Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Namesakes #3: Octopus

There were three Cortinas (or variations) to choose from last week, but the vote went to the bunch from the 70s. They will feature again on this blog soon - watch this space.

This week, we have not one, not two, not three... but FOUR bands with the same name. 

Four Octopuses, or Octopi, if you want to be picky. Four bands, eight tentacles... hours of molluscan fun!


Last week's Namesakes featured multiple bands called The Cortinas (including variant spellings). The first of those bands only released one single in the late 1960s before changing their name... to Octopus. As Octopus, they released a bunch of singles and one LP, Restless Night, on the Penny Farthing record label. We discussed what happened to their lead singer, Paul Griggs, last week, but other members of Octopus went on to join Split Enz (The internet does not record how they ended up getting from Hertfordshire to New Zealand. Presumably flights were a lot cheaper in those days.) 

Ready for some biting social commentary? Prepare yourself to Laugh At The Poor Man...


Our second Octopus were a Belgian group with an English leader singer called Steve Davies. Not to be confused with World Snooker Champion Steve "Interesting" Davis. They were around in the mid-70s, and this is their biggest hit, an English language version of the Flemish hit "Ik ben verliefd op jou", originally recorded by Paul Severs.


This was the Octopus I was most familiar with when I planned this feature, as they come from the Britpop era when I worked in the record library and got to take home anything the radio station wouldn't play. 

Not that this should influence your voting in any way, but our third Octopus came from Shotts in Lanarkshire. They released one album in 1996, from which four singles were jettisoned, one of which just scraped into the Top 40, for one week, at number 40. The most interesting thing I can find out about this Octopus (other than that they came from Shotts in Lanarkshire, of course) is that their harmonica player was the son of a Great Train Robber. Oh, and they somehow managed to get the actor Ewen Bremner (Spud from Trainspotting) to appear in one of their videos...


I really thought this post would end there. But then the internet threw up one final Octopus. I can't find out much about this "doomy psych" 5-piece other than that their lead singer is called Masha Marjieh and their guitarist used to play with Electric Six. So I guess they're American. Unlike the other Octopi, they don't yet have their own iffypedia page, but this is the title track of their 2018 debut album...

Special mention should go to Harvey Rushmore & the Octopus, who almost got in here until I lost the will to live. I mean, if I never hear another singing Octopus, it'll be too soon. But please vote for your favourite below. It'll make my week. 


  1. Listening to the first Octopus, it's delightful hippy nonsense, the other 3 polvos surely can't better this!

    1. Octopus 2 is cheesy nonsense, Joctopus is unremarkable, and Octopus 4 is even more forgettable, and despite a late attempt by Harvey Rushmore and his Octopus to steal first place, it's Octopus 1 for me

  2. I think you are wrong about No. 2. I'm pretty sure this is an early incarnation of the Matchroom Mob (of "Snooker Loopy" fame). From left to right: Ray Reardon, Steve Davis, Chas out of Chas 'n Dave, Terry Griffiths, Tony Meo.

  3. Definitely Octopus 1 for me.
    Wonder what it was about the name that inspired this many bands?

  4. My vote goes to Octopus 3 for escaping from Shotts

  5. Number 3 for me - only because they named themselves after a Syd Barrett song
    (I vaguely remember reading that somewhere - probably the NME or Melody Maker?)

  6. I have one song by Octopus 1 and i also like Split Enz but Octopus 3 takes it for me for their song Jealousy which i bought at the time and i still like when it pops up on the iPod, nice jolly tune. I am liking this series


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