1) King Crimson
Drummer Bill Bruford once said that “Everything you’ve heard about King Crimson is true; it’s an absolutely terrifying place”. And indeed, right from the very start, Robert Fripp and his colleagues set a dark (almost hell-ish), distant and mystifying image for themselves. The very proof of that is their chosen name – a historical term used to describe the most merciless of the kings. Lyricist Peter Sinfield came up with it, and also claimed it to be a synonym for Beelzebub, the prince of demons. Me, I’ve never been able to fully understand the direct connection between the two, but hey, the point is made anyway: these guys definitely ain’t messin’ ’round!
In 1968, Jonathan King (former student and new to the music business), signed the band that would in short time become Genesis, after being impressed by one of the band’s shows and a tapeful of recorded songs. Apparently, he viewed their style as something fresh and original, thus picked a name for the band that, according to his own words, “suggested the beginning of a new sound and feeling”. King also produced the band’s first album, ‘From Genesis To Revelation’.
Dee Dee, the band’s bassist, was the first member to adopt ‘Ramone’ as a stage name. The origins of the pseudonym, believe it or not, go back to The Beatles’ early days (pre-1960), time when Paul McCartney used it as an alias (no “e” though, just Paul Ramon). There are some questions I’ve yet to find the answer to, though. How was Dee Dee aware of such an obscure fact? And why did the rest of the members adopt it as a surname as well? Well, okay, the last one’s got a few theories. An attempt at creating a sense of unity and friendship would naturally come to mind. I’ve also read about how it was actually a parody on contemporary family-music acts such as The Jackson 5 or The Osmonds. Considering that this is Ramones we’re talking about, I would not be surprised at all if this turned out to actually be true.
4) The Doors
Though it may seem the most randomly picked name ever, there is an actual meaning behind “the doors”. The mid 60’s – with psychedelia in its full blossom – was the time of lyrical metaphors regarding drugs-induced experiences, if there ever was one. So it comes as no wonder that the main inspiration behind the band’s name is the book ‘The Doors of Perception’, whose subject deals with mescaline trips. Going back even further, we find out that the phrase was first used in an 18th-century poem called ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’ (“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.”). Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?…
No? Ok then.