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The A-Z of Names in Rock provides the answers to one of the great questions in contemporary music: “Why are they called that?”

 And yet so often it goes unanswered. 

Just read a music magazine, listen to the radio, watch MTV or surf the Internet and it won’t be too long before you end up baffled at the variety of ridiculous names which bands and stars insist on calling themselves. 

  •  Why were The Beatles called that?
  •  How did Nirvana, Oasis, Blur, Pulp and Suede arrive at their names?
  •  Why should a band whom everyone knew decide to stick to the name The Who?
  •  Why did she become Madonna?    How did he become Moby?
  •  What of the teen idols: Take That, Wham!, Duran Duran, Boyzone?
  •  How did Paul Hewson become Bono?    And his group become U2?
    Did they ever work as Pet Shop Boys?
  •  Who or what really inspired Bob Zimmerman to become Bob Dylan?    Reginald Dwight to  
     (Sir) Elton John?    Dave Jones to David Bowie?    Harry Webb to (Sir) Cliff Richard?
  •   Who, or what, are Eurythmics?
  •   Why should anyone wish to embarrass their fans who had to ask for records in shops  byThrobbing Gristle or The The?    Or embarrass themselves by naming The Morons?
  •  What is a Sex Pistol?    A Led Zeppelin?    What is a Stone Rose?    An Aztec Camera?    A  Rolling Stone?   A Manic Street Preacher?   A Prefab Sprout?    A Strawberry Alarm Clock?    Or a Quiet Riot?

Read the book to see that the replies given are sometimes controversial, often hilarious, frequently revealing and usually enthralling to these musicians’ followers.

It should solve many arguments and satisfy the curiosity of those who are baffled at the variety of occasionally ridiculous choices that musicians select to call themselves. 

It should allow you to effortlessly explain the origin of band/star aliases - to amaze your friends and win new ones at parties ... and has enough “did you know/ not a lot of people know that” bizarre facts to bore the pants off anyone who isn’t interested in music.

A lot of pub quizzes include name questions so it could be useful for entrants to such contests as well as addicts of Trivial Pursuits questions. 

Its goldmine of useless information will prove an education on subjects as varied as prehistoric dinosaurs (T. Rex), Gaelic swear- words (Pogue Mahone) medieval torture machines (Iron Maiden), U.S.A. television comedy shows of the 1960s (The Lucy Show) novels (Moby, Grateful Dead), movies (Travis, Sleeper), birdwatching (The Orioles, The Nightingales) science fiction (The Human League) and bizarre sexual practices with rodents (allegedly, The Pet Shop Boys).

This is a much-needed book: for the millions who have followed David Bowie/ the Sex Pistols/ the Velvet Underground / Frankie Goes To Hollywood/ etcetera without knowing the full story behind the name… here is an entertaining A-Z of answers. 

Other works are badly-dated or confined to listing real names of individual stars, without answering the more interesting question of where the new stage name comes from. Many newspaper and magazine articles on new bands indulge in lots of irrelevant material such as identifying their favourite foods, drink or hairdresser without answering the question of why they chose their crazy nom de noise

The author travelled thousands of miles, scanned countless yellowing newspaper clipping and contacted many record companies and agents in a bid to reveal some answers in the 2,440 entries. 

The result deals with mainstream rock and pop for the most part. Many artists from other genres, such as soul, reggae, country, blues, folk, jazz, heavy metal, grunge, rap and so on are also included where they are particularly well-known or where there is a good story behind their name.