I have been noticing this phenomenon for many years. When a particular band becomes popular, often there are other bands who are popular at the same time with similar names. Some examples:
Yazz | Yazoo – both popular in the 80s
U2 | UB40 – both big 80s bands
Steeleye Span | Steely Dan – late 70s
Radiohead | Portishead – both became popular in the mid-nineties
Hot Hot Heat | Hot Chip – rose to fame early 2000s (followed closely by Hot Club de Paris!)
Blur | Pulp | Cast – there are a whole heap of 90s bands with 4 letter names
Kasabian | Klaxons | Kieser Chiefs – all in the mid 00s.
Wheezer | Wilco – formed mid nineties
There are many others who I can’t remember right now. I’ll come back and add them when I remember, but you can add them in the comments.
I have two theories to explain this, both of which probably have some truth to them:
- There is a fashion to band names. There are a lot of bands from the early 00s who had “the” in their name. This probably explains a lot of the similarities.
- I also think there might be some cases where one band name is confused for another, so that one band becomes famous on the back of another because people get confused about which ones are being hyped. I have no evidence for this!
Another interesting thing to consider is that bands of similar genres have similar names – most of the bands above share genres.
Can you think of other bands who have similar names? What about similar named songs popular at the same time?