5 Bands Forced to Change Their Name After Releasing Music

Some bands were destined to be called something else.

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After releasing a few demos and calling themselves On A Friday from 1985 through 1992, Thom Yorke, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, and Philip Selway later christened themselves Radiohead by the time their debut album, Pablo Honey, was released in 1993.

[RELATED: 7 Classic Rock Bands That Ruled the 1970s]

Before they were Nirvana with Dave Grohl sitting at the drums, Kurt Cobain was producing early demos as Fecal Matter. After connecting with his former high school classmate, bassist Krist Novoselic, they moved through a few different names, including Skid Row, before landing on Nirvana.

There’s a story behind every band name—and why some had to change theirs.

Here’s a look at five well-known bands who had to change their names after they had recorded and released music under entirely different monikers.

1. Blink-182

Shortly after forming in 1992, guitarist Tom DeLonge, bassist Mark Hoppus, and drummer Scott Raynor tested out a number of monikers, including Figure 8 and Duck Tape, before landing on “Blink.”

A year after releasing their first recording together, Buddha, in 1994, followed by their debut studio album, Cheshire Cat, in 1995, the trio were forced to stop calling themselves Blink since there was already an Irish pop rock band using that moniker. To switch it up, they decided to tack on a random number to “Blink,” which was “182.”

There was really no reasoning behind adding the number 182. Hoppus revealed that the band landed on the “182” after a call with their record label, who gave them an ultimatum after they received a cease and desist for using “Blink.”

“It finally got to the point where they said if you don’t choose a name for this band, we’re going to choose one for you,'” said Hoppus during a 2010 interview with comedian Amy Schumer. “We were like ‘Alright, Blink-182.” We just made up the 182, and ever since then, we’ve made up different stories about what 182 means. It was my ideal weight. It was the ship number my grandfather worked on in World War II. It was the number of times Al Pacino said ‘fuck’ in ‘Scarface.'”

2. Dinosaur Jr.

At first, the “Jr.” was never meant to be part of their name, but legalities forced the band to later add on the suffix after they had already released two albums as Dinosaur. While in high school in Amherst, Massachusetts together, guitarist J. Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow started playing in a hardcore band called Deep Wound. The two later asked drummer Murph (Patrick Murphy) to join and renamed themselves Mogo for a short time before landing on Dinosaur.

The band released their self-titled debut in 1985, followed by their second album, You’re Living All Over Me in 1987. Shortly after their second album, the band was served with a cease and desist by the supergroup Dinosaurs, featuring ex-members of well-known bands, including The Grateful Dead‘s Robert Hunter, Spencer Dryden of Jefferson Airplane, Peter Albin of Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Quicksilver Messenger Service’s John Cipollina, among others.

Dinosaur was forced to add something to their name to differentiate them from Dinosaurs, who would eventually disband in the late ’80s.

Mascis, Barlow, and Murph released their third album, Bug, as Dinosaur Jr. in 1988.

Read the full story Behind the Band Name for Dinosaur Jr. HERE.

3. The Verve

Formed in 1990, Verve released their self-titled EP in 1992, which topped the U.K. indie charts with the single “She’s a Superstar.” A year later, Verve released their debut album, A Storm In Heaven, and was forced to change their band name.

To avoid any legal trouble with the record label Verve Records, the band added “The” to their name before releasing their b-sides album, No Come Down, in 1994.

After a brief breakup and lineup changes, The Verve released their third album, Urban Hymns, in 1997 with hits singles “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” “The Drugs Don’t Work,” and “Lucky Man” before disbanding for a second time. The Verve had a brief reunion in 2007 and released their fourth and final album together, Forth, before breaking up a third time in 2009.

4. Linkin Park

Hybrid Theory was Linkin Park‘s 2000 debut album. Years earlier, it was also the band’s name. First calling themselves Xero when they formed in 1996, the band released their self-titled EP in 1999 as Hybrid Theory. Before the release of their debut album, the label suggested the band reconsider that name, which came close to the British electronic duo, Hybrid, and changed it completely to Linkin Park.

At first playing with the names Platinum Lotus Foundation or Plear, late frontman Chester Bennington chose Linkin Park, which better represented the band and their hometown. Linkin Park was also an homage to Lincoln Park (now called Christine Emerson Reed Park) in Santa Monica. Known for being rampant with drugs and as a homeless encampment, Bennington would often drive past the park on his way to rehearsals with the band.

Read out full Behind the Band Name story on Linkin Park HERE.

5. Black Sabbath

Formed in Birmingham, England in 1968, Black Sabbath initially called themselves The Polka Tulk Blues Band, then Polka Tulk. By the time they started recording together, they were called Earth.

Performing as Earth, the band also recorded several demos, including “Song for Jim,” “The Rebel,” and “When I Came Down.” Shortly after recording, the band realized they were being mistaken for another psychedelic band in England, also called Earth, and revisited a song they had written in 1969 as inspiration for their new band name.

“Black Sabbath” was named after the 1963 horror film of the same name, starring Boris Karloff, and became the title track of the band’s self-titled debut in 1970.

Read the full story behind Black Sabbath’s band name HERE.

Photo by Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, Inc

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