This Friday would have been Z.Z. Hill's 76th birthday, but the popular Texas bluesman passed away in 1984 from a heart attack. Most people only know who the late soul crooner is through his connection to ZZ Top. The moniker of that little ol' band from where we are sitting right now is a reference to Hill, and the "Top" is a nod to B.B. King being on "top."
So of course this week for Craig's Hlist - which was on a vacation while we dealt with ACL and BestFest - digs into other bands named after real people. Repeat: Real people, outside the band itself. No fictional characters, though thinking about Mr. T as a "real" person hurts our head.
For instance, the name Fleetwood Mac comes from band members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, so they don't work. Fun fact: Danzig is named after Glenn Danzig.
We all know that Lynyrd Skynyrd comes from Leonard Skinner, the band's PE coach who didn't like the longhairs. Pink Floyd's name is a mash-up between bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Jane's Addiction refers to a friend of the band who was a drug addict, and Pearl Jam comes from the jam that Eddie Vedder's Grandmother Pearl made.
Houston's own Riverfenix changed their name to Fenix TX to avoid trouble with River Phoenix's family. The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre should be easy enough for you to understand, same with the Dead Kennedys. Marilyn Manson got his name by mashing up the names of Shirley Manson and '80s Solid Gold host Marilyn McCoo, right?
Some names reference criminals; Brit-rockers Kasabian who chose their name in honor of Manson family getaway driver Linda Kasabian. The Dillinger Escape Plan and the Dillinger Four were both referencing Depression-era robber John Dillinger. Molly Hatchet was a real person, a hooker who killed and mutilated her male victims.
It gets harder to track with hip-hop and rap, but of course there is Jim Jones, Scarface, Kenn Starr, Lee Harvey, Gucci Mane, and... oh man we almost typed Snoop Dogg. What, really? Did we almost confuse a cartoon dog for a human person?
It took us five years after "Lit Up" was released to realize that Buckcherry was just a play on Chuck Berry.
Check out our ongoing playlist of bands on the next page.
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