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13 huge musical acts... and what they were originally called

Fancy going to a Lizzy Grant concert? Or maybe going to see Joyspeed?

MUSICAL ACTS HAVE been changing their names for years.  There are the obvious ones like Prince and P Diddy, we’ve all been on their naming journey together.

However, there are also some bands you might not know have some pretty horrific names in their past.  Singers who would probably prefer if you didn’t know that they had once been called something entirely different.

Here are thirteen of those musical acts.

Coldplay formerly known as Starfish formerly known as Pectoralz

William Conran/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Sorry, but there’s nothing cool about naming yourself after a muscle group, and adding a zed only makes it worse.

As for Starfish, not ideal, but better than Pectoralz.  Moving to Coldplay was a good choice.

U2 formerly known as The Hype formerly known as Feedback

David Jones/PA Archive/Press Association Images

We actually quite like The Hype, but when the Edge’s brother left the band they decided a rebrand was in order.

U2 originally

Kiss formerly known as Wicked Lester formerly known as Rainbow

Lucy/EMPICS Entertainment

Wicked Lester sounds like a nod to some quality cheddar to us, so we’re glad a lineup change meant a new name for these guys too.

Oasis formerly known as The Rain

Lili Wilde/EMPICS Entertainment

The lads originally got their name The Rain from a Beatles b-side, but when the time came to record their music they chose Oasis as the way forward.

David Bowie formerly known as Davy Jones

Topham/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Davy Jones per se, just that David Bowie is so much more…well, David Bowie.

Also, without the name change there would have been no Zowie Bowie, and then we all would have lost out.

Radiohead formerly known as On a Friday

AAD/Empics Entertainment

On a Friday sounds a bit like a slightly dodgy emo band, nothing like the rock behemoths we know Radiohead to be.

Red Hot Chili Peppers formerly known as Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem

Paul Smith/EMPICS Entertainment

Ah here.  Come on lads.

Nirvana formerly known as Skid Row/Pen Cap Chew/Bliss/Ted Ed Fred

Paul Smith/EMPICS Entertainment

The other options aren’t actually the worst, except maybe Pen Cap Chew, but eventually Kurt said they chose Nirvana because “I wanted a name that was kind of beautiful or nice and pretty instead of a mean, raunchy punk rock name”.

The Beach Boys formerly known as The Pendletones

PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The boys themselves had nothing to do with their name change, in fact they only found out when their first records were being unpacked.  It turned out that a young promo worker had made an executive decision to try to tie them in with the other surf bands of the time.  The cost to reprint was too much, so they were stuck with The Beach Boys.  We reckon it was for the best.

Westlife formerly known as Westside

AAD/EMPICS Entertainment

The lads had to change their name because another band was already using Westside.  Apparently Bryan (with a y then lads, it’s important to note) wanted them to be called West High, but he was voted down.

Aqua formerly known as Joyspeed

YouTube/AquaVEVO

Joyspeed actually kind of works, doesn’t it?

Joy Division formerly known as Warsaw

YouTube/mandosocca

Ian Curtis’ band changed their name to avoid confusion with another band name Warsaw Pakt.  The new name came from the wing where women were forced to perform sexual service in a Nazi concentration camp.  It’s a bit dark really.

Lana Del Rey formerly known as Lizzy Grant

Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Lana first recorded under the name Lizzy Grant, but wound up flopping with that music.  So, she just changed her name and her image and started all over again!  Sure why not?

Here’s Lizzy, in case you fancy a look.


YouTube/Missy Moser

Now That’s What I Call Music gets its own TV show>

Are these the 10 best musical acts in Ireland today?>

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