List of original names of bands

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Many notable bands originally went by different names before their mainstream breakthrough.[1] This list of original names of bands list only former official band names that are significantly different from the eventual "famous" name. This list does not include former band names that have only minor differences, such as stylisation changes, with the band's final band name.

The bands listed here must be notable, can be from any genre of music, and includes vocal groups whose members do not play instruments.


This is a sortable list, ordered alphabetically, starting with the name that the band is best known as, followed by the band's original name, and any other names they previously used (in chronological order).

Band Original name Other former names Ref
The Beach Boys The Pendletones [1]
Bee Gees The Rattlesnakes Wee Johnny Hayes and the Blue Cats [2][3]
Black Sabbath The Polka Tulk Blues Band Earth [1]
Blondie Angel and the Snake [4][5]
Blur Seymour [6]
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony The Band-Aid Boys B.O.N.E. Enterpri$e [1]
Creed Naked Toddler [1]
Creedence Clearwater Revival The Blue Velvets The Golliwogs [7]
Def Leppard Atomic Mass [1]
Destiny's Child Girl's Tyme [8]
Elbow Mr. Soft [9]
Empire of the Sun Steelemore [10]
Goo Goo Dolls The Sex Maggots [2][9]
Green Day Sweet Children [1]
INXS The Farriss Brothers [10]
Joy Division Warsaw [11]
Lamb of God Burn the Priest [1]
Lemon Demon Trapezoid Deporitaz [12]
Led Zeppelin The New Yardbirds [8]
The Libertines The Strand [9]
Maroon 5 Kara's Flowers [1]
Muse Rocket Baby Dolls [7]
Nickelback Village Idiots [7]
Nirvana Skid Row Pen Cap Chew; Bliss; Ted Ed Fred. [7][13]
Oasis The Rain [9]
Pearl Jam Mookie Blaylock [1]
Pink Floyd Sigma 6 Meggadeaths; The Screaming Abdabs; Leonard’s Lodgers; The Spectrum Five; Tea Set [14][7]
Radiohead On a Friday [1]
Red Hot Chili Peppers Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem [1]
R.E.M. Cans of Piss Negro Eyes; Twisted Kites [15]
Savage Garden Crush [10]
Selena Gomez & the Scene the Scene
Simon & Garfunkel Tom and Jerry [1]
Slade The N'Betweens Ambrose Slade [6]
Slipknot The Meld [9]
Snow Patrol Shrug Polarbear [2][9]
Sonny & Cher Caesar and Cleo [4]
Sparks Halfnelson
Spice Girls Touch [16]
Sugar Ray Shrinky Dinx [1]
They Might Be Giants El Grupo De Rock And Roll Circle Gets the Square; Dumptruck [17]
U2 Feedback The Hype [7][2]
Van Halen Genesis Mammoth [7]
The Who The Detours The High Numbers [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "25 Worst Original Names of Famous Bands". Rolling Stone. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Acuna, Kirsten (5 September 2012). "15 Original Band Names Before They Were Famous". Business Insider. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  3. ^ Hughes, Andrew (2009). The Bee Gees - Tales of the Brothers Gibb. ISBN 9780857120045. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b Conrdat, Stacy (14 September 2009). "The Quick 10: The Former Names of 10 Bands". Mental Floss. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  5. ^ Barker, Emily (3 February 2014). "Blondie: 25 Godlike Moments From One Of The World's Most Influential Bands". NME. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b Rentoul, John (24 January 2016). "The Top Ten: Original band names". The Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "The 12 worst original band names". Planet Rock. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  8. ^ a b Billboard staff (7 May 2014). "Original Band Names of 51 Famous Groups". Billboard. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Cicierega, Neil (2008). "Revealed – what bands were called before they made it big". Lemon Demon. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Adams, Cameron (18 September 2015). "The worst original Aussie band names". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  11. ^ Gray, Chris (9 February 2011). "25 Famous Bands' Less Famous Previous Names". Houston Press. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  12. ^ Barker, Emily (9 July 2014). "Lemon Demon (Info)". NME. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  13. ^ Azerrad, Michael (1994). Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Doubleday. pp. 61–2. ISBN 0-385-47199-8.
  14. ^ Barker, Emily (9 July 2014). "50 Geeky Facts About Pink Floyd". NME. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  15. ^ "R.E.M.'s first ever show: Opening band at a birthday party in a church".
  16. ^ Vincent, Alice (8 July 2016). "Here's the story, from A to Z: how the Spice Girls made Wannabe". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  17. ^ "They Might Be Giants full biography".
  18. ^ Denham, Jess (3 February 2016). "Starfish to Girl's Tyme: 12 famous bands with dodgy original names". The Independent. Retrieved 22 April 2017.