• 09.30.13

Taxonomy Of A Band Name Charts Offer A Visual Reminder That Every Band Name Is Kind Of Silly

Only when you place The Beatles in context on a gorgeous chart next to Konono No. 1 and Slightly Stoopid do you realize that it’s just another dumb misspelling.

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If you’re a music nerd who puts the emphasis on “nerd,” congratulations: You’ve just lost an hour of your workday to poring over this beautifully designed infographic that tracks band names in a variety of well-organized categories. Fancy a look at every band with a dumb spelling, in chronological order, from The Beatles to Boyz II Men to CHVRCHES? Have at it. Notice the ’00s-era trend of bands whose name start with the word “Crystal”? Enjoy a visual representation of the fact that Crystal Castles, Crystal Skulls, and Crystal Antlers are merely carrying on a tradition started by Crystal King in the early ’80s (and by The Crystals in the late ’50s, if they count). It’s all the work of Ben Didier, a graphic designer at Canadian broadcaster CBC.


The charts are all definitely cool, at least in the sense that a music nerd might use the word: the map that tracks which locations are most frequently cited in band names point heavily toward a bias in the direction of the Eastern half of the United States (Chicago! Boston! Miami Sound Machine! Nashville Pussy! Alabama Shakes!), while aside from Adelaide and Grong Grong, Australia is largely neglected. Animal names are depicted by species, with the countless Wolf bands spiraling a lupine icon (for some reason Los Lobos doesn’t make the cut, though spotting gaps in what seems to be an exhaustively researched project is something else to make poring over the charts a fun way to spend the afternoon).

In all, the Taxonomy of Band Names is a pretty awesome reminder of the curious dual nature of naming a band: Every band name is kind of terrible, and also kind of awful, and it’s the context provided by their music that really makes you decide whether or not you have a positive association when you hear it.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.