A$AP Mob

New York hip-hop collective. A$AP Bari, one of its founders, describes in this interview how they came up with the name: “One day, we were all in Wendy’s in SoHo. [I said] ‘We should just be called PIF Unit.’ The s**t was like, Paid In Full, something. So one day, Yams was like, ‘F**k that. We’re called A$AP.’ I was like, ‘What the f**k that mean?’ He was like, ‘Always Strive And Prosper.’ I was like, ‘You know what, Yams? That s**t is too hard.’ “


There’s Abba, the Swedish seafood company, and then there’s ABBA, one of the most successful pop acts of all time. The name is an acronym, spelling out the first names Agnetha, Benny, Björn, and Anni-Frid, and a palindrome (the same backwards as forwards). Benny had been in The Hep Stars (“the Swedish Beatles”) and Björn was a member of The Hootenanny Singers, so the new name was a big improvement. Alternative suggestions put forward in a newspaper competition included Alibaba, Baba, and FABB. Everyone, including the seafood company, loved ABBA. If you love them too, just say Thank You For the Music.

The Abstracts

Fifties doo-wop quartet whose lineup included John Phillips and a bloke called Philip Wallace Blondheim Jr who, after The Abstracts had become The Smoothies, changed his own name to Scott McKenzie. He and Phillips later formed The Journeymen before, having declined the chance to join Phillips in The Mamas & The Papas, McKenzie found international fame by recording the flower power anthem San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair).

Aerosol Burns

Named after this 1978 song by Essential Logic (Lora Logic’s post-X-Ray Spex outfit), Aerosol Burns describe themselves as “a three-piece playing fierce garage-bound heartbreak power pop”, which seems to cover most of the bases. Here is their very first single, Afraid of the Phone.



An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump

Named, rather clumsily, after Joseph Wright of Derby’s 1768 painting (right). Members: C-Bird, D-Bird and X-Bird. Like most bands featured in The Guardian’s new band of the week slot (in 2009), little heard of since. But here they are, looking and sounding pretty good.

And And And

No, not the one in The Commitments. A real band, based in Portland, Oregon, who describe themselves on their website as “everyday misfits who happen to have a pretty interesting band”. Well, they have a cool name. Their latest album is called The Failure.


After All Saints split up in 2001, Natalie and Nicole Appleton began performing as a duo and recorded a successful album, Everything’s Eventual. Nicole told viewers to the BBC’s Frank Skinner show in 2002 why they removed the S from their name: “It’s harder. It’s stronger. It’s a statement, instead of, like, ‘Appletons’.” All Saints reformed in 2006. And in 2013.