did form there as both of its members went to college in Indianapolis.
  • Nashville Pussy are actually from Atlanta; they got the name from the intro of Ted Nugent's "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang". Also, the most recognizable women in the band — original members Ruyter Suys (Canada) and Corey Parks (California) — aren't from Nashville either.
  • Likewise, Alabama Thunderpussy is not from Alabama, but rather from Virginia. But unlike the above band, they didn't have any female members.
  • Alt-country group Cross Canadian Ragweed was not Canadian, but rather from Oklahoma. The name was inspired by group member Cody Canada, who isn’t Canadian either.
  • Pirates of the Mississippi, a country music group from the 1990s, were actually from Nashville. And presumably not pirates, although the name came from the fact that they thought the drummer looked like one.
  • The Dresden Dolls are not from Dresden, nor are they dolls. "Dresden" refers to a German city that was bombed in World War II, and produced porcelain dolls before the bombing.
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a band based in and founded by people by New York, composed of just four people. They allegedly chose the name from the Trans-Siberian Railway, 'cause it sounds cool. The "orchestra" part makes sense due to the symphonic influences in their music. The touring groups, however, are big enough to be considered an orchestra.
  • The Beautiful South were from Oop North, specifically Hull.
  • The Utah Saints were not from Utah, but Leeds, England. The name is obviously a reference to Mormons.
  • Manchester Orchestra is in fact a five-piece rock band from Atlanta, Georgia (which is coincidentally 65 miles away from a town named Manchester). The name is a reference to the city in England known for its rich musical history.
  • None of the studio bands that played under the name Ohio Express were from Ohio (they were mostly from New York), and one of the later versions (which would become more famous as 10cc) was British. It was named as such because the original band to play under that name were from Mansfield, Ohio.
  • The band Texas are from Scotland and are not a country band. They took their name from the film Paris, Texas.
  • The psytrance project Texas Faggott is from Finland, not Texas, and they're not gay. Nor are they dry sticks or very large meatballs. Or bassoons.
  • Pure Prairie League is not a temperance union based in North Dakota.
  • Asia is a rock band that started in Britain. However, one of their former band members, Aziz Ibrahim, is of Pakistani ancestry. Also their album Alpha is their second album while Omega is two albums before their final one.
  • America got their start in England, although all three members were sons of American military personnel and two were born in the States. They subverted the trope by relocating to Los Angeles in 1972, shortly after achieving mainstream success.
  • Eddie From Ohio has one Eddie and three non-Eddies; none are from Ohio.
  • Punk Rock band The Bronx was formed in Los Angeles.
  • IOWA is not, in fact, from Iowa, or even the United States. They're Russian (by way of Belarus). They got their name because they're fans of Slipknot, who are from Iowa and had an album named after their home state.
  • Both Birds of Tokyo and Architecture in Helsinki are actually humans from Australia.
  • Similarly, Tokyo Police Club are Canadian and none are members of the police force (or The Police).
  • Disco hitmakers Ottawan weren't from Ottawa, or even from Canada. They were formed in France and fronted by a singer from Martinique.
  • Alternative group Portugal. The Man is originally from Alaska and now based in Oregon.
  • Lights DC (formerly just Lights, but changed to avoid confusion and possibly a lawsuit with the Canadian synthpop diva of the same name) is not from Washington, DC, but from Dublin, Ireland.
  • Bombay Bicycle Club are from London, UK, not the former Bombay (now Mumbai, India), and did not meet through cycling. They're named after a restaurant chain.
  • The Manhattans were from New Jersey. They were named after the cocktail.
  • Chinese Man are three white men from France.

     Artists - Non-Indicative Nomenclature 

  • Hootie & the Blowfish: Hootie does not refer to lead singer Darius Rucker. "Hootie" and "Blowfish" were the nicknames of college friends, none of whom were ever in the band. It remains to be seen whether Rucker's country music solo career (under his own name) will lift the curse of being called "Hootie" for the rest of his life.
  • Echo & the Bunnymen never had a band member named Echo. People think it was the name of the band's drum machine from before Pete de Freitas joined, but the band have denied this.
  • Jethro Tull are a band, rather than an individual, none of whom are actually called "Jethro Tull". The name is taken from that of an 18th-century English agriculturalist. They were so named because in its early days, the band gave many terrible performances, which did not go down well with audiences or club owners. They would constantly have to change their name to ensure getting gigs. One of the band's managers, a well-read man, suggested "Jethro Tull", the name of an author of one of his books. The band finally played a good gig that night, and were booked from then on as Jethro Tull. They were stuck with that name for 42 years and going!
  • There is nobody in the Marshall Tucker Band named Marshall Tucker. They saw the name on a discarded receipt found on the ground in a bar where they were playing. The real Tucker was a blind piano tuner who had done some previous business there.
  • None of The Ramones were actually named Ramone. The name was inspired by Paul Ramon—a pseudonym used by Paul McCartney when The Beatles were performing at the clubs in Hamburg, Germany. They did, however, adopt stage names with "Ramone" as a new surname, zigzagging this trope.
  • Nobody in Sleater-Kinney is named Sleater or Kinney. The band was named for a road near where the members grew up.
  • Billy Talent. They named themselves after a character from the book/mock-rockumentary film Hard Core Logo.
  • '80s band Danny Wilson was named after the Frank Sinatra film Meet Danny Wilson. The band was originally named Spencer Tracy, but Tracy's estate threatened to sue.
  • There is no Lynyrd Skynyrd playing or singing in the band of that name. It refers to high school gym teacher Leonard Skinner, who was strict about boys having short hair.
  • Nobody in Blondie was officially named or nicknamed Blondie, although Debbie Harry was sometimes called that by fans (to her annoyance). It refers to Harry's blonde hair.
  • In the "band names that sound like solo artists" category: Harvey Danger. They claim they just saw it written in graffiti somewhere and thought it sounded cool.
  • The trance act Mark Norman was not actually a person, but two guys named Marcel Woods and Norman Faleng. Confusingly, Norman kept using the name even after Mark quit.
  • Mark-Almond is not a solo artist's name (you're probably thinking Marc Almond, the vocalist of Soft Cell, who went on to have a solo career), but rather an early-'70s band led by Jon Mark and Johnny Almond.
  • Around the same time, and also in the U.K., Clark Hutchinson released a song called "Free to Be Stoned". That was not a solo artist either. They were a band featuring Andy Clark and Mick Hutchinson.
  • No one in the Filipino rock band Parokya ni Edgar (or Edgar's Parish if translated in English) is named Edgar, nor are they fans of Edgar Allan Poe. The band name came from a non-sequitur blurted out by one of their high school classmates in Filipino class.
  • None of The Donnas are actually named Donna, though they did use that first name as a pseudonym for everyone during their early days, with their real-life last initials to differentiate one from the other. They eventually switched to using their real names.
  • Judy and Mary (no one named Judy or Mary was in the band)
  • Fujiya & Miyagi are not a Japanese duo, but rather four white guys from Brighton. "Fujiya" comes from a brand of record player, while "Miyagi" comes from Mr. Miyagi, the character from The Karate Kid.
  • Eddie and the Hot Rods have had 25 different members over the years, none of whom have been named Eddie. Eddie was the name of a dummy that was propped up on stage at some of the band's early gigs, but was discarded after the joke wore thin (which made the name sort of an Artifact Title).
  • Niki and the Dove is a trio, and none of them are referred to as "Niki" or "The Dove". Doesn't stop people from calling frontwoman Malin Dahlström "Niki", though.
  • There is no Eli Young in the Eli Young Band. However, there are a Mike Eli and a James Young.
  • Nobody in the 1960s British band Simon Dupree and the Big Sound is named Simon Dupree. They were, however, led by Derek, Phil, and Ray Shulman, three Scottish brothers who went on to form the prog band Gentle Giant in the 1970s.
  • James, a band (not an individual) from Manchester, England known for their songs "Say Something" and "Sit Down." While their lead singer is named Tim, they do happen to have a James in the band – bassist Jim Glennie.
  • There is no one called Pink Floyd in the band. Founder Syd Barrett named the band after bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Lampshaded in the lyrics for "Have a Cigar" - "Oh, by the way, which one's Pink?" which is something they apparently got asked a lot. The main character of The Wall is named Pink, but his last name is never mentioned.
  • The Ray Charles Singers, a choral group best known for their 1960s hit "Love Me With All Your Heart," had no connection to R&B legend Ray Charles. They were named for their director, a different person who used the same pseudonym.
  • Electronica band Bob Moses is a duo, neither of whom are named Bob Moses. The name is a tribute to mid-20th century New York City planner Robert Moses.
  • UK indie act Solomon Grey enjoy seeing newcomers assuming the name refers to a solo artist, but they're actually a duo, neither of whom is called either Solomon or Grey, but rather Tom Kingston and Joe Wilson.
  • None of the members of 1960s UK freakbeat band Jon are named as such. While Irish singer Jonathan Kelly is often credited as the band's vocalist, thus potentially justifying the band name, this page lists one Chris Simmons as the actual vocalist.
  • None of the members of Canadian folk trio The Wailin' Jennys are named Jenny. It's a Punny Name taken from country music legend Waylon Jennings.
  • Patrick Street, best known outside Irish folk circles for their contribution to the Napoleon Dynamite soundtrack, are not a solo musician, nor are they named for an individual. They're named after... well, a street.

     Artists - Non-Indicative Numbering 
  • The 1940s R&B group The "5" Royales had six members, which is why the "5" was in quotes.
  • Ben Folds Five has three members. While the band name was picked for the sake of humor, Ben Folds has also pointed out that the name just "sounds better" than Ben Folds Three would have, probably due to alliteration.
  • Electric Six originally had five members when they changed their name from The Wildbunch. They eventually got six members by their third album after several lineup changes and have stuck with the number since.
  • Eiffel 65 had only three members. And they were Italian, not French.
  • Pizzicato Five only had five members for a brief period at the start of their career, and were down to a duo by the time of their international breakthrough.
  • At full strength, there are more than five members in the current line-up of gospel greats the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, and not all of them are blind Alabamans. Sadly, they're not really boys these days either. Sheer longevity has made the name less indicative than it was originally.
  • 17 Hippies, which is actually comprised of 13 Germans.
  • The rap group Jurassic 5 had six members.
  • Maroon Five currently has six members.
  • Swedish comedy group Lars Vegas Trio has five members. When asked about it, they explain that it's actually frontman Lars Vegas "and his Trio", and that the fifth man doesn't count.
  • Mojave 3 ceased to be a trio after their first album, adding two members.
  • The band Sleepytime Trio was actually a four-piece throughout almost all their existence, though they started out as a trio and added the fourth member shortly after formation making it more of an Artifact Title.

     Artists - Unrelated Relatives 

  • The Sisters of Mercy consists of several members, but only one of them was female and she was neither a nun nor a sibling to any other member. (They are named after a Leonard Cohen song.)
  • Cocteau Twins had three members most of the time, none of whom were related and none of whom were named Cocteau. They got their name from an early Simple Minds song about a pair of gay men who were big fans of the films of Jean Cocteau.
  • Thompson Twins contained neither any twins nor anybody named Thompson. They were named after two characters from the Tintin comics, who also aren't twins, and only one of whom was called Thompson (the other was Thomson). Confusing enough for you?
    • And to make things even more confusing, the only time when the group had exactly two members was their final years of 1986–1993. They started out with four members and grew as large as seven, but had their greatest commercial success as a trio from 1982–1986.
  • The Righteous Brothers (Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield) were not related by blood. After one performance, an African-American Marine shouted "That was righteous, brothers!" and the name caught on.
  • The Statler Brothers is not composed of brothers named Statler (two of the members are brothers, but the other two are unrelated). They were named after a brand of facial tissue.
  • There was a short-lived country music duo in the 1950s called The Davis Sisters (not to be confused with the gospel group), consisting of Skeeter Davis and Betty Jack Davis. They were not sisters; Skeeter's real name is Mary Frances Penick.
  • Neither the Walker Brothers nor the Davis Sisters were related. The Walker Brothers weren't even called Walker, except as their stage names.
  • Mumford & Sons does include a Marcus Mumford, but the other members are not related to him at all.

     Artists - Accurate, But Confusing 

  • Wilson Phillips isn't the name of a male solo artist, but rather an all-female trio. Their name comes from their last names, being the daughters of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas.
  • It was common in the '60s and '70s for keyboardists to lead eponymous bands, but not sing lead vocals — Manfred Mann (Paul Jones, then Mike D'Abo on lead vocals), Paul Revere and the Raiders (Mark Lindsay), and (Rod) Argent (Russ Ballard) are the most popular examples.
    • Similarly, The Alan Parsons Project was named for its producer, who did not sing on any of the band's songs. And Was (Not Was) was named for founders David and Don Was, who also used several different lead singers.

     Artists - Other 
  • The Alan Bown and Manfred Mann were bands (as indicated by the "The" in the first case). Manfred Mann were named after their keyboardist (real name: Manfred Lubowitz), who later formed Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Thunderclap Newman were also a band, named for their pianist who in turn was named for his heavy-handed playing style.
  • Marina & the Diamonds, LCD Sound System, Owl City, Five For Fighting, Nine Inch Nails, Fort Minor, The Ready Set, Synergy, and Passenger aren't bands. They're oddly-named Stage Names and/or solo projects.
    • Florence + the Machine is a variant: it started as a duo, Florence Welch and Isabella "Machine" Summers. Not only a whole slew of musicians were added, but Florence's prominence makes some consider the band a downright solo project.
    • Foxes is the name of a solo artist, despite being in plural.
  • The Weeknd sounds like the name of an indie rock band, but it's actually the name of a solo R&B singer.
  • The Presidents of the United States of America are just three guys from Washington state.
  • 10,000 Maniacs was named for the B-movie Two Thousand Maniacs!, multiplied by the number of members. Which makes the name non-indicative in another way. Since the name was inspired by one of the original gore films, one might expect a death metal or grindcore band, rather than a fairly laid-back alternative group.
  • DJ BoBo is not a disc jockey.
  • The band 1910 Fruitgum Company is not a company that makes fruit flavored gum and was actually formed in 1965. There was a real 1910 Fruit Gum Company. What were they known for? Slot machines. Slot machines that dispensed gum. This actually made more sense than you might think, as it helped to evade anti-gambling laws. You would put your money in the "gum dispensing machine", and if you won, you'd be paid in cash, under the table, by the proprietor.
  • Old Crow Medicine Show is not a Medicine Show, but an old-time band. Of course, you would often find old-time bands at medicine shows, but that's not really the point.
    • Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show wasn't a Medicine Show, either. Nor was their lead singer a doctor. He was nicknamed because he wore an eye patch that reminded his bandmates of Captain Hook.
  • The 80's Philadelphia band The Hooters were named after the musical instrument, otherwise known as a melodica. Yeah, right.
  • A free concert headlined by Canadian indie folk band The New Pornographers at a semi-Christian college was canceled because one of the elderly heads of the school thought their name was obscene. They're actually named after an obscure Japanese film.
  • Mozart's name derives from two original root words: "motz" and "hart", meaning "stupid" and "tough." It essentially means Dumb Muscle.
  • The rapper Shaggy 2 Dope, of Insane Clown Posse fame, has been bald and clean-shaven for the majority of his career.
  • Frank Beard is the only member of ZZ Top who does not wear a beard. He usually only has a mustache, but has grown a small beard, although not one comparable to Billy Gibbons' and Dusty Hill's.
  • Ariana Grande is barely five feet tall, even though her last name means "large".
  • Eric Singer is the drummer in KISS.
  • The polka band Six Fat Dutchmen had around a dozen members, who were mostly of average build, and were from Minnesota.
  • Alt-country band 5 Chinese Brothers probably takes the cake. Not a quintet, not Chinese and not brothers. They took their name from an American children's book, which was an adaptation of the Chinese folk tale Ten Brothers.
  • When Billy Corgan named his band The Smashing Pumpkins, he specifically intended "Smashing" to be read as an adjective, not a verb. From 1994 onward, all official releases added a "The" prefix to alleviate the constant misreadings.
  • The Pussycat Dolls don't wear cat ears or tails.
  • Rodney Drummer is part of the classic line-up of long-running Japanese funk group Toshinori Kondo & IMA. He's the bassist.

     Musical works 
  • Gioachino Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle ('Little Solemn Mass') isn't particularly small, solemn, or liturgical.
  • Leonard Bernstein's Mass isn't so much sacred music as arguably sacrilegious musical theatre.
  • From the title one might guess Bruce Cockburn's "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" is some sort of funny/parody song, when in fact it is very serious (and rather sad).
  • In the Black Sabbath song "Iron Man" from Paranoid Iron Man seems misnamed. In one lyric states, "He was turned to steel in the great magnetic field" and another describes his "heavy boots of lead." No other lyric but his name suggests that he's pure iron. Of course, being lyrics written by Geezer Butler, the words were obviously selected for rhyme rather than scientific accuracy.
  • "Sing, Sing, Sing" is best remembered as a jazz instrumental, with Gene Krupa's drumming more familiar than the actual tune written by Louis Prima.
  • The Lovers' Concerto is not a concerto but a minuet, based on the Minuet in G, attributed to Christian Petzold.
  • Most recordings of Chopin's "Minute Waltz" are closer to 90 seconds along. Unless you're in The Music Man, in which case you can play the minute waltz in 50 seconds.
    • In this case, it should be pronounced "Mi-NUTE", as in small, not as in a measurement of time.
  • The main key of Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor is D Major. Bach himself called it "Grand Catholic Mass". After studying the Kyrie part (which is in B Minor), a choir leader in 19th century Berlin started referring to it as Mass in B Minor, and the name stuck.
  • "The Hip Hop Phenomenon" by BT isn't hip-hop at all; it's breakbeat. The title comes from the repeated vocal sample in the track.
  • The Dance Dance Revolution song "Hyper Eurobeat" is neither hyper nor eurobeat.
  • Jonathan Coulton's song "You Ruined Everything" is not, in fact, about how the eponymous "you" destroyed the singer's life. Quite the opposite, in fact. It's a love song written for his daughter when he was a new father, about all the adjustments he had to make in his life for parenthood but how it ultimately was all worth it.
    "You ruined everything... in the nicest way."
  • The Warlock song "Three Minute Warning" is only two and half minutes long.
    • Liquid Tension Experiment's "Three Minute Warning" goes the other way and lasts over 27 minutes. The name comes from one of the band members saying that he would walk out if they didn't start jamming in three minutes.
  • In Drake's song "Marvin's Room", Marvin's Room isn't the name of the club he's in and his ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend is not named Marvin. In fact the name Marvin is never mentioned. The name is a reference to Marvin Gaye's music studio, where Drake recorded the song.
    • Similarly, Lil Wayne's "MegaMan" doesn't sample the Mega Man theme; it's just the name of the song's producer. The Young Money camp seems to be sticking with a lot of working titles lately.
  • The Alphaville song "Big in Japan" is about heroin addiction. In the lyrics, one subtle reference to the Bahnhof Zoo train station, infamous in the 1970s as a junkie hangout, is the only real clear clue of the song's actual subject.
  • Covenant's "Theremin" does not use the instrument of the same name, although named after its inventor.
  • The title track of Roxette's album ''Crash! Boom! Bang!" is a soft, slowly building ballad with strings.
  • Despite its rather dark title, "That Finger on Your Temple Is the Barrel of My Raygun" by Stars of the Lid is actually a soothing ambient song.
  • Done deliberately by XTC's "Don't Lose Your Temper", which has the exact opposite premise of what you'd guess of the title: The narrator's girlfriend has a hot temper, which he finds attractive, and he doesn't want her to "lose" it as a trait. Thus "Don't lose your temper / 'cause I'd hate you to grow mild".
  • The Offspring's "Self-Esteem" is actually about the singer's utter lack of self-esteem.
  • Green Day's song "Good Riddance" sounds like it should be loud and angry, but it is a sad, contemplative song that is often played at events like funerals and high school graduations.
  • "Sunrise" by Alphazone was the trance duo's final single, after which they parted ways and rode off into the sunset, so to speak.
  • "11" by Cassadee Pope is actually the 10th track of her album.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long" is a lot more than six words long. Even if you go with the intended joke, it's seven words long (the word "is" is clearly enunciated in the lyrics, not as a part of a contraction with "song").
  • The jazz standard "Mood Indigo" by Duke Ellington has no connection with, and doesn't sound anything like, the early synthpop track "Moog Indigo". In any case, "Moog" (as many electronic-music fans know) rhymes with "vogue", so the intended pun doesn't work.
  • The Marcus Knight dance track "Dirty House Music" (featuring Giulietta on vocals) is neither "dirty" nor House music. It's electro-R&B.
  • "Kids in America" is by a solo artist in Kim Wilde, who was not only 21 when it was released, but also British. It made a lot more sense when No Secrets covered it.
  • The Misfits have numerous songs named after (and written about) horror movies, so you'd think a song of theirs called "Shining" would be about The Shining... Instead, it's about Poltergeist.
  • "Chop Suey" by System of a Down has nothing at all to do with Chinese cuisine. It was originally called "Suicide", but the band changed it because they wanted to make it more radio-friendly.
  • Along the same lines as "Chop Suey" above, the Japanese and English versions of the song "Sukiyaki" have nothing to do with the Japanese dish. The Japanese version (made famous by Kyu Sakamoto) was called that because "sukiyaki" was a Japanese word that Americans recognized. The English version (made famous by A Taste Of Honey) is similar in theme to the original song, but contains completely different lyrics.
  • "Song About a Girl" by Eric Paslay actually barely mentions the girl. It's more about what it's not about than anything.
  • In "The Terrible Secret of Space'' by The Laziest Men on Mars, the Pusher Robot supports shoving, and the Shover Robot supports pushing.
  • "Dark Wave" by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks is an indie rock song, and sounds nothing like the genre Dark Wave - It's possible that the "dark" part comes from the song having a sinister melody, while the "wave" comes from a slight New Wave (or Surf Rock) influence. Also, the Working Title for Stephen Malkmus' Self-Titled Album was Swedish Reggae - supposedly the title was changed because his label was concerned the album might actually be misfiled in the reggae section of record stores.
  • The Kraftwerk song "Endless Endless" is less than a minute long.
  • The song "Catch-22" by Illy doesn't actually establish any way in which the situation is a Catch-22 Dilemma rather than just a Morton's Fork; the problem appears to be that neither of the outcomes is particularly desirable, not that one of the outcomes is impossible to obtain due to how the problem is set up.
  • The Who's "A Quick One, While He's Away" is anything but quick; this "mini-opera" about a woman and her affair with an engine driver clocks in at over nine minutes in length in its original studio version.
  • "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is about not being home for Christmas.
  • Blut aus Nord's song "End" is actually the first song on its respective album, The Work Which Transforms God.
  • Along similar lines, "Ende" ("End" in German) by progressive black metal band Nocte Obducta is the opening movement of their album Sequenzen einer Wanderung, and it lasts for a mere six seconds. It may have been given this title because the album was at the time intended to be their final album (however, they later reunited).
  • Despite its title, "I Believe in Father Christmas" by Greg Lake was not intended to be a Christmas song, despite often being categorised as such. The song was written in protest at the commercialisation of Christmas, and the lyrics are actually about a loss of innocence and childhood belief.
  • Pink Floyd: "The Happiest Days of Our Lives" from The Wall isn't a particularly happy song, what with being about Pink's having to deal with cruel teachers in his youth.
  • The song "Soliloquy" from the musical "Carousel" is actually closer to a recitative than a soliloquy.
  • Madeline Harper Guest has a song called "Mr. Bright Eyes", which sounds like it ought to be a Silly Love Song, but it's actually a verbal No Holds Barred Beat Down of a Break Up Song.
  • The Halloween traditional "The Ghost of John" clearly describes a skeleton.
  • What people think of as the "Peanuts Theme" is actually called "Linus and Lucy".
  • That soft, bell-like music that begins each Harry Potter movie? And several other parts of the piece that always show up in the movies? Yeah, that's "Hedwig's Theme", not Harry's.
  • "Alexander's Ragtime Band" isn't ragtime.
  • "Song Sung Blue" isn't blues.
  • "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" isn't blues.
  • "Hard Rock Cafe" isn't hard rock.
  • The Tom Smith song "Operation: Desert Storm" doesn't have anything to do with The Gulf War, but instead is a song sung from the perspective of Wile E. Coyote.

  • The Led Zeppelin album Houses of the Holy does not have the song "Houses of the Holy" on it. That song would not be released until their next album, two years later.
  • Beck's One Foot in the Grave doesn't feature the song "One Foot in the Grave". That was on the same year's Stereopathetic Soul Manure (and was probably written earlier than anything from One Foot in the Grave itself, as Stereopathetic was a collection of outtakes). Similarly, his song "Midnite Vultures" was a B-Side, and didn't appear on the album Midnite Vultures. Interestingly, "Midnite Vultures" the song wasn't written until after the album of the same name was released - it was composed during sessions specifically designed to create more b-sides for his singles, and ended up with that title simply because Beck couldn't think of anything else.
  • And Tom Waits' song "Frank's Wild Years" is on the album Swordfishtrombones, not "Frank's Wild Years". (The entire album sort of expounds on the earlier song.)
  • The Doors' song "Waiting for the Sun" is on Morrison Hotel, not Waiting For The Sun.
  • Def Leppard's first album, On Through the Night, does not have the song "On Through the Night". It is on their second album, High 'n' Dry.
  • Queen released the album Sheer Heart Attack in 1974. The song "Sheer Heart Attack" was released three years and three albums later on News of the World.
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer's album Brain Salad Surgery was released in 1973, but the track "Brain Salad Surgery" not until 1976, as the B-side of "Fanfare for the Common Man"; it was first issued on a promotional flexidisc before the release of the album, causing fans who'd heard the promo disc to be surprised by its omission.
  • Julian Cope's album World Shut Your Mouth did not contain the title cut, which showed up on his next album (Saint Julian).
  • Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom was named for a track that was left off the original LP, although it is on the reissue's bonus CD. Also, his song "Almost Blue" is on Imperial Bedroom, not Almost Blue.
  • "The Kids Are Alright" might be the best-known The Who song that is not in the film or on the soundtrack album The Kids Are Alright.
  • The Mars Volta did not include "Frances the Mute" into an album of the same name but rather presented their fans with it some time later on "The Widow".
  • The AC/DC song "High Voltage" didn't appear on their debut High Voltage, but rather its follow-up T.N.T. (the foreign version of High Voltage does include it).
  • The 2016 CD release of The Beatles Live At The Hollywood Bowl was subtitled Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years to tie-in with the DVD/Blu-Ray release of the same name which it accompanied — but "Eight Days a Week" isn't on it.
  • Elliott Smith's final album was called Figure 8 - he recorded a cover of the Bob Dorough song of this name around that time, but it wasn't included on the album (which was all self-composed), rather as a B-Side to the single 'Son of Sam' (which refers to a serial killer - Elliott's dad was not Sam Smith.
  • Ween's 12 Golden Country Greats: Surprisingly, the country part is accurate (it was sort of a Something Completely Different turn for them), but the album only has ten songs. The title might be a joke, but it could instead refer to both the 10 songs on the album and two additional songs that were recorded during the same sessions but were used as B Sides. There's even been speculation that the "Golden Country Greats" aren't the songs themselves, but the large group of session musicians the band worked with, all of whom had a long history in country music.
    • A similar example is Throbbing Gristle's third album, 20 Jazz Funk Greats, which originally has 11 songs, all of which were not jazz or funk, but Industrial.
  • NRBQ's album NRBQ at Yankee Stadium is not a live album. NRBQ has never played at Yankee Stadium. The packaging contains pictures of the band at Yankee Stadium, but specifically states that it was "Recorded at Bearsville Studios, November 1977 (not at Yankee Stadium)". Bassist Joey Spampinato has been a lifelong Yankees fan.
  • Phil Ochs' Greatest Hits isn't a Greatest Hits Album, or a compilation of any kind of that matter.
  • The AC/DC album Iron Man 2 is labeled as a soundtrack, but only two songs appear in the film (with one that showed in the previous movie). Also, rather disappointingly it doesn't include a cover of the eponymous Black Sabbath song.
    • '74 Jailbreak is an EP that was released in 1984. However, most of its songs were originally released ten years prior, on the Australian version of their debut album High Voltage; The EP was compiled so these older songs would be commercially available to a growing international audience. Oddly, "Jailbreak" itself is the only song not from 1974, as it was from the Australian version of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (1976) instead.
  • Played with on R.E.M.'s CD Green; the cover is orange and black, but the buyer is intended to stare at it for a long period of time, then quickly look away (preferably to a white surface), at which point they'll be greeted with a green and white afterimage of the artwork.
  • The album Octoberon by Barclay James Harvest was their tenth, not their eighth. It should have been called "Decameron".
    • Unless their intention was, you know, a reference to October, the tenth month of the year.
  • Technically The Moody Blues albums Seventh Sojourn and Octave are their eighth and ninth albums respectively, because their first (unsuccessful) professional era resulted in one album, The Magnificent Moodies. However, most fans regard their true professional life to have started with Days of Future Passed, and thus disregard this album. It's available from
    • Likewise, the Moodies were no longer a blues/blues-rock band by the time Days of Future Passed came out, having shifted to art/prog-rock at that time.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's Polka Party! could be mistaken for a themed compilation like The Food Album and The TV album at first glance, but it's actually a studio album from 1986 that contains the usual single polka, that one being the third Yankovic's career.
  • Stereolab's "Stunning Debut Album". It's actually a 7" single, and the band's second or third release. Their final album Not Music has more music than advertised.
  • The Beach Boys' album Shut Down, Volume 2 - The Shut Down it's supposedly a sequel to isn't a Beach Boys album, but a compilation by various artists that included some Beach Boys songs. It can be kind of confusing to look at a Beach Boys discography and see Shut Down, Volume 2 but no Shut Down, Volume 1.
  • Joan Of Arc's Live In Chicago 1999 is not a Live Album. Word of God is that "live" is meant as in the verb (i.e. it rhymes with "give", not "dive"), and it's just a reference to the fact that the band were all living in Chicago in 1999... Though clearly they were also messing with listeners by calling a studio album such a thing.
  • Penguin Cafe Orchestra's live album When in Rome... was recorded in London.
  • Slip Knot's Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses is the band's fourth album. The name only applies if you discount their 1996 debut Mate, Feed, Kill, Repeat out of being self-released and having a slightly different lineup.
  • Skillet's album Alien Youth has nothing to do with extraterrestrials or ethnic immigrants. The title track and "Earth Invasion" refer to liberal Christian "outsiders" influencing the human race, and even then this concept is exclusive to those two tracks; the rest of the album focuses on spiritual yearning and existential angst.
  • Weezer's album Hurley has nothing to do with the Lost character, nor does it feature Jorge Garcia in any way, other than his picture on the cover. The cover came before the title, and the album was very nearly a Self-Titled Album - but then the band reasoned that it'd probably get a Fan Nickname of "The Hurley Album" if that were the case, so they just named it that way themselves. By supposed coincidence, the band signed an endorsement deal with Hurley, the manufacturer of surfwear, at the same time.
  • Fiery Furnaces' EP is 41 minutes long, and therefor qualifies as more of a short album. However, it was marketed as an EP - that is, its retail price was set lower than is typical for a full album.
  • Duran Duran's third album was called Seven and the Ragged Tiger but no such song actually appears on the album, nor is it about the number seven or a ragged tiger. While there is a track called "Tiger Tiger", there are nine tracks on the album, so why not "Eight and the Ragged Tiger"? Though this could be a slight inversion as the band did in fact compose and record a song called "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" (a demo version exists in lo-fi bootlegged format and features backing vocals by a couple of fortunate fans), but it eventually morphed and developed into "The Seventh Stranger".
  • New Album by Boris is hardly an album and only a third of it was new at the time.
  • The Charlie Zahm album Americana consists primarily of Scottish and English folksongs.
  • Nothing But Noise's debut, Not Bleeding Red, is mostly melodic ambient, rather than dark ambient or industrial noise as their name and history might suggest.
  • Frank Zappa's album Absolutely Free does not feature a track called "Absolutely Free", but We're Only in It for the Money does.
  • Björk's album Debut is actually her second album. Her actual debut has been written out of canon by her.
  • Of the twelve songs on Johnny Cash Sings Hank Williams, only the first four are Hank Williams songs, and only one of the others is even a cover.
  • Men Without Hats had an EP called Folk Of The 80's and an album called Folk Of The 80's (Part III), but there was never officially a Folk Of The 80's (Part II)... However, Part III was their third release overall (not counting singles), so perhaps their first full album, Rhythm of Youth, was supposed to be considered part two.
  • Daniel Amos: In the short story from the ¡Alarma! liner notes, the narrator visits a city named Light Of The World. "It had to be some sort of bizarre joke, as the only light emanating from it was dim and pallid."
  • The Brazilian band Engenheiros do Hawaii, "engineers from Hawaii". For starters, they hail from one of the country's coldest states, and were formed by architecture students (the name mocks the guys from engineering school who wore surf shorts).
  • Sonata Arctica's album Silence is actually mostly quite loud hard rock.
  • More Hits By The Supremes is a regular studio album, not a Greatest Hits Album. Several songs did become hits after being released on the album though.
  • It is not easy to dance to Pink Floyd's A Collection of Great Dance Songs. The album art lampshaded this by featuring ballroom dancers guyed to the ground, and unable to move.
    • The Final Cut is an album of outtakes from The Wall, not an expanded re-release.
  • Alien Ant Farm's first two studio albums are called Greatest Hits and ANThology. It's been speculated that the stylizing in the latter title was Executive Meddling with the aim of allaying confusion.
  • Violent Femmes' 3 sounds like it should be a Chronological Album Title, but is actually their fourth album overall. It's meant to refer to the three members of the band - the previous two albums featured horn sections and other guest musicians, but this was a return to having the music mostly played the group as a trio. Even then it's not strictly accurate, as the studio lineup for 3 also included a keyboardist and saxophonist.
  • The Smithereens' album 11 is not their 11th album. The title is a reference to the movie This Is Spinal Tap—"This one goes to 11."
  • Queen's 1978 album Jazz contains a pretty eclectic range of styles, but no jazz.
  • Ian Brown's second solo album is called 'Golden Greats', but is not a Best Of or Greatest Hits.

  • Jew's harps are not harps, nor are they specifically associated with Jews: the instrument is found in almost all music cultures. It is said that the name comes from the french "jeu-trompe," which means "toy trumpet."
  • The French horn is not French. It was named to differentiate it from the English horn, which, in turn, is not English—it got its name from a mishearing of the French for "angled horn".
    • Furthermore, the English horn is not even a horn. (It's a double-reed woodwind most closely related to the oboe.)
  • The Russian Bassoon is a brass instrument that originated in France, making it neither Russian nor a bassoon. The name originates from a corruption of the more accurate term "Prussian bass horn", earned due to its use by Prussian Army marching bands.
  • The P.D.Q. Bach instrument known as the "windbreaker" in no way resembles a jacket; its alternate name "mailing tuba" is more accurate. Actually, it's named after what it sounds like.
  • There is a category of instrument called woodwind. While most of them are actually made of wood, the flute, which is usually made entirely out of metal, is also included in this category. The saxophone is also considered a woodwind because it uses a reed, but many people mistakenly call it a brass instrument because it has a brass body.
  • Synthesisers contain analytic components such as filters, although the way they work is mostly synthetic.

     Music technology 
  • The LAME MP3 encoder isn't at all lame — it's renowned for excellence. Also, the name stands for LAME Ain't an MP3 Encoder, making it doubly misleading.
  • Orange amps also come in black.
  • The tremolo bar on guitars is actually a vibrato bar; tremolo refers to fluctuations in volume, while vibrato refers to fluctuations in pitch. The misnomer was popularized by Leo Fender, who had a talent for designing guitars, but was never actually a guitarist.

  • It's a well-worn observation that British DJ Dr. Fox is neither a real doctor nor a real fox (that would be bizarre).
  • It also bears mentioning that Dr. Dre is not currently licensed to practice medicine in California, nor in any other state.
  • Nor was Dr. John licensed to practice medicine in his home state of Louisiana, or any other one.
  • The Talking Heads concert film/album Stop Making Sense takes its name from the chorus of a song that is actually titled "Girlfriend Is Better".
  • A set of humorous Christian album covers making the rounds on the internet included a gospel quartet named "The King's Three", and a sermon by a middle-aged man entitled "Confessions of a Teenage Girl".
  • The vehicle pictured on the cover of The Black Keys' CD El Camino is a Plymouth Grand Voyager.
  • While Italo Disco originated in Italy, most of its performers are not Italian. Many of its performers are actually from Germany.
    • Eurodance and eurorap aren't always from Europe, either. There is a compilation called "Best of Euro Rap" note  that includes a few tracks by Coolio, who is actually an American rapper who happened to make songs in this style. Eurorap music had not been named until it was no longer mainstream, so this certainly irritated some people.
  • A Boy Band isn't really a "band", since they usually don't play their own instruments. "Male vocal group" would be more accurate. The term is just Added Alliterative Appeal to go with Girl Group.


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