Before, like Sheena, they became punk rockers, Joey had been in Sniper; Johnny and Tommy in The Tangerine Puppets. Dee Dee was the first to call himself Ramone, after Paul Ramon, a Paul McCartney pseudonym first used when The Silver Beetles toured Scotland in 1960. (McCartney recalled: “Now we were truly professional, we could change our names to real showbiz names. I became Paul Ramon, which I thought was suitably exotic.”) Contrary to Riff’s assertion in the charming 1979 movie Rock’n’Roll High School – “Do you realise that they’re all really brothers; imagine being the only sister in the Ramones family!” – they were not related, except by music. It’s amazing to think that such an influential band only ever reached No 44 in the US album charts (No 14 in the UK). Anyway … Hey! Ho! Let’s go!

The Rayber Voices

Backing group assembled by Raynoma Liles which appeared on several early Tamla Motown records, including the very first, Marv Johnson’s Come to Me, in 1959; the name was a contraction of Raynoma and Berry (Gordy, the label’s founder, whom she married). Other early Motown backing singers included The Voice Masters, The Love-Tones, and The Andantes.


Red Priest

“The Rolling Stones of early music,” named after Vivaldi, the red-haired Baroque composer, who after his ordination as a priest was known as il Prete Rosso. Here’s their take on Spring, from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.


Fictional band who make a brief appearance in Elmore Leonard’s 1999 novel Be Cool, where they are described thus: “It use [sic] to be a hair band, now they do post-metal funk with a ska kick.” Notwithstanding this otherwise excellent interview with the author in The New York Times, in the book they are Roadkill – one word.

The Rocking Gazelles

Madame Gazelle, Peppa Pig’s teacher, used to play the guitar in this band. Mail Online managed to drum up a controversy about it by finding a mum who was “horrified” to find that Grandpa Rabbit had called them “The Fucking Gazelles” and her two-year-old daughter, Kiannah, had learned the word from the kiddies’ cartoon. The headline is “Peppa Pig taught my little girl the F-word” and there are links so you can hear for yourself that, yes, it’s The Rocking Gazelles.

The Rolling Stones

Keith Richards tells the story of how they got their name in his inimitable, and not necessarily wholly reliable, style: “Brian, after figuring how much it would cost, called up Jazz News, which was a kind of ‘who’s playing where’ rag, and said: ‘We’ve got a gig at … ‘ ‘What do you call yourselves?’ We stared at one another. ‘It’? Then ‘Thing’? This call is costing. Muddy Waters to the rescue! First track on The Best of Muddy Waters is Rollin’ Stone. The cover is on the floor. Desperate, Brian, Mick and I take the dive. ‘The Rolling Stones.’ Phew!! That saved sixpence.” The gig was at the Marquee in London on 12 July 1962, and they were billed as The Rollin’ Stones; new manager Andrew Loog Oldham added the G the following year. Here they are playing Mannish Boy with the great bluesman Waters in 1981.