The “Bad Company” Rule

Warning: Rant ahead

One of the curses of aging is recognizing that death is coming like a freight train. I distinctly recall in late 2016, the relief that the year was ending because it had “taken” so many beloved celebrities, including David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Maurice White, Prince, Gene Wilder, Fyvush Finkel, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, and Carrie Fisher.

In reality, people die every day. We may notice these “famous” deaths more often now simply because more and more people became famous in the postwar period of mass media – and those people are reaching ages where time catches up.

Still, when a news alert hits the phone, telling me that yet another artist has passed – basically, apps have taken the place of my grandfather reading the obituaries every day and calling – “Did you know your old kindergarten teacher died?” – it’s a subtle reminder of both our own mortality and our youth.

The most recent (as of this writing) was Mark Hollis, lead singer of the New Wave group Talk Talk. Likely best remembered among my generation as writer of No Doubt’s “It’s My Life,” Talk Talk had one or two other hits, including the self-titled song “Talk Talk.”

So, as one does, I flipped over to the “First Wave” channel (33) on SiriusXM, and sure enough, Talk Talk was the talk (sorry) of playlists. The music was good, and as the song was stuck in my head, I chewed on a long-held peeve: the band that uses their band name as a song title.

Bad Company is a particularly egregious example – first, I can’t stand the band. Other than overexposure on classic rock radio playlists, I can’t pin down a reason why I so vehemently dislike Paul Rodgers et al., but I’d imagine much of the hate comes from this weird band name/song name mashup.

They even named the ALBUM “Bad Company,” ferchrisssakes!

Picture The Beatles atop the Abbey Road studios roof, with George drawling “Yes, we’re The Beatles, and we’d like to play you a song off our latest album, “The Beatles,” called “The Beatles.”

(Yes, I know the White Album was properly titled “The Beatles.” But they didn’t have a SONG called “The Beatles.”)

I’m trying to think of other band name/song name combos.

Big Country: “In A Big Country”

Motörhead: “Motörhead”

The Monkees: “Hey Hey We’re The Monkees”

I’m sure there are others..but this has long bothered me.

Anyone else care enough about this? What others violate the “Bad Company” rule?

lead image credit: Jim Summaria [CC BY-SA 3.0 (

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