The Quick 10: The Former Names of 10 Bands

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You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who has never heard of The Beach Boys or Led Zeppelin. The Pendletones and The New Yardbirds? Maybe not so much. Check out 10 bands who are probably thankful they changed their names before they hit the big time.

cleo1. The Beach Boys were once known as "The Pendletones." It was kind of like the Beatles trick of changing the spelling of a word to include a music reference "“ "Pendletons" were a style of shirt popular at the time. When the Boys were signed to a label and produced their first single, the label changed them to "The Beach Boys" without consulting them.
2. Sonny and Cher have such distinctive names there was really no reason for them to go by Caesar and Cleo. The names referred to each of their distinctive hairstyles.
3. Black Sabbath definitely has more of a metal ring to it than Polka Turk, don't you think? They were actually called "The Polka Turk Blues Company," partially named after an Indian clothing shop, then shortened to Polka Turk, then changed to Black Sabbath after the 1963 Boris Karloff movie of the same name.

4. Angels and Snakes may sound like a Guns "˜N' Roses reject name, but it was actually Blondie who went by that name for a while (or Angel and the Snake, depending on which source you believe). The name change was inspired by truck drivers who shouted at Debbie Harry.

5. Can you imagine "Stairway to Heaven" by The New Yardbirds? Members of Led Zeppelin actually completed a tour for the original Yardbirds (including Jimmy Page) who were contractually obligated to do so. They got permission to use the name to complete the tour for them, but before too long it was decided that touring as the New Yardbirds was basically fraudulent and they change their name.

6. We could all be playing Johnny and the Moondogs Rock Band right now and enjoying their remastered albums if the Beatles hadn't come to their senses. To be fair, it was John Lennon's skiffle group back before the band was really solidified.

goliwogs7. Creedence Clearwater Revival could have been known as The GWs instead of CCR if they had stuck with their original name, The Golliwogs. The name was coined by their label, Fantasy Records, who wanted the name to sound similar to popular British bands at the time. When Fantasy was purchased by another company, the band was given the opportunity to change their name.
8. Not that the Champagne Music Makers is such a great name "“ they were Lawrence Welk's band "“ but the Honolulu Fruit Gum Band is even worse.
9. It's a good thing Journey changed their name, because "The Golden Gate Rhythm Section" wouldn't have fit on an album as nicely. The band intended to just be a backup band for artists in the San Francisco area, but when they proved to be more talented than that, they scrapped the generic name and came up with Journey.

10. Perhaps the Bangles only added two letters to their name, but I bet it really cut down on the jokes that probably came from being called The Bangs. And actually, this is only one of quite a few names "“ first they were christened The Colours, then The Supersonic Bangs, then The Bangs, and finally The Bangles.

Know of some other names that probably wouldn't have looked so hot on a marquee? Share in the comments!

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September 14, 2009 - 12:44pm
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