5 Musicians Who Changed Their Names to Inspire Jim Crane and the Astros

This week, the new owner of the Houston Astros Jim Crane opened Pandora's Box of Hearty Suggestions For A Struggling Franchise and discussed changes to the team. Cheap beer (yay!), cheaper seats (double yay!) should be one of the first things but Crane suggested that the Astros do the unthinkable and change their name.

In the words of recent murderer of the stage at Warehouse Live Kendrick Lamar, "Fuck Dat."

Music, it's the same way. Once you become a famous brand, there's no going back to becoming PC. Think Rihanna is going to start going by her government name like some cheesy '80s pop starlet? No. (Although, if said move makes her pose for Hef in about 10 years, we're all for it). Musicians with name changes or moves are sad, sad things that should never happen but yet -- they have.


1. MC Hammer/Hammer

When Rick Ross does his whole super beefed up Mafioso rap, MC Hammer comes to mind. It's like living a persona so large that you become the persona and back in the day, Hammer was that persona. Going from MC Hammer to Hammer though made him persona non grata. Sadly, the "Hammer" period also made us remember he signed to Death Row in the 90s, did some crappy songs with Tupac and made this:

2. Mos Def/Yasiin Bey

At this point, I'm near 24 and Mos Def has become more than just the guy who made Black On Both Sides and starred in a few awesome movies. He's an institution now in hip-hop, one of the standard bearers for crossover appeal. Retiring a name and going by some hokey moniker like Yasiin Bey does me no favors. None at all. You're the Most Definite. Stay with it.

3. Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines

This might be the only one that went into full psycho territory.  Garth Brooks became Chris Gaines in some weird attempt to be more than a country singer. We got one album, it was mediocre at best and the whole thing thankfully died around 2001.

4. Prince/The Artist Formerly Known As Prince

Prince on any greatest musician list is a prerequisite. Yet, as we all know -- Prince is also sometimes batshit crazy.  When he began lashing out at Warner Brothers Records, he went so far to etch the word "slave" in his head and then to top it all off, changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol. All in effort to get out of a contract.

Imagine trying to bed a chick after getting the newest CD from The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. She says she likes Prince and you throw on that CD and when she asks you who is that, you tell her, "Oh baby, that's The Artist Formerly Known As Prince." You basically trying to wrap your tongue around the riddle of Prince's new name would have made you strike out with the girl who wanted to wrap her tongue around your riddle. No go. Thankfully Prince went back to being Prince after getting off Warner.

5. Katy Perry/Katy Hudson

Before she became the apple of Russell Brand's eye (for a while), Katy Perry used to sing gospel songs and even made a Christian album. Thing is, there was already a smoking hot chick with the name Katy Hudson so Perry was adopted. Still, can you imagine calling her Katy Hudson? It probably would have driven Zooey Deschanel nuts.

So no Jim Crane, changing the name of the Astros won't make us think that they didn't suck last year and drove us to follow anything but the Astros baseball wise. But, think of us when you change the beer prices.

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Brandon Caldwell has been writing about music and news for the Houston Press since 2011. His work has also appeared in Complex, Noisey, the Village Voice & more.
Contact: Brandon Caldwell