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Bands forced to change their names


Other people can be the worst. Taking our parking spaces, making us give up our seats on the bus, breathing our air, it's enough to cause total agoraphobia. While you're busy feeling sorry for yourself right now, spare a thought for those hard-working musician types. You know, those ones who get paid more than you ever will.

Due to legal reasons, they often have to abandon their first choice for a band name and get creative. Here are ten examples:

(Images: Rex Features)


Pete Cetera’s soft-rock band were originally called Chicago Transit Authority, but when Chicago City threatened legal action, they quickly backed down. Luckily they didn't stick to their first ever title The Big Thing as they might have been sued by something very big.


In 1979, band founder Mick Pointer originally took the name Silmarillion after JRR Tolkien’s book, but thought better of it due to copyright issues. Since the name had already been printed on one of their guitar cases, they thought Marillion would be the easiest option. Personally we'd have gone for Lion.


The US caused problems for the Britpoppers as there was an obscure lounge singer who had the same name, forcing them to become The London Suede. Brett Anderson was unhappy with the change and made his feelings public. The singer Suede claimed it was "a modern-day David and Goliath" yet in the US, the band Suede never really reached Goliath status...

The Verve

Richard Ashcroft’s band were originally called Verve (no ‘The’), but they stirred up a lawsuit from US jazz label of the same name, who have released albums from Ella Fitzgerald, Jamie Cullum and, ermm, Queen Latifah. The simple change did nothing to affect their ascension.

Linkin Park

Originally called Hybrid Theory until another band called Hybrid flagged up issues. So they swapped to Lincoln Park but couldn’t afford the new ‘lincolnpark.com’ domain, hence the wacky spelling. Some of the rumoured alternatives were Clear, Probing Lagers, Ten PM Stocker and Platinum Lotus Foundation. All discarded due to extreme lameness.

Kling Klang

Legendary electro-oddities Kraftwerk are reportedly suing Liverpool band Kling Klang as the phrase is a registered band trademark and the name of their Dusseldorf studio. The phrase apparently means 'ding dong' in German. Unsurprisingly there hasn't been an equivalent scramble for the rights over here.

Led Zeppelin

Jimmy Page was originally in a band called The Yardbirds and after he left and created The New Yardbirds, a cease-and-desist letter from his old bandmate meant that he was unable to continue using the name. Led Zeppelin apparently originated from a joke by a member of The Who that the new band would go down like a lead balloon. This was then transformed into Led Zeppelin.

Liberty X

The ‘Flopstars’ were originally ‘X’-less… until early ’90s band Liberty took umbrage. The R&B band who achieved some success back in the day took the new Liberty to court and the judge forced them to change it. They asked advice from the creative powerhouse that is The Sun and their readers did the rest.

Pearl Jam

Originally called Mookie Blaylock after the All-Star basketball player but since he was still playing, his name was considered a brand that couldn't be shared with some rock upstarts. They changed it to Pearl Jam, reportedly because Eddie Vedder's great-grandmother Pearl would make special jam. He has since denounced the story yet his great-gran IS called Pearl.

Death From Above 1979

The Toronto dance-punk duo had to add the 1979 after a legal dispute with New York label DFA Records. Death From Above had been a working name for LCD Soundsystem singer, and DFA founder, James Murphy. 1979 was added as band member Sebastien Grainger was born in that year and has it tattooed on his arm apparently.



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