Band Name Changes

I tried the magical search engine, but didn’t get much that applied, so I rely on posting.

Are there any instances where a band has hit the big time and then decided to change names (while keeping the same basic cast of musicians in the group)? I think there are, but I am drawing a blank.

Jefferson Airplane --> Jefferson Starship --> Starship

Does this fit your profile?

Since I am not a fan of any of those incarnations, I will assume it does. Any others?

John Cougar->John Mellencamp->John Cougar Mellancamp

Would Creedence Clearwater Revisited count? It has the original Creedence rhythm section (and Elliott Easton of the Cars, believe it or not!).

I don’t know if this exactly fits but…

Pearl Jam was originally named “Mother Love Bone”. Right when they got their first big contract (they had recorded with SupPop records in Seattle) with an LA record company one of the band members committed suicide. The next I heard of them they were calling themselves “Pearl Jam”. Technically they had set foot on the road to stardom before they changed their name.

[nitpick] it was Johnny Cougar --> John Cougar Mellencamp --> John Mellencamp [/nitpick]

What about

Chicago Transit Authority --> Chicago

Mother’s Milk --> Boston[sup]*[/sup]

The Warlocks --> The Grateful Dead[sup][/sup]
[/sup] These may not be within your guidelines, as these are more of transitions. Mother’s milk and The Warlocks both gained a few member to become their “current” incarnation. It depends on what you mean by “basic cast”.

spritle: Ya know, I was going to put Johnny Cougar, but I couldn’t remember if he actually went by that or if it was only in my head. I guess I should go with my first instinct. Good call on Chicago. Did you know they made the change after only one album because it pissed of the actual Chicago Transit Authority.

Prince–>“The Symbol”–>The Artist

One hit wonders: Green Jello–>Green Jelly

I can think of two:
Miami Sound Machine -> Miami Sound Machine (featuring Gloria Estefan) -> Gloria Estefan (featuring Miami Sound Machine) -> Gloria Estefan.

YES -> Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe + YES (they split into two bands, both comprised of former members of YES) does that one count?

Plus, there was this one sax player called “worthless feces” who later changed his name to “Kenny G”

also, I don’t know if this counts, because they have a history of changing the lineup substantially every album or so, but recently KMFDM became MDFMK because they decided to take the music in a different direction (get it? Different direction! hahaha).

Depends on what you define as the big time. I know a few bands that are considered major, big, whatever, who have changed their names.
Reo Speedealer --> Speedealer (result of lawsuit)
Man, or Astroman? --> Man, or Astroman? Alpha Clone Project

There’s also the incredible shrinking band name,

The Mystic Knights of the *Oingo ** Boingo ** *

(plain - pre 1980)
(italics - 1980-1994)
(bold - 1994-1995)

It seems a little difficult to track the exact history leading up to ‘hitting it big’. Many bands are said to have their roots in other bands, and often go through member changes while the ‘primary’ creative force remains with the two members.

For example the Mother Love Bone - Pearl Jam history.
What I know of it is – MLB had Andrew Wood, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, and two other guys I can’t remember. They just finished recording their album when Wood died. His roommate Chris Cornell gets together with Ament and Gossard to record a tribute album. Cornell is also doing work with Matt Cameron, and Ament and Gossard are working with Mike McReady. They also get Eddie Vedder to do some of the vocals, and a few others work on it as well. They call themselves Temple of the Dog, taking the name from one of Andrew Wood’s songs.
Then McReady, Ament, Gossard, & Vedder hit the big time as Pearl Jam. Cornell & Cameron also make it big in Soundgarden.

There’s probably even more complications to any band, and it’s hard to say exactly who can be considered a vital member of one band that has a different name.

Then there’s bands that get famous and perform under another name for anonymity. Boingo, for instance, sometimes used the name “Clowns of Death” when they wanted to be unknown.

A big hit, followed by a completely new name, followed by another big hit is extremely rare. Also, because of normal turnover, and people going solo, it’s often hard to tell where one group ends, and another begins. For the following, I’m using some examples from listings in Top Pop Singles where a single artist is listed as having hits under more than one name.

  1. The 4 Seasons, at the height of their popularity, in 1965 simultaneously released an album that was listed as recorded by “The Wonder Who?”. Thus, “Don’t Think Twice” by The Wonder Who? charted on the U.S. top 20 at the same time as “Let’s Hang On!” by The 4 Seasons. (This group also had a minor hit as The Four Lovers, before they became The 4 Seasons).

  2. Parliament and Funkadelic, headed by George Clinton in the 1960’s on, was essentially a big conglomeration of musicians which simultaneously had a hit songs released under the two different names, for two different record labels.

  3. In 1965, Chad Allen & the Expressions got to #22 with “Shakin’ All Over”. For the rest of their hits (with a new lead singer) they were The Guess Who.

From Joe_Cool: also, I don’t know if this counts, because they have a history of changing the lineup substantially every album or so, but recently KMFDM became MDFMK because they decided to take the music in a different direction (get it? Different direction! hahaha).

That is so 1960s. (In 1965, the Avons changed their name to the Novas, although neither version ever had a big hit)

On a bit of a random aside, I just feel the need to apologize for the spelling error in the thread title.

know problim :smiley:

I consider it more of a typo than a speling eror. :smiley:

I’d also like to add that Prince/Symbol/AFKAP is now back to calling himself Prince.

Unfortuneately the name escapes me now, but there was one band that changed names and genre’s and got hits. I think it was the group that recorded “Amy”. They went from C&W to rock and roll, IIRC. though I do not remember what name they became.

Are you talking about Pure Prairie League? AFAIK, they kept that name throughout their career.

Forget the above post. Pure Prairie League was not the band I was thinking of…

I was thinking of Exiles -> Exile.

Not much of a name change but they went from pop, hit: “I want to kiss you all over…” to C&W.