Would Girl’s Tyme have been as huge if they’d never become Destiny’s Child? Could Rat Salad, Mookie Blaylock or Polka Tulk Blues Band have ever turned into the huge rock bands they became if they never changed their names to Van Halen, Pearl Jam, and Black Sabbath respectively?
The world will never know. But based on the number of groups that initially went by other, often wackier names, it does kind of seem like there’s a little bit of good luck in changing your title once or twice somewhere along the way. Just take a look at Kara’s Flowers, the band that flopped so hard their record label dropped them in 1997. That might have been the end of the story had those four high school buddies not started a new chapter under the name Maroon 5 – a chapter that eventually led them to four Hot 100 No. 1 hits and hundreds of millions of records sold.
And then we have Green Day, who may have never stood out in their hometown music scene in East Bay, Calif. – much less become titans of the entire punk rock genre – had they not updated their moniker. Billie Joe Armstrong and his bandmates retired the title Sweet Children back in 1989 to avoid being confused with another local band, Sweet Baby. The rest, which includes three genre-defining Billboard 200 No. 1 albums, is history.
Here’s a look at 57 bands whose original names didn’t make it to stardom with them, for better or for worse – but let’s be honest, it’s probably better.