The legendary band from which Radiohead takes its name

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Inspiration for a band or artist name can come from anywhere. It can be a youthful nickname, a coat rack of two completely different things, or even where they were born or live – just like the art of writing a song, choosing a name is fluid, not really limited by all borders.

However, since musicians are, by definition, music lovers, much of the time they choose a name, that name comes from a song, whether it is favorite or not. The number of iconic groups that have chosen their name based on a song is innumerable. Everyone from the Rolling Stones to Bad Brains and even Judas Priest all got their name from the material of an idol.

It makes sense, and if you go to your local concert hall any night of the week to watch live music, you’re sure to find bands with names like “Live Forever” and “Lithium”. “. For musicians, this is an open opportunity to express your personal admiration, paying homage to your heroes.

Another group that took this route was Radiohead. It may be surprising to find that the world’s most unique rock band is not a fountain of complete originality. For anyone shocked, be sure to check out the similarities between their hit “Creep” and Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood’s 1972 hit “The Air That I Breathe”. Also, their first record, Pablo Honey, is in many ways just another 90s alternative rock effort.

From their incarnation, Radiohead initially worked under the name “On a Friday”. One of the worst band names we’ve ever heard; it is not surprising that they chose to abandon it. The band chose their first nickname after the day of the week they rehearsed. However, when it came to signing a major recording deal, Thom Yorke and the others realized that the name, in fact, sucked. Ultimately, label reps told them they had to drop the nickname or not sign.

Struggling to conjure a name to suit their outfit, the group looked to the past for their light bulb moment – and top marks if you guessed it correctly. The song is ‘Radio Head’ by New York icons Talking Heads. From the band’s seventh album, 1986s True stories, the track is a funky and obscure number.

Talking Heads were one of the most experimental and pioneering bands of the 1970s and 1980s, and they had a major impact in shaping the creative vision of Radiohead, among countless others. In their early days, Talking Heads was one of the Oxford band’s biggest influences, which begs the question: why haven’t you ever wondered why they have so many polyrhythms? It is also said that in their early days the band then known as “On a Friday” also employed a brass section in an attempt to reproduce David Byrne and Co.

When forced to find a new name or lose everything, Radiohead has turned to their loyal heroes. Given Radiohead’s penchant for the quirky and wacky lyricism of David Byrne, for anyone looking for a band name, Talking Heads lyrics seem like a good place to start. A shiny coat rack, what a critical decision it was.

Ironically, it was David Byrne who inducted the band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. See this clip below.

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