Another Southern rock band representing the Sunshine State came onto the scene in the 1970s. Molly Hatchet mixed blues rock with boogie jams, layering it all with southern swagger. The band produced a gritty, dirty, southern sound to the bone. Five decades, and though there are no more original members later, they still deliver those gritty tunes full of raspy vocals, face-to-face guitar solos, and overactive drums.

Molly Hatchet wasn’t the biggest band, but they were still major players in the rise of Southern rock. It’s easy to compare them to the most famous Florida boys, Lynyrd Skynyrd, but don’t, or the real Molly Hatchet will come for your head. It’s true. Where else does a band get its name if not from an ax killer?

Who was Molly Hatchet?

The legend of the real Molly Hatchet is hard to pin down. The band’s website explains that they are “named after a famous seventeenth-century ax murderer ‘Hatchet Molly’ who decapitated her lovers with the hand tool made famous by Lizzy Borden”.

Another look at a serial killer “Hatchet Molly,” results appear for a Civil War-era sex worker who had a penchant for beheading unlucky clients she came into contact with.

Some tales recall a trail of decapitated bodies she left across the South over a 15-year period in the late 1800s. She would occasionally disappear only to strike again. Other legends say that during the Civil War, Molly was actually a ghost sent to punish Confederate soldiers for their role in the conflict.

The name of the game

Founder Dave Hlubek once recounted how the band came across the name Molly Hatchet, after several name changes.

“There were six of us in the band,” he told Dean Guitars. “We took a John Deere Tractor hat and everyone came up with three names each and put them in the hat. We did it like the lottery. We said whatever name came out of the hat, for God, that would be the name of the band. Well, the 18th name, the only one left, was Molly Hatchet! We were like, ‘What the hell is that?’ It started with ‘Molly Fucking Hatchet.’ Everybody was like, ‘Who owns the girl in the band?’ The people of Jacksonville decided to start making bumper stickers. We just kept the name. Who the hell is Molly? It’s like, what’s in a name! Molly was an ax murderess. Her name was Abigail something. The history books called her Hatchet Molly. She was a passion killer.

Revisit Molly Hatchet’s classic “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” below. It’s so good, heads will roll. Hmm, maybe that’s why they chose that name.

Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

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