Many people are unaware that many of these popular bands had a quite different name in the beginning than the one we know today. These are some bands whose original name you would never recognize.
KISS / Wicked Lester
Before becoming known worldwide, the popular rock band KISS started their journey in the early 1970s under the name of Wicked Lester. Gene Simmons, a member of the band, went so far as to describe the sound they had at the time as “a cross between Three Dog Night and the Doobie Brothers”. Who knew, right?
The Cure / The Obelisk
Before becoming The Cure, Robert Smith formed the band The Obelisk with Michael Dempsey and Lol Tolhurst at the age of 13. They soon changed their name to Malice, then to Easy Cure and finally to The Cure, releasing their first album in 1979, called Three Imaginary Boys, the first of 14 albums to their credit.
Pearl Jam / Mookie Blaylock
There are times when the names of the bands are chosen in a totally improvised way in the hope of finding something better. Such was the case with Pearl Jam, who in their early days did not yet have an official name for the group.
That’s why when they were offered to participate in a tour they needed to have a name as soon as possible, suggesting the first thing that came to mind for Jeff Ament, Mookie Blaylock, the name of a well-known basketball player. Interestingly, his debut album was titled Ten as a wink to Mookie Blaylock’s bib number.
Queen / Smile
The well-known rock band Queen was formerly called Smile, which was composed of Brian May, Roger Taylor and Tim Staffell. Farrokh Bulsara (better known as Freddie Mercury) was a fan of the group who attended many of their concerts and provided many suggestions with all his good intentions for the group to improve. When Tim Staffell later left Smile to join another music group, Freddie Mercury took his place and they debuted in 1973 as Queen.
Green Day / Sweet Children
In the beginning, Green Day was better known by the name of Sweet Children, but they decided to change the name of the group before the release of their first album to minimize the fact of their own relative youth. However, they didn’t forget their original name and made a tribute to it by calling their third EP Sweet Children.
Nickelback / The Village Idiots
The story of the name of the group Nickelback is a bit curious. At first they called themselves The Village Idiots, but eventually they decided to change it to Nickelback inspired by Mike Kroeger during the period when he worked as a Starbucks employee and constantly told his customers “Here’s your nickel back.
U2 / The Hype
At first, the music group U2 was known as The Hype. But then Steve Averill, a fellow Irish musician, told them that their name was too corny and suggested changing it to U2, claiming that “it’s the name of an airplane spy and a submarine, and it has an endearing inclusiveness about it.
AC/DC / Third World War
The iconic AC/DC group started out as the Third World War, but some time later they decided to change it under the influence of an electrical device, although it is not clear which one. According to Angus, the name comes from his sister Margaret’s sewing machine, and according to his brother Malcolm it came from his sister-in-law Sandra’s vacuum cleaner.
In any case, both appliances bear the letters AC/DC (Alternating Current/Direct Current), and either one could perfectly well be the name of the group.
The Bee Gees / The Rattlesnakes
When The Bee Gees started in the 1950’s they started under the name of The Rattlesnakes. Over time they looked at other names to change the group until they decided on BGs and later changed it to The Bee Gees (meaning The Gibb Brothers).
The photograph that illustrates this article is from one of their television performances … in 1963!