Nine Bands with “Front Men” Who Don’t Actually Exist

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Surely by now you know that there's nobody named Pink Floyd; Syd Barrett named his band after American bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. (Jethro Tull and Rilo Kiley were similarly named for obscure historical figures.) But perhaps you were once fooled, like me, into believing that these nine bands' fictional frontmen were real.

  1. Echo & the Bunnymen. Vocalist Ian McCulloch never went by the nickname "Echo". Despite lore, neither did the drum machine that served as the band's drummer until they hired a human one. Guitarist Will Sergeant says their name was just one of many suggested by a friend.
  2. Hootie & the Blowfish. Front man Darius Rucker is not "Hootie". His group is not "the Blowfish". They were two nicknames of the original band members' college classmates.
  3. Herman's Hermits. For these British Invasion heartthrobs, it's said that a bartender told boyish singer Peter Noone that he looked like Sherman, of Mr. Peabody and Sherman fame. "Sherman" somehow became "Herman" and Noone adopted the sobriquet.
  4. Dexys Midnight Runners. The giveaway here is the lack of an apostrophe in "Dexys", a detail few casual listeners catch. Kevin Rowland's combo, known for their sole hit "Come on Eileen", took their name from Dexedrine, once a popular club drug.
  5. Derek and the Dominos. Eric Clapton's short-lived blues group – they gave us "Layla" – was, according to one story, originally Eric and the Dynamos, but an announcer flubbed the name and it stuck. A conflicting story is that Clapton sometimes went by the nickname "Del", and "Derek" was simply an amalgam of his first name and nickname. (In this version, the Dominos were always the Dominos.)
  6. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. This 21st century LA band is fronted by Alex Ebert, not Edward Sharpe. Sharpe was a fictional character in a story written by Ebert.
  7. Ned's Atomic Dustbin. This early '90s band may be better remembered for their goofy name than for their modest alt-rock hits "Not Sleeping Around" and "Kill Your Television". Anyway, there's no Ned here; the name came from an episode of the 1950s British radio comedy The Goon Show, where Peter Sellers got his start.
  8. Belle and Sebastian. Technically, there was a Belle in Belle and Sebastian: early member Isobel Campbell. But front man Stuart Murdoch took the name from a 1967 children's book by French author Cécile Aubry. In fact, Belle et Sébastien, about a boy and his dog in WWII, became a feature film in 2013.
  9. Jimmy Eat World. There is a Jim in this still-gigging '90s band – Jim Adkins – but the name came from the younger brother of fellow member Tom Linton. As the story goes, Linton's other brother Ed, then 8 years old, angrily drew greedy young Jimmy Linton devouring planet Earth, and added this caption.