Sometimes a name change can invigorate a career and become an important part of an artist’s mythology while they reinvent their sound (Prince, Bowie, we’re looking at you). Other times it’s because of an impending lawsuit or because it transpires another band got to that title first, a la Longview and Brother. Other times, unfortunately, it’s just to be pointless and pedantic. Here’s 10 inane name changes to make your brain ache wondering “WHY?!”
The B-52’s became…. The B-52s
The ‘Love Shack’ band formed in 1976, waiting 32 years to get rid of the erroneous apostrophe in their name in 2008. Bit late by that point, really.
Hoobustank becomes… Hoobastank
Californian nu-metallers Hoobastank were Hoobustank when they released 1998 debut ‘They Sure Don’t Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To’, thinking changing a single letter made it “just sound better”. You’ll need to change more letters than that to stop that name sounding like some kind of cartoon Venezuelan venereal disease, lads.
Jay-Z becomes… Jay Z
Hova lost his hypen. Along with his knack for a knockout verse, if ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ album was anything to go by. Was that sly bit of punctuation the key to his powers all along? If so, let’s cram every bit of available punctuation into his name ahead of his next album to get the Roc Nation man back on form. Jay’*^Z, has a ring to it, no?
A New Found Glory become… New Found Glory
Not just one of many New Found Glories but the New Found Glory. Thanks for clearing that up.
Godspeed You Black Emperor! become… Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Post-rock antagonists Godspeed love nothing more than toying with fans and the media – refusing to be photographed by the press, seldom giving interviews (and when they do turning them into anti-capitalist lectures), reportedly calling anyone who buys their albums using a credit card a “traitor to our ethos”, that sort of thing. Which made it no surprise when they made a fuss of moving their exclamation mark two words back just before 2002’s ‘Yanqui U.X.O.’
DJ Jazzy Jeff becomes… Jazzy Jeff
Will Smith’s turntablist streamlined his name for 1993’s Code Red’. Because this album saw him branch out from behind the decks and start rapping or playing different instruments? Nope – he was still just the DJ.
Panic! At The Disco become… Panic At The Disco
Panic At The Disco removed the exclamation mark in advance of their mellower second album. Why not just change the word ‘Panic’? Moderate Calm At The Disco, perhaps? Okay, maybe that’s not so snappy. Still – lobotomizingly pointless.
Die Ärzte become… Die a⃛rzte
The Berlin punks added an extra umlaut to their name in 2003, symbolic of their three members. What’s German for “for God’s sake, REALLY?”
Brian McFadden becomes… Brian McFadden
The former Westlife crooner changed his name to Bryan because it was easier to sign when giving autographs, apparently. He’s back to Brian now that autograph hunters aren’t so much of a problem.
Puff Daddy becomes… Puff, then Puffy, then P Diddy, then Diddy then Sean John
When you’ve had made more name changes (six) than solo albums (five) it’s time to take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror, Mr. Combs.