(ANIMAL KINGDOM/CULTURE) Global Animal picks the top 16 rock band names inspired by animals. From The Beatles to Fleet Foxes, to bands named after animals like whales, birds, monkeys, these animal bands rock (sorry, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus).
The first step for any band on the path to world domination involves choosing a great name. A rock band’s name is its badge of honor, its moniker.
In the picture gallery below, we salute 16 of the awesomest animal band names ever.
16. A Flock of Seagulls
Whenever British bands invade American shores, they seem to bring two things: great music and a unique haircut. A Flock of Seagulls especially brought the latter. Mike Score may now be bald, but his hair belongs to the ages.
Best Song: “I Ran (So Far Away)”
15. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Some bands leave the spotlight, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Oasis was no such band. From their inception in 1993, what gave Oasis their edge was the combustible relationship between brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher who, unlike the Klitschko’s, were none to shy from going toe to toe. Dozens of fights and a smashed guitar later, Oasis finally imploded. Out of that wreckage sprung Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Now that’s rock n’ roll.
Best Song: “The Death of You and Me”
14. Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes come from a musical lineage that is among the best in rock n’ roll. Hailing from Seattle and signed to the Sub Pop label, like their Seattle predecessors of the early 90s, they have gained commercial success and garnered rave reviews.
Best Song: “Blue Ridge Mountains”
13. Noah and the Whale
Admit it, you read this name and you imagined Noah inside the whale. The only problem is that it was Jonah who was swallowed by the whale, not Noah. What seems like a biblical reference at first glance turns out to be a reference to the band’s favorite film, The Squid and the Whale and the director’s first name, Noah.
Best Song: “5 Years Time”
Before Damon Albarn payed homage to Dirty Harry himself, with his cartoon band Gorillaz, he was waging musical war on America and Oasis with his band Blur. While Blur managed to achieve commercial success in the UK, it was with Gorillaz that Albarn broke America and transcended from Oasis’ shadow.
Best Song: “Clint Eastwood”
Let’s face it, you think of doves and you think of a beautiful white bird carrying an olive branch bringing peace to the world. So if a band decides to dub themselves Doves, they must be the most softacular rock n’ roll band out there, right? Wrong. Despite their name, Doves are far from soft, and for that reason alone, the band belongs on this rockin’ list.
Best Song: “Black and White Town”
If a dove symbolizes peace and love, then an eagle symbolizes power and war. The Eagles’ sound however, despite their predatory name, may not have been representative of power and war per se, but the band did manage to release the best selling album of the 20th century. Their brand of classic rock has certainly proven everlasting—now that’s worthy of an eagle!
Best Song: “Hotel California”
9. Echo & the Bunnymen
Like A Flock of Seagulls, Echo & the Bunnymen were a product of post punk Liverpool. Unlike A Flock of Seagulls, Echo & the Bunnymen produced a real gem of a song.
Best Song: “The Killing Moon”
8. Stray Cats
What does it say about the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame when a band that played the purest form of rock n’ roll can’t even sniff a nomination? Led by guitar hero Brian Setzer, the Stray Cats were rockabilly revivalists who brought all the best parts of the 1950s without needing 1.21 gigawatts.
Best Song: “Rock this Town”
7. The Animals
Despite scoring 10 Top 20 hits in the UK and the US and recording the definitive version of “House of the Rising Sun,” The Animals’ most important contribution may have been their dubious influence on “I am the Walrus.” If Eric Burdon is telling the truth, he is the eggman, goo goo g’joob.
Best Song: “We Gotta Get Out of this Place”
6. The Byrds
If The Byrds would have had to pick one bird as their band name, it would have probably been the Vultures. As Peter, Paul and Mary discovered in mid 1963, one of the easiest ways to score a hit in the early to mid 60s was to cover a Bob Dylan song. The Byrds didn’t just cover Dylan, they built their careers of his back. They were so successful in this endeavor that they earned themselves a shoutout by none other than Elvis himself during his famed 68′ Comeback Special. Well played Byrds, well played.
Best Song: “Mr. Tambourine Man”
5. Def Leppard
First things first, the members of Def Leppard can’t spell and their name is an oxymoron. Leopards actually have great hearing. But at least these prophets of hair metal were better than Duran Duran, right? Right?
Best Song: “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
4. T. Rex
Tyrannosaurus Rex is a painful name to write (and spell) and a mouthful to say, so when Marc Bolan shortened the name in the early 70’s it was a gift to all involved. With the new name came a new sound and look. Gone with the acoustic, folksy, hippy Tyrannosaurus Rex, and in with the glam rock, eyeliner- and mascara-wearing, chart-topping T. Rex.
Best Song: “Children of the Revolution”
3. The Monkees
What happens when you breed four actors, talented songwriters, and network television? You get The Monkees and some of the best pop songs from the 1960s. The Monkees were conceived as a Beatles clone, but by 1967 they were a musical force in their own right. The best part? Unlike their namesakes, they didn’t stink or toss feces everywhere.
Best Song: “Cuddly Toy”
With just one song, Steppenwolf spoke for freedom, independence, and rebellion. Born to be Wild is a classic on its own, but when you throw in Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper on top of two American-made motorcycles like a couple of lone wolves, you have the definition of legendary. So get rid of your watch and throw caution to the wind, Steppenwolf have set us free.
Best Song: “Born to be Wild”
1. The Beatles
Legend has it that when John Lennon was twelve, a man on a flaming pie appeared to him in a vision and said, “You are Beatles with an a.” However, the truth of how the Beatles acquired their name lies somewhere in between Marlon Brando’s The Wild One and the Crickets. But in any case, The Beatles have so thoroughly co-opted the word beetle that you would think the animal was named after the band. It goes to show the magnitude of a band who continue to bring joy to millions.
Best Song: “Across the Universe”