Can You Guess What These 10 Bands Were Originally Named?

Deciding on a band name is a big deal and unfortunately, no secret formula exists to help out with the choice. There’s no picking the names of a hometown street and a beloved family pet and calling it a day. A band name requires thought, inspiration, and maybe a few wrong choices before finding the one.

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Here are 10 bands that understand that better than most. Can you guess what they originally went by?

1. Creed

Naked Toddler

One of the many names the ’90s rock band Creed first performed under was Naked Toddler. The phrase came from a newspaper headline the group’s guitarist Mark Tremonti had clipped, frontman Scott Stapp explained. The moniker, however, did not go over well with their early audiences and they soon changed it.

2. Simon & Garfunkel

Tom & Jerry

For the Paul Simon-Art Garfunkel-led folk duo, the name Simon & Garfunkel seems like the obvious choice, but surprisingly the name was not their first. The late 1950s saw the young pair assume the name Tom & Jerry with Garfunkel taking the pseudonym Tom Graph and Simon becoming Jerry Landis. They wouldn’t debut as Simon & Garfunkel until 1964.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem

If you thought Red Hot Chili Peppers was a lengthy band name, give thanks that they didn’t stick with their original mouthful of a moniker: Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem.

“That’s was how we wanted to play, majestic and chaotic,” the band’s frontman Anthony Kiedis once explained of the early name choice. 

4. Earth, Wind & Fire

The Salty Peppers

Before being influenced by astrological signs and zodiac charts, an early iteration of the iconic funk soul outfit Earth, Wind & Fire was originally called The Salty Peppers.

5. Goo Goo Dolls

The Sex Maggots

It’s difficult to believe the band behind the swoon-worthy “Iris” first went by the name The Sex Maggots. The Goo Goo Dolls became the Goo Goo Dolls because their original moniker was a tough one to sell on a marquee.

6. Coldplay


When the band that would become Coldplay formed, they were using the name Big Fat Noises as a placeholder. By the time their first show together rolled around, they panicked and chose to go by the name Starfish. The aquatic moniker was short-lived before they landed on Coldplay only weeks later.

7. Pearl Jam

Mookie Blaylock

Before there was Pearl Jam, there was Mookie Blaylock, a young grunge band named after the New Jersey Nets player, Mookie Blaylock. It was under that name that the band played their first gigs until they were eventually signed to Epic Records and found themselves in need of a new alias.

8. Black Sabbath

The Polka Tulk Blues Band

It’s difficult to imagine the Ozzy Osbourne-fronted metal band being called anything other than Black Sabbath, but an early iteration of the band was called the Polka Tulk Blues Band and then simply Earth. The moniker Black Sabbath came to them from the 1963 horror film of the same name that was reportedly playing at the theatre across from their rehearsal space at the time.

9. Green Day

Sweet Children

Before they landed on their cannabis-inspired band name, the loud and proud skate punks Green Day were once Sweet Children. They eventually changed their name to the one we know them as today in order to avoid confusion with another band called Sweet Baby.

10. Radiohead

On a Friday

When Radiohead first formed, the members were still in school and could only hold band rehearsals on Fridays hence their original band name On a Friday. They used the name well into their first several gigs, but when EMI came calling, a new name was in order.

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation)

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