The 20 Worst Former Names Of Great Bands

Have you ever listened to a song, looked up the band and thought: “Wow, that’s a great name for a band?“. Or did you ever try to find a name for your band and couldn’t come up with something great? Don’t worry! Some of the greatest bands that ever existed, didn’t immediately start with a great name. Here are the 20 most terrible names famous bands used to have. Get ready to laugh your head off!

#20. Kara’s Flowers

No matter if you like Maroon 5 or not, you have to admit that they are incredibly successful and seem to have great chemistry. In the 1990s though, their friendship was in serious danger. They later admitted that all of them – yes the whole band – were in love with a woman named Kara.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia

Now we don’t know who Kara is. She must be an incredible woman to not only make Adam Levine fall in love with her but also all of his bandmates. The teenage boys eventually decided to name themselves Kara’s flowers. That name didn’t stick for long though and they quickly changed to the name that is now known to millions: Maroon 5.

#19. Tom And Jerry

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel first toured under the name Tom and Jerry, as they allegedly were nervous about using their Jewish names. And no, they probably did not engage in comical chases and duels. They soon must have realized the resemblance to the comic series and gave up that hilarious name.

Photo: Courtesy of Rolling Stone

Much later they became world-famous as Simon & Garfunkel, not hiding their real names anymore. Especially in the 60s, their music reached the hearts of many fans but sadly they released their last album in 1970. They did reunite several times and published live tracks such as Old Friends: Live on Stage but they never found their former success again.

#18. Sweet Children

When you look at these three Pop-Punk legends, does the name “Sweet Children” pop in your head? Yeah, probably not. Within the Punk community in California, the three musicians obviously used it ironically, to show that they weren’t, in fact, Sweet Children. But the name didn’t work out and they switched to a much more iconic one: Green Day.

Photo: Courtesy of BBC

While their first two albums were already successful, Dookie was a major hit, bringing Punkrock into the mainstream. Green Day became a worldwide phenomenon and when they released American Idiot in 2004 they were on the peak of possible success. A development that might not have happened if they had kept the name Sweet Children, that’s for sure!

#17. The Young Aborigines

If you look at the name “The Young Aborigines” and see three white guys, you might already realize how terrible this name was. The later Beastie Boys stated that they chose this name because they wanted their music to be “primitive in some way.

Photo: Courtesy of Vulture

Well, that was horribly racist. Luckily, the three Hip-Hop artists changed their name to Beastie Boys, still embracing their wild side. Titles like Fight for Your Right or Beastie made them incredibly popular. Fun Fact: Some say “Beastie” is an acronym for B(oy)s E(ntering) S(tates) T(owards) I(nternal) E(xcellence).

#16. The Salty Peppers

What ingredients does a good Soul song need? If you say great riffs, a smooth saxophone, and a pretty voice, you’re wrong. Apparently, all it needs are salty peppers. That’s at least what Maurice White must have thought when he founded the Soul and Funk band.

Photo: Courtesy of GRAMMY

From the culinary world, they quickly changed to the elements, taking over the iconical name of Earth, Wind and Fire. Their career peaked with records like All’N’All and I Am  The band became especially known for their costly stage shows and choreographies.

#15. Tony Flow And The Miraculously Majestic Masters Of Mayhem

Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem is actually a pretty cool name. But let’s face it, it’s way too long. Really really long. Printing that on concert tickets or records would have been a nightmare. Maybe that’s what convinced these musicians to switch to the slightly shorter Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Photo: Courtesy of GRAMMY

Red Hot Chili Peppers became so successful, that if you search online for “chili peppers” you actually only get content of the band. They released so many great songs and records that it’s impossible to pick the best one. However, a lot of people argue whether Under the Bridge is the greatest song they ever produced.

#14. The Polka Tulk Blues Band

Which music might one expect from a band named The Polka Tulk Blues Band? Polka? Blues? You guessed it right: Heavy Metal! It is actually the name Ozzy Osbourne came up with first for his band. It is a cool name but kind of misleading for the music they were actually going to play.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia

With their name Black Sabbath, the musicians found a more fitting description and became the leading figures of 1970s Hard Rock. Songs like Iron Man or War Pigs made the band internationally famous and founded the decade long success. Pretty sure they wouldn’t have achieved that fame with a name that referred to genres like Blues or Polka.

#13. The Village Idiots

In these last years, Nickelback somehow became the band everybody makes fun of. While their current name is definitely not the issue, in the early 1990s they started as The Village Idiots. We can only assume that Chad Kroeger somewhen realized: “This is not how you remind me.”

Photo: Courtesy of BBC

Despite the backlash from many people, Nickelback became incredibly successful. While The State was somewhat of a local thing in Canada, the four Village Idiots sold millions of copies with Silver Side up and the following records. Today, Village Idiots is being taken over by a small punk group from Northern Germany.

#12. Pen Chap Chew

Pen! Chap! Chew! No, this is not the newest edition of the Archie Comics. It’s actually the former name of every 90s teen’s favorite band: Nirvana. The three musicians also tried out names like Ted Ed Fred, Bliss, Throat Oyster, and Windowpane. In 1988 they took the name that now most people on earth know: Nirvana.

Photo: Courtesy of Loudwire

Kurt Cobain was actually not too happy with the name himself, later stating: “It’s too esoteric and serious.” But on the plus side, their name brought them incomparable success with Nevermind alone, selling more than 30 million copies. They brought Grunge into the mainstream and became the voice of a whole generation.

#11. Rat Salad

What’s the nightmare of a certain animal chef from the 2007 movie Ratatouille? Rat Salad! While it certainly doesn’t sound very tasty, it somehow inspired Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen. They actually used it for quite some time, touring clubs and bars.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia

Eventually, they realized that their last name was the one to use as a band name and their songs like Jump or Runnin’ with the Devil sparked the growing popularity of Hard Rock. Eddie’s unique way of playing guitar-influenced techniques like tapping or playing soli.

#10. Rocket Baby Dolls

Rocket Baby Dolls already shows how fascinated these musicians were with space, right? They actually only used it for one gig and then took over their much more known name, Muse. Matthew Bellamy’s interest for space apparently never vanished though and expressed itself later in the record Black Holes and Revelations.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia

Muse is currently one of the most successful groups in the world. They shaped the New Prog genre and even received a Grammy for their music. It is debatable whether they would have achieved all that glory and fame under the name Rocket Baby Dolls, what do you think?

#9. The Angry Young Teddy Bears

One of the most famous songs of these musicians is I Wanna Be Adored. Does it ring a bell? Well, it seems as if they meant that quite literally, as one of their first band names was the adorable The Angry Young Teddy Bears.

Photo: Courtesy of Fortitude Magazine

However, these guys probably realized that they had to change their band name if they wanted to be taken seriously as musicians in the 1980s Manchester. Therefore, they changed it to the iconic The Stone Roses. Even though they never displayed any interest in giving interviews to the media, those former teddy bears are still everybody’s darlings.

#8. On A Friday

Imagine you and your band are always rehearsing on Fridays and you’re still looking for an awesome name for your group. Why not go with On A Friday? At least that’s what Thom Yorke must have thought when choosing this name. While it is practical, as nobody would forget when to show up for rehearsals, it is also quite uncreative.

Photo: Courtesy of Cover Me Songs

Their later and final name, Radiohead, displays much more creativity and brought them worldwide success. While many considered them a one-hit-wonder after their single “Creep“, their later records were received well by critics and fans. All in all, they sold over 40 million copies.

#7. Smile

Many people don’t know that Queen actually started without Freddie Mercury and under the name Smile. Luckily, in 1968, Mercury joined the band and they changed it forever to Queen. That name today is a synonym for “greatest rock band of all times.”

Photo: Courtesy of Radio BOB

Queen was incredibly popular and successful, and they are full of great songs and records. Some, like Bohemian Rhapsody or I Want to Break Free, will probably stay in our minds for eternity. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the 2018 drama biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, that brought Rami Malek his well deserved Oscar.

#6. Girl’s Tyme

Many people don’t know that Destiny’s Childs actually started in 1990 under the name Girl’s Tyme. In that year and at the age of 9, Beyoncé and LaTavia Roberson met and started a dance and singing girl group. In 1995, however, they realized that their name might stand in the way of coming success and they changed it to Destiny’s Childs.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life

We actually don’t know what “tyme” stands for. Maybe it’s the 90s version of writing “time”. What we do know is that Destiny’s Childs quickly became a pop sensation, catapulting the girls into the hearts of millions of fans. As you probably know, they separated in 2005, but Queen Beyoncé is still out there and is now one of the richest women in the world.

#5. The Pendletons

While the Beach Boys seemed to have always loved the beach, they did not appear under this name during their first years. Back then, they called themselves The Pendletons, after the wool shirts that the 1960s surfer community loved.

Photo: Courtesy of Billboard

Mindblowingly, only one of their members, Dennis Wilson, actually loved to surf. That did not stop them though from riding the wave of Surf music and staying in the Billboard Charts for over 50 years. Do you think they would have achieved the same fame and glory had they stuck to The Pendletons instead of going for The Beach Boys?

#4. The Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes are pretty nasty animals and their venom can cause severe paralysis. Not such a great name for a pop group, right? In the 1950s, Robin, Maurice, and Barry Gibb toured Australia as child artists and tried out different names like The Rattlesnakes, Wee Johnny Hayes & The Blues Cats or Barry & The Twins.

Photo: Courtesy of MPR News

The brothers became Australia’s favorite teens in the 1960s and finally took over the name that stuck: Bee Gees. Their numerous albums were worldwide hits and probably most people know some of their songs, like Stay’in Alive or How Deep Is Your Love. According to the Guinness World Records, those rattlesnakes became the “most successful band of family members in the world

#3. The Shrinky Dinks

Do you remember Shrinky Dinks? While the kids’ toy was certainly more popular in the 1980s, you can still get them. We don’t know why Mark McGrath decided to use that name for his pop-rock band. But apparently, a lawsuit forced him to change the name.

Photo: Courtesy of Echo Magazine

The musicians decided to go with Sugar Ray which was apparently not such a bad choice. Their first two albums both hit platinum but after Atlantic Records canceled their contract in 2006, they never reached their former success again. They might have never gotten there in the first place, though, under the name of a kids’ toy.

#2. Soft White Underbelly

Why would you even consider calling your band Soft White Underbelly? It certainly won’t attract a lot of fans. The original band members of Blue Öyster Cult actually used this name for years until they were convinced to drop it.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia

After their final change of name in 1970 and with lead singer Eric Bloom, they became one of the most popular Hard Rock bands in the world. They are best known for songs like (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, Burnin’ for You, and Godzilla. And while all these sound pretty Heavy Metal, “Soft White Underbelly” certainly doesn’t.

#1. Tea Set

All in all it’s just another Tea Set” Wait, what? Pink Floyd apparently had a lot of issues finding their right name so they came up with hilarious guesses such as Screaming Abdabs, Tea Set, Leonard’s Lodgers or Meggadeaths, which kind of sounds like the name of a teeny hardcore metal band.

Photo: Courtesy of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The iconic name Pink Floyd eventually stayed and they became one of the most famous rock bands of all times, releasing iconic songs such as Shine On You Crazy Diamonds or Wish You Were Here. They sold over 300 million records and eventually published their last album in 2014. A decade-long success that they might have not reached as Tea Set.

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    Lukas K.

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