First Band without a The in its name

Riffing on this thread, I got to wondering which was the first major rock band not to have a “the” in its name.

Bands fell into two camps:

  1. The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Four Seasons

  2. Little Anthony and the Imperials, Dion and the Belmonts, Cliff Richard and the Shadows.

Maybe 2.5) David Rose and His Orchestra, Herman’s Hermits. Technically, no “the,” but still a person in the lead with the band trailing along behind.

The first band I can remember hearing of that didn’t have the “the” is Them, from 1965.

Could they really have been first or did someone get the idea earlier?

You can cross David Rose off the rock list - I’ve got a record by him from 1933.


Bread and Cream come to mind. Procol Harum. No idea of how early they would be.

I’ve never heard of Procol Harum referred to as “the Procol Harum.” And how far back does Pink Floyd go?

Procol Harum - signed in 1963
Pink Floyd - 1965, but they were “Tea Set” and “The Pink Floyd Sound” first, so I don’t know how to count that…
Love - club act in 1965, signed in 1966
Cream - 1966
Bread - 1970

Rolling Stones don’t have “the”, do they?

Rose had the number one song - “The Stripper” - in July 1962, well into the rock era, and so included in the Billboard Book of Number One Hits. I included him to shut out nitpickers.

It’s The Rolling Stones and always has been.

Them was formed in 1964, but didn’t hit the charts until 1965. Procol Harum didn’t have a chart hit until 1967. I think I’ll stick with Them as the first major group, but whether to count when a band was formed, signed, or hit the charts can be fodder for endless [del]pointless[/del] posting. :slight_smile:

Looks like we’ll need to go back earlier than 1963 and the British Invasion. And if you want to limit it to Rock it can’t go back much further than 1954. Any Rock to speak of before Bill Haley and the Comets?

It’s hard to think of early Rock acts that weren’t The somethings, the Four somethings, So-and-so and the somethings, or were headed by somebody with a surname.

Would R&B acts or Jazz acts fit? Weather Report sort of thing? (They’re on into the 60’s or 70’s anyway.) Yellowjackets. Spiro Gyra. All more recent than Cream.

Others that come to mind but are too recent:

Strawberry Alarm Clock
Buffalo Springfield
Jefferson Airplane

I believe you’re right, although it’s become so colloquially “The Rolling Stones,” it’s hard to be sure. But it’s “Rolling Stones” on the official fan club site.

According to Wikipedia, “The name “Rollin’ Stones” was used for the first time on July 12, 1962, as they played in the Marquee Club to replace Blues Incorporated.” cite.

So they’re the ones to beat now.

If you’re going to disqualify David Rose and the Hermits, you really ought to disqualify Them, too. I mean, it’s right there, plain as day!

I believe Cream was originally referred to as “The Cream” as well - in reference to the members being the cream of rock - a supergroup, power trio, what have you…

Er…how about Blues Incorporated?

Peter Paul and Mary started performing together in 1961 (not strictly rock, though).

Pink Floyd was billed as “The Pink Floyd” as late as 1974.

So says a Wikipedia article titled The Rolling Stones. :rolleyes: :slight_smile:

And here’s their first single, definitely credited to The.

I was going to add a line to the OP ruling out duos, trios, etc. where the members’ names were the group’s name. Anybody remember Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich?

As for Blues Incorporated, I’m pretty sure it was generally referred to as Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, as this horrifyingly laid out page suggests. But it’s a possibility.

Is Manfred Mann Rock music enough, they started 1962 acording to wiki.

Right. And all the album covers clearly say “The”, as well. I tried to stop that post, but the hamster got away, then the board stopped working for me. Sorry 'bout that!

Well, if that counts, then I’ll go with Patience & Prudence who hit in 1956 with “Tonight You Belong To Me.” There were probably earlier, similarly-named duets.


Manfred Mann was the name of the band leader. In fact, though Wiki doesn’t mention it, I seem to remember that for a brief moment all the band members took the name Manfred Mann as a publicity stunt. Which was forgotten about five minutes later, of course. It was the 60s.

Roy Brown, “Good Rocking Tonight”, 1947
Fats Domino, “The Fat Man,” 1949
Louis Jordan, “Friday Night Fish Fry,” 1949
The Kings of Rhythm, “Rocket 88,” 1951
Big Joe Turner, “Honey, Hush”, 1953, and “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, 1954