#6. Dexys Midnight Runners
Dexys Midnight Runners were that band with the dungarees and the catchy hit "Come on Eilleen," which you'll recall is just about the 80siest song imaginable.
The guys had admitted to naming their band after the drug Dexedrine, the prescription stimulant which is also a semi-popular way to get out of your head for a spell. The "midnight runners" comes from the ability of Dexedrine users to dance all night. Interestingly, the band itself was completely clean and even banned alcohol from concerts. Why a completely clean band would name themselves after the positive effects of a drug is beyond us. If you were anti-drug wouldn't you play up the downsides of drug use? Dexys Freaking Out In The Toilets. Dexys Giving Backrubs to Strange Dudes Again. Dexys Just Barfed All Over my Members-Only Jacket. Etc.
Motörhead is a British rock band whose success in the 70s and 80s helped redefine heavy metal. They have a bit of a reputation, too--Motörhead's founder, Lemmy, has stated that his aim was for the group to be "the dirtiest rock n' roll band in the world." "If Motörhead moved in next to you, your lawn would die."
While it sounds like a pretty straightforward band name, motor-head is actually the equivalent to the American term "speed freak," a slang term for an amphetamine user. Rumors about whether this implied members of Motörhead participated in drug use have dogged the band to this day.
#4. Cheap Trick
Everyone here at Cracked recognized the name, but we actually had to look up just why exactly we'd heard of Cheap Trick before. Oh that's right. They sang "The Dream Police."
Heh. Their drummer looks like a vacuum salesman.
And how did they come up with the name? Supposedly they were visiting a psychic's house and asked a Ouija board what they should call their band. Another, better band, Alice Cooper, has a similar story, which makes us wonder how often bands consult the spirits for such a critical decision. And spirits, if you're reading this, have you ever tried fucking with these bands before? Like spell out "Dink Fidgeters" or something?
#3. Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin was a British rock band who in the 70s repeatedly and flagrantly rocked the world so fucking hard that scientists can still detect residual vibrations in the Earth's mantle to this day.
The phrase "lead balloon" has commonly been used to describe an ill-conceived idea, or one whose failure is both predictable and inevitable. The name then allegedly arose when Keith Moon, after being invited to drum for the band, thought the idea would go over like a "lead zeppelin"--Moon evidently modifying the common phrase after observing that zeppelin's were quite large. Reportedly Jimmy Paige liked the phrase so much, he took it for the band's name. The decision to misspell it was made because they thought Americans would be stupid enough to mispronounce the word "lead." Running a Website with a functioning comments section as we do, Cracked.com officially has a hard time disagreeing with this theory.
#2. Velvet Underground
More influential than successful, The Velvet Underground are often called one of the most important and influential groups of their era by whoever last updated their Wikipedia page.
The name stems from the title of an S&M book a band member found on a sidewalk in New York. The book itself describes the underground sexual scene in 1960s America. We're not sure what the sexual underground of the 60s looked like, but we're guessing the book was primarily comprised of mustache grooming tips and maps to funky smelling basements.
"It's me again."
#1. Steely Dan
Steely Dan were a jazz rock duo popular in the late 70s with people who are probably pretty old by now. When asked to name a single Steely Dan song, the closest any Cracked staffer could come was "the one with the notes."
Despite their under appreciation by snot-nosed punks like us, we can still appreciate the story of how they got their name, because it is solid fucking gold. The phrase is taken from a passage in the William Burrough's book Naked Lunch. Steely Dan is the nickname given to a giant steam-powered dildo. It gets crazier: as explained in the book, there's actually been an entire series of Steely Dans. Notably, the first one was crushed by an evil German bulldyke prostitute using her hoo-ha.
So, until a band becomes famous while calling themselves the Deep Fisting Shit Fiends, or perhaps Elvis Costello's Deep Fisting Shit Fiends, Steely Dan will remain the craziest band name out there. We congratulate the band on their success. If a representative wants to drop by our offices, they can collect their prize: a printscreen of this Webpage folded into a letter-sized envelope.
For more musical trivia (likely stemming from a combination of cocaine and hookers' asses), check out The 6 Most (Certifiably) Insane Tales of Rock Star Behavior and 5 Massive Hit Songs That Almost Didn't Get Released.
And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks to see how we got our name that had absolutely nothing to do with crack-cocaine until Jack took over.