The band whose name titles this post was founded in 1965 by two blues enthusiasts, Alan Wilson and Bob Hite, who took the name from Tommy Johnson’s 1928 song “Canned Heat Blues”, a song about an alcoholic who had desperately turned to drinking Sterno, generically called “canned heat”.
I loved this band but what stood out most for me was their name.
What’s in a name?
I think a lot is in a name. Whether it’s the name of a product, a book, or a musical group, the name can signify to us a feeling, a vibe, or an emotion. Most importantly, it can often set an expectation. Before reading up on the origins of Canned Heat’s name, I had always assumed it referred to the musical heat they generated. The fact I was incorrect didn’t much matter. I expected musical heat and the band always delivered.
Some group names are memorable on their own without evoking emotion: Iron Butterfly, Kraftwerk, Genesis.
For the most part, great bands have great names.
What are some of your favorites?
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