Kurt Cobain & His Orchestra

Kurt Cobain & His Orchestra: Shifts in Naming Conventions of Popular Music Groups, 1923-2003

This is a paper that I presented at the annual meeting of the American Name Society in Albuquerque, NM, 8 January 2006.


The paper examines 1,820 names of popular music groups from the years 1955-2003 plus 34 names from before 1955 and identifies several morphological and semantic changes to naming conventions during this period.

The primary change is a sudden shift from plural names (e.g. The Supremes) to singular ones (e.g. Toad The Wet Sprocket) occurring in a two-year period from 1965-66. Other less sudden changes include a steady decline in the use of collective nouns in group names (e.g., band, trio) and a decline in the use of personal names in band names (e.g., The Greg Kihn Band).


The paper, in Adobe PDF format, is here (94 KB).

The data set used for analysis, in Microsoft Excel format, is here (457 KB).

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