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Best 15 Bands Named After Sounds

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Andrew Rigley and Some Other Guy Made Some Noise as Wham!


When they sang about skyrockets in flight, the Starland Vocal Band was referring to something other than fireworks. Keep that fact in mind when you decide to create a play list for your Fourth of July party, a well-anticipated affair after the holiday was canceled by the pandemic of 2020.

Whatever songs you happen to play, make sure you keep it low. After all, you do not want to drown out the delightful sounds crated by the fireworks, which are almost as intoxicating as the sights themselves.

Those sounds have inspired some groups when it came time for them to choose a name, leading to numerous examples of band onomatopoeia. That literary device occurs whenever the word is based on the sound it makes, such as the three mascots in the classic Rice Krispies ads (Snap, Crackle, Pop).

Here are fifteen of the most well-known onomatopoeiac band names, starting with one who could also be considered an interjection because of its end punctuation.

1. Wham!

George Michael told us to wake up before we go-go, and boy did we listen to him. The song was ubiquitous in 1983, and its video led to the fad of those large white t-shirts he wore in the accompanying video.

2. Be Bop Deluxe

Comparisons to T. Rex or Mott the Hoople, or even David Bowie were inevitable, for Bill Nelson's band had characteristics of a similar British glam rock sound in the early Seventies.

3. The Goo Goo Dolls

“I don't want the world to see me, cause I don't think that they'll understand,” guitarist John Rzeznik sings on the chorus of “Iris,” just one of the band's half dozen hits during the Nineties.

4. Bow Wow Wow

Best known for their cover of “I Want Candy,” yet the musicians were not dogs but the Ants that used to back Adam and the Ants.

5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

David Bowie and David Byrne regularly attended the shows, so it was only a matter of time before Alec Ounsworth garnered a large following in the first decade of the century.

6. Buzzcocks

Two of their best songs are “You Say You Don't Love Me” and “Ever Fallen In Love”, but front man Pete Shelley wrote plenty of other songs that live on in late Seventies punk lore.

7. Sniff 'n' the Tears

One hit wonders these pop rockers became, thanks to the tremendous success of “Driver's Seat.”

8. The Clash

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British punk of the late Seventies would not be as memorable had this quartet not been at its forefront, immortalizing the genre with albums like Sandanista and Combat Rock.

9. Smashmouth

After they suggested walking on the sun, this mainstream rock outfit made the charts with “All-Star” as well as a cover of The Monkees' “I'm a Believer.”

10. Iggy Pop

David Bowie helped propel the career of this front man of the Stooges, who are still esteemed for discs like Lust For Life and The Idiot.

11. The Click Five

Associations with power pop act Fountains of Wayne as well as Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley give you an idea of how this quintet got its sound.

12. The Boo Radleys

Wake Up hit number one on the album charts in 1995, thanks in part to its title track.

13. The Blasters

The Alvin brothers navigated easily among punk, country, and mountain music, peaking with the 1985 album Hard Line.

14. Hootie and the Blowfish

Current country star Darius Rucker got his start fronting this pop group, whose hits “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Let Her Cry” made Cracked Rear View the album of the year in 1995.

15. Crash Test Dummies

Their delicious title “Mmmmm Mmmm” hit the top ten in 1993, getting a new boost a year later when Weird Al Yankovic parodied it with “Headline News.”

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