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Unusual Rockstar and Music Inspired Names

I have pulled together some of my favourite unusual rockstar names (aka. alternatives to Elvis, Dylan, Lennon and Hendrix) inspired by musicians from various genres - both famous and less popular. A little more subtle and obscure. - Created by alpharelic

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  • Ada

    After the song Ada by The National

  • Adeline

    My Adeline was swimming, Sweet Adeline was singing. Also a record label.

  • Agatha

    From the song Agatha by Pond

  • Albert

    Nobody would likely make the connection with Albert Hammond Jr from The Strokes

  • Amos

    A nod to Tori Amos

  • Ani

    After Ani Difranco, one of my all time favourite musicians, and different to Annie

  • Annie

    Nobody would connect it with Annie Clark aka St Vincent but it's a beautiful name

  • Archie

    Hey hey, marry me Archie!

  • Aretha

    There is only one Aretha, but you could use her as a namesake

  • Ari

    After Ari Up from the Slits

  • Arista

    A Greek name used for the record label Arista Records

  • Arlo

    After Arlo Guthrie, Woody Guthrie's son (also a musician)

  • Avant

    Get a bit Avant Garde with your naming

  • Beck

    After... well, Beck

  • Bessie

    After Bessie Smith

  • Bette

    She's got Bette Davis eyes, also mentioned in Desolation Blues by Bob Dylan

  • Bo

    A very cool musical name, and could be named after Bo Diddley

  • Buddy

    A very rockstar name. Not suitable for future lawyers.

  • Brody

    After Brody Dalle from The Distillers

  • Cali

    Very cool name after California, home of so much amazing music

  • Cash

    After Johnny Cash or Cash Records, of course

  • Cass

    Anybody cooler than Mama Cass Elliot? Nope.

  • Cecilia

    Oh Cecilia, you're breaking my heart - the Simon & Garfunkel song

  • Chet

    After Jazz musician Chet Baker

  • Clementine

    Lots of songs about girls called Clementine!

  • Cohen

    A nod to Leonard Cohen, probably only usable if you are actually Jewish

  • Coltrane

    After John Coltrane - a cute nickname could be Cole or Trane

  • Columbia

    After the record label, or the character from Rocky Horror

  • Corin

    After Corin Tucker from Sleater Kinney

  • Costello

    A very cool alternative to Elvis

  • Corgan

    After Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins

  • Cosmia

    Cosmia is a type of moth and also the name of a song by Joanna Newsom

  • Damon

    After Damon Albarn

  • Delilah

    Songs by Queen and the Dresden Dolls

  • Doc

    Doc Watson pulled this off and it's pretty cool

  • Dolly

    Go on, name your kid after the queen of country

  • Domino

    After the record label or Fats Domino

  • Drake

    There's only one!

  • Dusty

    After Dusty Springfield

  • Dalle

    All variations of this are cool: Dalle, Dahl etc

  • Danzig

    After the best band

  • Earle

    After the amazing Steve Earle

  • Eartha

    After Eartha Kitt

  • Edith

    Pronounced Ee-dith or Eh-deet after Edith Piaf

  • Elektra

    Elektra after the great music label that signed Beyonce, The Doors and En Vogue

  • Eli

    Eli, the barrow boy, a song by The Decemberists. Or Eli's Coming by Three Dog Night

  • Elliott

    After Missy Elliott or Ramblin' Jack Elliott? You decide!

  • Emmylou

    From the incredible Emmylou Harris. The song Emmylou by First Aid Kit made me fall in love with this name

  • Etta

    Etta James was actually born Jamesetta Hawkins. Could also be a fun nickname for Henrietta.

  • Evan

    As in Evan Dando, or Evan Rachel Wood

  • Ezra

    Ezra definitely stands on it's own now, but I like the reference to Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend

  • Errata

    After the band Erase Errata

  • Exene

    After Exene Cervenka, singer of punk rock band X

  • Florence

    Most people wouldn't make the connection with Florence & The Machine but it's a great name

  • Francisco

    Name your kid after San Francisco, the home of amazing music. Frank for short.

  • Frank

    Lots of famous Franks (not least Sinatra!)

  • Gillespie

    After Dizzy Gillespie

  • Gloria

    After the song by Patti Smith and Van Morrison

  • Gram

    After Gram Parsons

  • Gomez

    A cool band or maybe Selena Gomez?

  • Hanna

    Shorter version of Hannah, after Kathleen Hanna

  • Hiro

    Hiro's Song by Ben Folds

  • Holiday

    After Billie Holiday

  • Henry Lee

    Get down, get down, little Henry Lee - if you fancy using a murder ballad reference

  • Howl

    A reference to Howlin Wolf, or Howl by Allen Ginsberg, also a name in itself

  • Indigo

    After the Indigo Girls

  • Iris

    Iris is such a lovely name and makes me think of the author Iris Murdoch or singer Iris DeMent

  • Isaac

    So many amazing musicians named Isaac but Isaac Hayes must be the most famous of all

  • Iver

    Alternative to Ivor or Ivo, used by the musician Bon Iver.

  • Iha

    After James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins

  • Jackson

    Probably the most quintessentially music-related name on this list

  • Jethro

    After Jethro Tull

  • Joel

    After Billy Joel

  • Johnny

    A popular one but a great namesake

  • Joni

    An amazing namesake

  • Jude

    A lovely name that works for boys and girls, after Hey Jude by the Beatles

  • June

    An subtle nod to June Carter or from June Hymn by The Decemberists

  • Jett

    Always inspired by Joan Jett

  • Kathleen

    After Kathleen Hanna, or the song Kathleen

  • Kaki

    After Kaki King (comes from Katherine)

  • Khan

    Usually a surname (of many musicians)

  • Kinney

    After Sleater Kinney, which is named after Sleater Kinney Road

  • Lennox

    If Lennon and Hendrix are too much, go with Annie Lennox

  • Leon

    After Leon Russell

  • Leonard

    After the king, Leonard Cohen

  • Lita

    After Lita Ford from The Runaways

  • Lora

    After Lora Logic. Nice alternative spelling of Laura

  • Lou

    Basically use Lou as a middle name and your child is guaranteed to become a musician

  • Loudon

    The Wainwright's have so many cool names in their family, and Loudon is the classic

  • Love

    After Courtney Love

  • Lucille

    The name BB King gave to his guitar

  • Lucinda

    After Lucinda Williams of course

  • Lorde

    After the singer Lorde, of course

  • Mac

    After Fleetwood Mac

  • Madonna

    Big boots to fill after the Queen of Pop

  • Margo

    The singer Margo Price doesn't use the T at the end of Margot, and it works great

  • Marla

    From the song Marla by Grizzly Bear.

  • Martha

    After the amazing Martha Wainwright, The Vandellas, or after the song Martha My Dear.

  • Matilda

    From Waltzing Matilda. There are more recordings of Waltzing Matilda than any other Australian song

  • Memphis

    The home of great music

  • Morrissey

    Would have been a much cooler namesake if Morrissey hadn't turned into an ignorant racist git in his old age

  • Myrna

    Myrna Loy was an actress, but I learnt about her from the song 'Myrna Loy' by Josh Ritter

  • Malibu

    After the song Malibu by Hole

  • Moon

    After Moon Unit Zappa, or Slim Moon

  • Murdoc

    A fictional member of the band Gorillaz. 'Doc' for short?

  • Nancy

    After Sid & Nancy

  • Nash

    After Crosby Stills & Nash, or Nashville

  • Nelson

    After Willie

  • Nico

    After Nico from the Velvet Underground of course. Or spell it Neko after Neko Case.

  • Nirvana

    Name your kid after one of the greatest bands ever

  • Norah

    Inspired by Norah Jones

  • Nina

    After Nina Simone

  • Nyro

    Pronounced Near-oh after Laura Nyro

  • Odetta

    After the singer Odetta

  • Olympia

    After the town of Olympia, with it's amazing musical history

  • Onyx

    Cool name and also a hip hop band

  • Otis

    After one of the greatest singers in the history of American music

  • Oakland

    Oakland California is home to so much great music and would make a great name

  • Ornette

    A fun and unusual name, and a nod to Ornette Coleman

  • Penny

    Penny and me like to roll the windows down, turn the radio up, push the peddle to the ground

  • Phoenix

    A very rad name

  • Pixie

    A cute nod to The Pixies

  • Polly

    After Polly Jean Harvey - aka PJ Harvey

  • Prince

    Formerly known as...

  • Ramona

    So many songs about Ramona's incl Bob Dylan & Louis Armstrong, or just a nod to The Ramones

  • Ramone

    After The Ramones

  • Ray

    After Ray Charles

  • Rigby

    An interesting alternative to Eleanor (from the song Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles)

  • Romy

    Inspired by Romy from The XX

  • Rosalie

    Thin Lizzy, Cole Porter, Ryan Adams all wrote songs about Rosalie

  • Rosetta

    After Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Queen of Rock & Roll

  • Ruby

    Some great songs about Ruby, one of my favourites is Ruby Mae

  • Rufus

    Another brilliant name from amazing Wainwrights

  • Ry

    Ry Cooder pulled off just 'Ry' (originally short for Ryder) and it is a very cool name

  • Rilo

    Inspired by Rilo Kiley

  • Rossen

    After Daniel Rossen, member of Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles

  • Sadie

    Sexy Sadie, the Beatles song

  • Sharona

    M-m-m-my Sharona

  • Sioux

    After Siouxsie Sioux. Couldn't be used lightly!

  • Sonny

    Lots of very cool Sonny's in music

  • Stevie

    After Stevie Nicks

  • Sufjan

    After the musician Sufjan Stevens. Sufjan is a Persian name meaning

  • Sainte

    After Buffy Sainte-Marie, and a twist on Saint made popular by Kanye & Kim

  • Seattle

    After the home of grunge music

  • Sinatra

    A fun alternative nod to Frank

  • Sonic

    Everyone would think Hedgehog but I think Youth or MC5. Sonny could be a cute NN.

  • Stagger

    Not that I recommend naming a child after a murderer but Stagger Lee is the best song

  • Stax

    After Stax Records, the soul and blues record label

  • Strummer

    After Joe Strummer

  • Tegan

    Inspired by Tegan and Sara

  • Tennessee

    A very cool name used by Elvis Costello's drummer for his daughter, Tennessee Thomas

  • Thelonious

    A big name to fill! After Thelonious Monk

  • Thom

    Nice spelling twist on a classic name, most famously used (IMO) by Thom Yorke from Radiohead

  • Thurston

    After Thurston Moore

  • Tobi

    After Tobi Vail from the riot grrl scene

  • Tori

    After the amazing Tori Amos

  • Tulsa

    Home of some great music

  • Taborah

    Taborah Johnson is a Canadian singer (with a great name)

  • Townes

    After Townes Van Zandt, or Steve Earle also used it for his son, Justin Townes Earle (also a musician)

  • Utah

    Used by Utah Phillips

  • Valencia

    O Valencia I swear to the stars I'll burn this whole city down.

  • Vega

    A nod to Suzanne Vega

  • Violet

    After the song by Hole

  • Vivienne

    After Vivienne Westwood

  • Wanda

    Might be a bit country, but Wanda Jackson is awesome

  • Welch

    After Gillian Welch but works great as a boys name

  • Woody

    After Woody Guthrie

  • Wilco

    After the band of the same name

  • Yusuf

    After Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens

  • Yoshimi

    After Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots (could be shortened to Yoshi)

  • Zeppelin

    Could you get a cooler name?

  • Zaireeka

    After the Flaming Lips album

  • Zappa

    Now this is a name to rock

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