Many Famous Bands Had Some Weird Initial Names… (23 gifs)

Posted in CELEBS       13 Mar 2020       3167       7

Nirvana – Pen Cap Chew

Pen Cap Chew is one of MANY names Nirvana had before they settled on Nirvana. Other options included Ted Ed Fred, Skid Row, and… Fecal Matter a.k.a. Brown Towel.

Radiohead – On a Friday

The original name of Radiohead comes from a simple place: It’s when the band practiced. You know, on a Friday. I’m not even joking, that’s why they called the band “On a Friday” for a while. The name “Radiohead” was chosen as they became more serious as a band (though, the name “Radiohead” comes from a Talking Heads song).

Van Halen – Rat Salad

Eagle-eyed fans of Black Sabbath already know why Van Halen was probably named Rat Salad. It’s the name of a Black Sabbath song, and the band started by performing covers of various 70s bands, including Black Sabbath.

It shouldn’t be terribly difficult to deduce where the name “Van Halen” came from after that though.

The Supremes – The Primettes

This is going to be a bit complicated.

Before The Supremes had their name, they often performed alongside a band called The Primes. Eventually, The Primettes split from The Primes, and became The Supremes. That’s not to say that The Primes faded away though. The Primes morphed into The Temptations (and yes, it’s The Temptations you’re thinking of).

KISS – Wicked Lester

It is not entirely clear why KISS was originally named Wicked Lester. But it was, and the band sounded notably different from what KISS ended up sounding like in the long run, so let’s move on.

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Simon and Garfunkel – Tom and Jerry

Obviously, the duo would end up using their last names for the group, but you can’t help but wonder why the hell they were originally named after a cat and a mouse that beat the [email protected]#t out of each other.

There’s an unfortunate answer to that question. They originally formed in the late 1950s, and the label that signed them were afraid their last names were “too ethnic-sounding” for wide release at the time.

Joy Division – Warsaw

You’d think the original name “Warsaw” would simply be a reference to the city, but it’s not that simple. It’s actually named after the David Bowie song Warsawa.

Queen – Smile

It’s worth noting that Freddie Mercury was NOT part of the original band, Smile. This is crucial, because the lead singer of the band Smile, Tim Staffell, designed the logos and branding for the group. When he left Smile to sing for a group called Humpy Bong (yes, really), Freddie Mercury was brought in, and by the time the new-ish group was recording a debut album, the band had naturally changed over to the name Queen (simply chosen because it was catchy).

The Cure – The Obelisk

If you’re thinking “The Obelisk” sounds like a name that a 13-year-old came up with, you’d be dead on the money. Robert Smith was 13 years old when he formed The Obelisk. Though, even 13 year old Robert Smith quickly changed the name to Malice, then Easy Cure, and finally ended up at The Cure.

Green Day – Sweet Children

As far as California punk bands in the late 80s go, Sweet Children is not that outlandish. However, the band was self-aware enough to realize the name wouldn’t age well as the band got older, so they needed to change to a name that didn’t reference age (plus, another punk group in LA was called “Sweet Baby,” which caused some confusion).

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Pearl Jam – Mookie Blaylock

So, you might be wondering why the hell Pearl Jam was originally named after a basketball player.

Well, the band had been offered a spot in an Alice in Chains tour, and they needed to come up with a name on the spot. One of the band members had gotten a Mookie Blaylock trading card recently, so they just put the name down to quickly land the gig, with no intention of keeping the name forever.

The Beach Boys – The Pendletones

Here’s a fun fact: Pendleton Woolen Mills plaid shirts were very popular among surfers, and were sometimes called Pendletones. The group wanted to appeal to surfers, and hoped the reference would stick. It didn’t, and the label forced them to find a new name.

The Cranberries – The Cranberry Saw Us

The Cranberries weren’t a very serious band at the beginning. Case and point, read their original name out loud.

If you just realized “oh, it’s pronounced like ‘Cranberry Sauce,’” you’ll probably realize why that name didn’t stick around for the long haul.

Nickelback – The Village Idiots

It is not clear why Nickelback were originally called The Village Idiots, but holy shit can you imagine if they were? They get a ton of mockery as is, imagine if they were straight up called The Village Idiots on top of that.

Blue Öyster Cult – Soft White Underbelly

The band’s original name was spun out from a Winston Churchill quote about Italy that called the country “the soft underbelly of the Mediterranean.” Far stranger is how the band landed their final name, which was based on the poetry of the band manager at the time named Sandy Pearlman. In his poetry, the “Blue Öyster Cult was “a group of aliens who had assembled to secretly guide Earth’s history.”

The Bee Gees – The Rattlesnakes

There is no information on why The Bee Gees were originally called The Rattlesnakes. Seriously, there’s none, and as for the name they eventually took, they were the “Brothers Gibb” as a trio, so the name evolved from the initials of “Brothers Gibb.”

Goo Goo Dolls – The Sex Maggots

It’s not easy to get booked when your band is called “The Sex Maggots,” and when a club in Connecticut refused to put that name on a marquee, the band found a random advertisement for a “Goo Goo Doll” in an issue of True Detective magazine, and rolled with it on the spot.

Journey – Golden Gate Rhythm Section

The original name of the legendary group was because they were a backing band for other San Francisco acts/bands. As for their final name, it was simply suggested to them by a roadie who just thought it’d be a good name.

Creed – Naked Toddler

It should be abundantly clear why this name did not stick around. Like many of these names, it’s not clear why the [email protected]#k they chose their original name, but once women close to lead Scott Stapp pointed out the obvious (you know, that it’s a name that SCREAMS pedophilia), they chose a new name.

AC/DC – Third World War

The original name “Third World War” was chosen because of the band’s interest in hard rock music. Simply put, they wanted to sound like a hard rock band, but eventually, the band decided on AC/DC because… Well, what could be harder than pure electricity?

The Talking Heads – The Artistics

Something people forget about Talking Heads is that in their earliest days, they were technically part of the punk scene of the late 70s and the early 80s. This is crucial, because the primary members, David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, and Chris Frantz were all art school students, and their keyboardist Jerry Harrison graduated from Harvard.

Suffice to say, a band called The Artistics with that background knowledge following them around would have been a problem in that scene, so they settled on Talking Heads as a reference to TV pundits.

U2 – The Hype

While the origin of “The Hype” isn’t known, what’s interesting is that Irish musician Steve Averill essentially renamed the group. He thought The Hype was a bad name, and gave them the name U2, because in his words:

“It’s the name of a spy plane and a submarine, and it’s got an endearing inclusivity about it.”

Black Sabbath – The Polka Tulk Blues Band

There’s a LOT to unpack from that original name. First, it’s worth remembering that since Black Sabbath undeniably helped usher metal music into what it became, they thought of themselves as a blues-rock band at the very beginning, because that’s what they liked.

As for Polka Tulk? Apparently, it was a reference to the talcum powder that Ozzy’s mother used. As for the final (and legendary) name, it derives from the Mario Bava film Black Sabbath from 1963.



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7   Comments ?
-1
1.
Fishermen 5 month s ago
#7 But before Warsaw it was almost Stiff Kittens
       
-1
2.
Creative 5 month s ago
....AND EDDIE VEDDER IS STILL THE DOUCHELORD OF ALL POSERS
       
1
3.
2012 5 month s ago
Dead Monkeys are to split up again, according to their manager, Lefty Goldblatt. They've been in the business now ten years, nine as other groups. Originally the Dead Salmon, they became for a while, Trout. Then Fried Trout, then Poached Trout In A White Wine Sauce, and finally, Herring. Splitting up for nearly a month, they re-formed as Red Herring, which became Dead Herring for a while, and then Dead Loss, which reflected the current state of the group. Splitting up again to get their heads together, they reformed a fortnight later as Heads Together, a tight little name which lasted them through a difficult period when their drummer was suspected of suffering from death. It turned out to be only a rumor and they became Dead Together, then Dead Gear, which lead to Dead Donkeys, Lead Donkeys, and the inevitable split up. After nearly ten days, they reformed again as Sole Marnier, then Dead Sole, Rock Cod, Turbot, Haddock, White Baith, the Places, Fish, Bream, Mackerel, Salmon, Poached Salmon, Poached Salmon In A White Wine Sauce, Salmon Marnier, and Helen Shapiro. This last name, their favorite, had to be dropped following an injunction and they split up again. When they reformed after a recordbreaking two days, they ditched the fishy references and became Dead Monkeys, a name which they stuck with for the rest of their careers. Now, a fortnight later, they've finally split up.
       
-1
4.
Life 5 month s ago
2012: Classic Python.
       
3
5.
Amazing 5 month s ago
Kiss wasn't first called Wicked Lester. Wicked Lester was the band Paul and Gene played before they formed Kiss
       
-1
6.
Everybody 5 month s ago
Nothing makes me puke harder than Eddie Vedder.

And they are, and always shall be The Village Idiots.
       
-3
7.
Driving 5 month s ago
KISS = Kings In Satan´s Service
AC/DC = Anti Christ Devils Child
Have fun.
       
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