FT5: Band Logos
In the history of popular music, there have only been a handful of truly memorable and iconic logos. While searching through all of the logos out there, I decided to try and make the list a little more interesting. So I’ve chosen my favorite band logos from a few different genres and then ranked those. There were great logos out there for crappy bands. There were band logos from my younger days that reminded me a little too much of a Yaga shirt. So follow the jump and you’ll find logos that are as timeless as the bands they represent.
The RUN-D.M.C. logo was a tough choice over the Chuck D designed Public Enemy logo. But at the end of the day, I had to go with the clean lines and bold statement that the Run-D.M.C. logo makes. I mean, come on… this logo was made to be worn on a t-shirt with a pair of old-school Adidas. A tip of the hat also to the red, white and black color scheme that seemed to be so prevalent in the 80s underground scene.
Runner Up: Public Enemy
I was doodling this logo in the margins of my Trapper-Keeper notebook long before I even knew who Metallica was. Once the handful of metal kids in junior high started etching it into their desks, it caught on like wildfire. It just oozes rebellion and teenage angst with it’s sharp points and blocky letters. The fact that Metallica added blood, lightning and stone to it over the years only fueled (pun intended) it’s overall badass-ness. And it was also Beavis’ t-shirt of choice. I just wonder, are teenagers still doodling this logo in class today, 20 years later?
Runner Up: Anthrax
The hardest decision in this list was choosing the Johnny Cash logo over the Waylon Jennings flying W. The deciding factor was that the Cash logo was such a big part of the monumental career rejuvenation of Johnny Cash in the 1990s. To this day, I’m still in awe of the genius branding campaign led by American Recordings. The gritty black and white imagery paired with the bold helvetica typeface perfectly captures the essence of Johnny Cash in his later years and the simple, stripped down direction his music had taken. And it looks pretty awesome on merch, too.
Runner Up: Waylon Jennings
The Ramones logo is probably my personal favorite and was one of many visual pieces that the Ramones so cleverly adopted during the punk movement of the 1970s. It fit in perfectly with their leather jackets, torn jeans and sneakers. I’ll let Aruturo Vega, the logo designer, sum up it’s importance: “To me, they reflected the American character in general—an almost childish innocent aggression…. I thought, ‘The Great Seal of the President of the United States’ would be perfect for the Ramones, with the eagle holding arrows—to symbolize strength and the aggression that would be used against whomever dares to attack us …” Kick ass, and long live the Ramones.
Runner Up: Misfits
This one was a bit of a no-brainer. Simply put, it’s the most iconic band logo of all time. It’s as identifiable as the nike swoosh or the golden arches. It’s timeless. I would expect a 60-year old to recognize it just as easily as a 15-year old. The logo itself was commissioned by Mick Jagger in 1971 and designed by John Pasche for the Sticky Fingers album. You could say the icon represents the rebellion of youth against authority. Or you could say it represents lust. Or Mick Jagger himself. At the end of the day, there’s a reason this one has been popular for 40 years and most likely will be for 40 more. It’s a timeless icon for a timeless band.
Runner Up: Aerosmith
So readers, what are some of your favorite band logos?