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Names -> Band Name Origins -> U, Page 1

Do you know why a band picked out it's name? Feel free to let us know.

I can't verify all of these stories, so do take them with a grain of salt. I try and delete the ones that I know to be bogus, but I don't know the origins of every band name (and some bands intentionally tell different stories about picking their band name).

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There are 4605 Band Name Origin entries on the site.

Name
 
Origin
 
Submitted by:
U.P.O It stands for ultra pure overload Punky
U2 It's named after the U-2 spy plane and they DID pick it off a list, just not with those other choices. Larry Mullen's father (It was either Larry Mullen or Adam Clayton; probably Larry Mullen) was a pilot so he knew about U-2 planes. It's in the U2 book. yeah yeha yeah
U2 Yes, they did pick it from a list!!! What I'm saying doesn't mean that it's not named after a spyplane! Allicat
U2 they had come down to four choices, the first one was who me, the second one was ya you, the thrid one was what about me and the fourth one u2. this is according to VH1 from behind the sceens master bush eater hint hint women
U2 On an MTV interview in 1983 I happen to own on tape, Bono was questioned about the name of the band and why they chose it, and Bono innocently replied: "U2: is just a letter and a number", like "are you dumb, don't you know your ABCs?". While I do believe that they had a reason for the name, I just think Bono didn't like the idiot/nerd MTV picked as the interviewer who was too old to begin with (45-50 y/o), so he made up the excuse. Thumbs up for Bono! Lili
U2 The band picked U2 because it's the identification number given to Ireland on U.S. immigration forms.  Psychgirl
U2 The German equilivant of the subway is the U-bahn, abbreivated U and then the number. The U2 line in Berlin runs from Pankow to Ruhleben, through such important parts of town as the Olympic Stadium, Potsdamer Platz, and Alexanderplatz. This is where U2 got their name. This is reinforced by the album title "Achtung Baby." "Achtung" is German for "look out." Meredith
U2 The references to U2 getting their name from "you too" or an immigration form are complete hogwash. The band got their name from the American (NOT GERMAN) U-2 Spy plane. It was the spy plane USAF pilot Gary Powers was flying when he was shot down over the USSR in 1960. As an Irish immigrant to the USA, I can tell you that there is no special form given to Irish immigrants. All aliens fill out the same form and there is no U2 form. U2 Historian
U2 I recently had this argument here in Peru, with one of the locals. He also reckons it comes from the "bulls***" plane. However, being from Ireland, I had to tell him the band name came from the name of their classroom in secondary school. All the classes were numbered 1 to 6 and lettered D-U-B-L-I-N. Hence, when the band first got together in second year of secondary school, their classroom was called U-2! And that is that, I dont want to hear any more waffle about planes and spies, stop looking so deep people. Im not even a big fan of U2 but I still know how the name came about! Its not a conspiracy theory either, it just is people!  Guigsy
U2 German Spy Plane. Used to be called Feedback and Hype, but their manager suggested U2 would sell more records. Vikas
U2 Yes, the name is a reference to the breed of spyplane that started the Cold War when the last planned flight, by Gary Powers, was shot down and the US and USSR ended what was until then a cordial relationship. Blame Ike and the CIA. But don't miss what else the name means. It's U2, as in "You, too, can make a difference" or "You, too, can change the world". It's not just us in this fight, it's not just about us, it's you too. Taken in this light, it's not a stupid name, it's actually rather clever. It's meant to include the listener in their agenda. Don't forget this band have been activists from the beginning. Check out "Sunday, Bloody Sunday". Spyke Payan
U2 AFAIK it has nothing to do with the German Plane. Bono placed an ad on a wall, at school, when he was looking for musicians. It was more or less like this: "If you too have a great desire to make great music, join us". "You too", to save space (because the ad was written on a small scrap of paper), was written as U 2.  Ugo C.
U2 When they started they didnt have a name and werent very good. The drummer said to Bono "I dunno bout you, but we suck" and Bono replied as a joke with "you too, huh?" They liked you too huh but huh was just useless and U2 was a spy plane in WW 1 or 2 (Bonos uncle died in the war) Big T
U2 It's the emigration form for their homeland.  Mark M. Young
U2 There's also another coincidence about the name on what many people forget (Even the fans sometimes) In Berlin, there's a railway line that says "U-2", near the "Zoo Station". Anon
U2 The U2 was an American spyplane, but lead singer Bono chose it because it "sounded cool" Zo
U2 No, Ugo C- I know it had nothing to do with that. It was Larry Mullen who put the ad up, not Bono. At first they were called Feedback then they changed their name to The Hype. They were going to enter a talent show, and they thought they should come up with a better name. Adam Clayton's friend Steve Averill made them a list of cool names and U2 was on that list, and they chose that. CRA-Z-4-U2
U2 U-2 (Utility 2) is an American plane developed by sailplane enthusiasts at Bell Aircraft (NY) after suggestion by American infantryman in Korea to build a light, efficient plane that would (they hoped) fly above SAM altitude. Prior to completion, concept was commandeered by Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and finished by Lockheed (CA). It's nothing to do with Germans. David Lewis
U2 Alright, U2 is named after a spy plane! Ok? Not a classroom! It was even on the show "Who want to be a millionare?" They didn't pick it from a list. It's even on the official website. I'm the biggest U2 fan and trust me, I know. That guy from Peru was right. It's named after a spyplane sense they care about war so much. Check the officical U2 site and watch millionare more often! The episode might come up. Evry good U2 fan knows that they are named after a spy plane! It's all over the internet and they said it themselves!  Jordan DoMonte (best u2 fan)
U2 Vikas you're way off, U2 is not an German spyplane, but an American one. Nisse
UB-40 UB-40 stands for "Unemployment Benefits" form #40, a reference somewhat well-known in the UK but not known in the states. The boys came up with the name for the band while standing in line at the unemployment office. From a Rolling Stone interview.  Bob
UB40 UB40 is form number for the unemployment forms in the UK. maggie
UB40 UB40 was in actual fact the name of the form you had to complete to receive unemployment benefit at that time in Britain. This is why their first album was called "Signing Off". The album cover was a mock UB40 form.  Barbara
UB40 The name comes from the form needed to obtain your unemployment benefit in England. They used it because they were all unemployed at the time the formed the band. RedFive
UB40 Sorry Ian Amalier, but the band UB40 was named after the UK Unemployment benefit form, not some model railway. Wally Burger
UB40 It stands for "Unemployment Benefit - 40", a series of British financial benefits for the unemployed during the 80's. Unemployment, poverty and social conditions in general were a major source of inspiration for bands of that time, and UB40 was one of them. Dimitrios Barbatsalos
UB40 The Name UB40 come from the UK dole office from "Unemployment Benefit" Form 40 (UB40) not from some German toy maker. Ian Amaliar Stand corrected Regards Gordon Gordon Maxwell
UB40 UB40 is Märklin´s (German model railroad manufacturer) product code for a transport train than was commonly used in Britain when the band was formed. The trasport train symbolizes the bands willingness to travel in time and space, and go trough all kinds of trouble (symbolized by the often hash weather conditions a train has to cope with).  Ian Amaliar
UB40 It is quite simple. All of the band members were out of work and in the UK the form you have to fill in to get benifit money from the job center was called a UB40. They took the chance, as they had nothing to lose and made the big time. Hence the name UB40. Pete Goodings
UB40 British unemployment form. zap
Ugly Casanova "Ugly Casanova" was the name of this obsessed Modese Mouse fan who harassed the band, mysteriously disappeared, and then sent a huge cache of lyrics which Isaac turned into the music of Ugly Casanova. At least, that's the story on the MM site... in truth, "Ugly Casanova" is the name of a really early MM song. emelah
Ugly Kid Joe Parody of "Pretty Boy Floyd" PeTeR
Ugly Kid Joe They were opening for Pretty Boy Floyd and they hadn't picked out a name, so when the stage manager asked how to introduce them, theyparodied PBF. james
Ugly Kid Joe The band had no name but were following another band named after an infamous Gangster, "Pretty Boy Floyd." The name was just a parody of the band they were following. Danger-us
Ugly Kid Joe Originally called overdrive until 1990 when they were set to play a gig with LA glam band Pretty Boy Floyd. Ugly Kid Joe is a parody of that name. merrick deleary
Ultravox The band, bored with the negative, angry band names at the time, wanted their name to express a postive energy. Thor
Ultravox Means Extreme Voice Bruce Chant
UMA - Unqualified McDonald's Applicants They all applied to McDonald's, but all got turned down. They're a now-defunct band from the suburbs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. midwestkimchi
Umphrey's Mcgee It is a modification of the name of a band member's distant relative. The relative's name is Humphreys Mcgee. Nathan
Underworld Karl Hyde (Vocalist) and Rick Smith (Musician/ Producer) were in the 80's band 'Freur' who recorded the soundtrack to the Clive Barker horror movie 'Underworld', released in 1985. (This is not to be confused with the 2003 film of the same name starring Kate Beckinsale). Freur broke up in 1986 and Rick & Karl and some of the other members of Freur went on to form Underworld, using the name of the film that their previous incarnation soundtracked. Underworld in their original 5 piece form also broke up but reformed with a new dancey outlook, with the addition of Darren Emerson (a DJ) in 1992, but they kept the 'Underworld' name and still continue today. This final incarnation of Underworld is often refered to as Underworld MKII. (mark 2). mattval1
Unlucky Fried Kitten Clearly a spoof on Kentucky Fried Chicken....the phrase was unknown at the time of the band forming in 1995...and made up by the singer, Andy Export. The phrase has gone into regular usage since the band became better known. marcus
Unrest Unrest was named after an album title by Henry Cow (they also took the name of their record label from a song title on "Leg End" called "Teenbeat").  Five Seventeen
The Unseen it's obvious that the unseen's band name derives from their lower class life style...because the lower class is "unseen" in america.  don't matter
Unwritten Law Wade thought of the name when he was 12, solely because he thought it was cool. Jake
Urge Overkill The name of a Parliaments' funk song Robert D. Arndt Jr.
Uriah Heep Dickens character. zap
The Used Before they had named the band,they lived at a friend's house and that person said that they were using him.So the name"The Used" just stuck. None of ur biz
The Usual Looked in a book at random words and saw the word "Usual" and therefore just added the "the" and there you have it! Taaa Daaa! TheUsualDrummer
Utopia The band fronted by Todd Rungren took the name from the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby picture "The Road to Utopia". Utopia is not a real city, but a generic name for a paradise. j.c.

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