Take it from me, it's tough naming a band. During the one time I had my own band, it was called "Post-Hardcore Boy Band." Really great name, right? I think we can all agree that a lot of bands who have become famous have really horrible names too. Like Hoobastank, for instance.
But even some bands whose names are revered and iconic started off with some horrible ideas. Even though those names are now forgotten to all but the biggest music-trivia nerds, we'll never forget the names which could have come to define our favorite bands, even while shuddering at the thought of having to explain to someone that they're actually really good despite those names.
10. Radiohead When Radiohead began in the '80s, they apparently had yet to discover the Talking Heads, so they decided to call themselves On a Friday. That name would have inspired far too many puns about going to see On a Friday on a Friday.
9. Van Halen After recording their demo with their idol Gene Simmons, the Kiss tongue-lasher told Van Halen they should change their name to "Daddy Longlegs." Good thing they didn't take his advice.
8. The Beatles It's interesting to think: would the Beatles have become as iconic if they had kept the name the Quarrymen? It just sounds far too blue-collar for a legendary band.
7. R.E.M. R.E.M. doesn't seem controversial now, but they would have offended plenty with their first ideas for names: Negro Wives and Cans of Piss. Luckily, they realized they weren't a hardcore punk band and picked R.E.M. at random out of a dictionary.
6. The Beach Boys The Pendletones was still a surfer reference, being a tribute to the Pendleton shirts of the day, but I'm glad the Beach Boys decided on a name that wouldn't inspire thoughts like "what the fuck is a Pendletone?"
5. Pink Floyd As in the case of R.E.M., Pink Floyd was a bit confused about what kind of band they wanted to be, originally calling themselves Meggadeath. The world thanks them for leaving that open for a metal band to take.
4. Black Sabbath The name "Polka Tulk Blues Band" doesn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of men, but it would be kind of a hilarious name if the Sabs had decided to keep it.
3. Pearl Jam Remember Mookie Blaylock? The basketball player? No? Well, good thing Pearl Jam didn't go ahead and name themselves after him then...
2. The Bee Gees At least R.E.M. and Pink Floyd kind of rocked, so their incongruous original names weren't quite as bad as the Bee Gees' original name of the Rattlesnakes. Because when I think "I Started a Joke," I think about a fucking rattlesnake.
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1. Led Zeppelin Originally named the New Yardbirds, despite Jimmy Page being the only person in the band who had ever played in the Yardbirds (and he wasn't even an original member), Zep inspired me to form a few new bands of my own including the New Led Zeppelins, the New Black Sabbaths, and the New Van Halens.