The Truth About How Motley Crue Got Their Name

Nothing says "used to be kind of cool a few decades ago" like Mötley Crüe, a band which managed to emerge from the primordial ooze of booze and hard drugs to sell over 100 million records, according to Loudwire. This means that somehow, Mötley Crüe is one of the best selling bands of all time. 

For a band with such a goofy name, that's quite an accomplishment. Perhaps it helped them stand out amongst a sea of Ratts and Scorpions, or maybe they reached the astronomical heights of their success based on skill and gumption alone. Regardless, here's how this ragtag band of misfits got their name.

A motley looking crew

According to Rock and Roll Garage, the original idea for the band name came from guitarist Mick Mars, who remembered someone describing an old band he was in as a "motley looking crew." At the time, Mars had jotted down the name "Mottley Cru" in case he forgot it later, amidst the vortex of intoxicants he was undoubtedly swirling in. 

The band found the name suitable and decided to stick with it. The idea for the funny looking symbols came, as many great ideas do, from the beer they were drinking. The brand was Löwenbräu, and the symbols are called umlauts, which Babbel says is used in German linguistics to denote when the pronunciation of a vowel is influenced by the vowel that follows it.

In the case of the Crüe, it's just for show of course, since the word "motley" doesn't even have a vowel following the umlaut. However, within the confines of the music realm, an umlaut does also represent a focus on heavier music, alluding to bands like Motörhead, which had built a reputation for being down and dirty rock and rollers, through and through. 

The rest, as they say, is history, with millions of eager young fans swooning at the feet of the tight-pantalooned rockers, and just as many linguists fainting in shock at the band's unabashed abuse of the unwitting umlaut.