Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs live

The Most Iconic Band Symbols of All Time

The 1970s was the golden age of the band logos and fonts – to read the name Led Zeppelin was to see it written in the that iconic tall typeface. For a few decades, bands seemed to forget all about the art of symbology – though Prince did infamously abandon his actual name in favour of visual representation back in 1993. Now though, we’re sensing a revival of the musical insignia. Album artwork might be a dying phenomenon in the days of digital release, but bands are increasingly turning towards logos to differentiate themselves, mostly leaving their mark in mysterious places to signify imminent live announcements. We’re all for keeping traditions alive, so here are some of our favourites:

RadioheadModified Bear

We begin with the week’s big news. Created during the Kid A phase during a brief obsession with genetic modification, Radiohead’s Modified Bear logo has become synonymous with the Oxfordshire rock outfit. On Wednesday, the iconic grizzly mysteriously appeared like a crop circle in the grass near the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury. Yesterday, organisers confirmed the rumour for fans – Radiohead will headline the festival in 2017.

Kanye WestDropout Bear

What is it about musicians and the Ursinae? Well, bear with us and we’ll tell you. Kanye West unleashed his anthropomorphic character on debut album The College Dropout and it quickly became his trademark, receiving a positive response from his fans. The original bear was a college mascot meant to represent Kanye and it also featured on the cover of Late Registration. Sadly, as Yeezy’s music has gotten darker, Dropout Bear has all but been forgotten.

The Stone RosesLemon

While the Happy Mondays are tantamount to the phrase “you’re twistin’ my melon man”, another Madchester act adopted a different fruit as their symbol of choice. The Stone Roses made their mark on the music scene with their lemony debut album artwork – and they continue to use the zesty logo in their marketing. The lemon appeared at Wembley shortly before recent live announcements this year – sending Roses fans everywhere wild.

The Rolling StonesTongue and Lips

Everyone knows Mick Jagger’s massive mouth a mile off, so it makes sense that the band have embraced a gaping maw as their emblem since 1970. Arguably the most evocative band logo of all time, the suggestive tongue and lips are rock ‘n’ roll personified, symbolising the band’s rebellious attitude and sexual connotations in one fell lick. We’re glad they didn’t opt for the Hindu goddess Kali like they originally planned.

The OffspringFlaming Skull

The Offspring burst onto the music scene in 2000 and proceeded to shake up the airwaves with high-octane smash hits like ‘Original Prankster’ and ‘Want You Bad’. Their iconic flaming skull logo was designed by Alan Forbes for their Conspiracy of One album, pointing out the “vengeance and lust burning in one’s head”. Pretty philosophical, we’re sure you’ll agree.

Image courtesy of Julio Enriquez on Flickr

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