These famous bands changed their names... from what?

8 April 2019, 21:18 | Updated: 8 April 2019, 21:21

Do you have any records by Seymour in your collection? How about Fear Of Flying? Pilot? The Rain?

You have and you just don't know it. We take a look back at the early incarnations of classic bands.

  1. Blur - Seymour

    Dave Rowntree, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Alex James of Blur, 1991
    Dave Rowntree, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Alex James of Blur, 1991. Picture: Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty Images

    When Albarn, Coxon, James and Rowntree first got together in 1988, they titled themselves after a J.D. Salinger collection of novellas, called Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. Food Records boss Andy Ross didn't like the name and suggested they change it - the monosyllabic "Blur" was in keeping with the shoegaze/noise bands of the time, like Ride, Lush, Curve and Loop.

  2. Kaiser Chiefs - Parva

    Andrew 'Whitey' White, Simon Rix, Ricky Wilson, Nick 'Peanut' Baines and Nick Hodgson of Kaiser Chiefs in 2007
    Andrew 'Whitey' White, Simon Rix, Ricky Wilson, Nick 'Peanut' Baines and Nick Hodgson of Kaiser Chiefs in 2007. Picture: Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty Images

    Ricky Wilson and his Leeds-based troubadours had a whole previous life as young hopefuls Parva. Originally named Runston Parva, they shortened the name and released an album called 22 in 2003. However, their label closed and the band were dropped, which meant they re-invented themselves as Kaiser Chiefs the following year.

  3. Editors - Pilot

    Russell Leetch, Chris Urbanowicz, Tom Smith and Ed Lay of Editors
    Russell Leetch, Chris Urbanowicz, Tom Smith and Ed Lay of Editors. Picture: Frank Mullen/WireImage/Getty Images

    Tom Smith and co were known under various other titles during their early days in the Midlands. Their first show was as Pilot in 2002, but they realised there was a more famous Pilot, who had a hit with the song January in 1975. Their first demo was under the title The Pride, but when Ed Lay joined on drums, they morphed into Snowfield, under which name they released an EP in 2003. On signing to Kitchenware in 2004, the band settled on the name Editors.

  4. Joy Division - Warsaw

    Joy Division performing live in March 1979
    Joy Division performing live in March 1979. Picture: Martin O'Neill/Redferns/Getty Images

    The Manchester band, with legendary frontman Ian Curtis, were almost given the moniker Stiff Kittens by Buzzcocks frontman Pete Shelley. The band preferred Warsaw, after a track on David Bowie's Low album, called Warszawa and recorded their first, very punky EP under that title. However, the name caused confusion with the London band, Warsaw Pakt, so a rethink was needed and a more graceful type of music followed. (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

  5. White Lies - Fear Of Flying

    White Lies at Coachella Festival, April 2014
    White Lies at Coachella Festival, April 2014. Picture: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Coachella

    The Ealing trio had been performing as Fear Of Flying since they were at school, and released two singles under that name in 2006, while playing at the Underage Festival in 2007. Later that year, they deleted their MySpace account and "killed off" Fear Of Flying in favour of a whole new set of darker songs, under the name White Lies.

  6. U2 - The Hype

    Adam Clayton, the Edge, Bono, and Larry Mullen Jr of U2 in 1984
    Adam Clayton, the Edge, Bono, and Larry Mullen Jr of U2 in 1984. Picture: Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

    Larry Mullen started a school band called Feedback at Mount Temple Comprehensive in Dublin back in 1976. The following year, they changed their name to The Hype and only became the four-piece U2 we know and love when The Edge's older brother quit the band in 1978.

  7. Radiohead - On a Friday

    Radiohead in 1995
    Radiohead in 1995. Picture: Bob Berg/Getty Images

    The band that would become Radiohead first started rehearsing at their school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire in 1985. The day of rehearsals inspired the name, and it was as On A Friday that the band first came to the attention of the EMI label some six years later. When they signed a record deal, the label requested a change of name; Radio Head was the name of a track from the Talking Heads album True Stories.

  8. Oasis - The Rain

    Oasis in 1994
    Oasis in 1994. Picture: Michel Linssen/Redferns/Getty Images

    The world-straddling Oasis originally started off as a band that took their name from the B-side to The Beatles' Paperback Writer. Singer Chris Hutton was replaced by Liam Gallagher, but it wasn't until brother Noel got involved that a change of name was considered (the fact that there was also a Liverpool band called Rain can't have helped). According to legend, Oasis came from the Swindon leisure centre that Noel had visited while roadie-ing for Inspiral Carpets.

  9. Led Zeppelin - The New Yardbirds

    Led Zeppelin in 1968: John Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones.
    Led Zeppelin in 1968: John Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    When Jimmy Page tried to continue the London-based R&B band The Yardbirds with a new line-up in 1968, it seemed natural to call themselves "The New Yardbirds" to cash in on the previous act's fame. However, contractual haggling made them look around for a new moniker, and when The Who's Keith Moon suggested that the whole enterprise would go down "like a lead balloon", inspiration struck.

  10. The Beatles - The Quarry Men

    The Beatles, launching Sgt Pepper in May 1967
    The Beatles, launching Sgt Pepper in May 1967. Picture: John Downing/Getty Images

    The very, very first incarnation of the biggest band in history took their name from Quarry Bank School in Allerton, Liverpool, which John Lennon attended. The line-up changed until it eventually focussed around the trio of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. They played under various names, including Johnny And The Moondogs and The Silver Beatles, before becoming the plain old Beatles in 1960, as a tribute to Buddy Holly's Crickets.

  11. The Cure - Malice

    The Cure In Amsterdam, 1980
    The Cure In Amsterdam, 1980. Picture: Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty Images

    Originally starting life as a school band called The Obelisk in the early 1970s, Robert Smith first started his musical career in earnest in 1976 under the name Malice and played extensively around the Crawley/Sussex area. When the band split the following year, they became known as Easy Cure after a song in their set. With the advent of punk, however, Smith wanted a more dynamic title and ditched the first part of the name. Picture: Photoshot

  12. Coldplay - Starfish

    Coldplay in 2000: Guy Berryman, Will Champion, Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland
    Coldplay in 2000: Guy Berryman, Will Champion, Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland. Picture: Mick Hutson/Redferns/Getty Images

    Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland formed a band at college in London back in 1996 under the horrible name Pectoralz. With the addition of Guy Berryman the following year, the group were playing gigs in the capital under the uninspiring name Starfish. With the addition of drummer Will Champion, their name changed for the final time to Coldplay… and superstardom soon followed.

  13. Depeche Mode - Composition Of Sound

    Depeche Mode in 1984: lan Wilder, Andrew Fletcher, Dave Gahan and Martin Gore
    Depeche Mode in 1984: lan Wilder, Andrew Fletcher, Dave Gahan and Martin Gore. Picture: Roberta Bayley/Redferns/Getty Images

    Back in Basildon, Essex in 1977, Vince Clarke and Andy Fletcher originally worked together in a traditional guitar-based band called No Romance In China. The pair, plus Martin Gore then formed a similar act called Composition Of Sound, with Clarke on guitar. After hearing Liverpool synth-pop duo OMD, Clarke decided to go electronic and singer Dave Gahan joined; that was the point they changed their name to Depeche Mode.

  14. Pink Floyd - The Tea Set

    Pink Floyd in 1967: Nick Mason, Rick Wright, Syd Barrett and Roger Waters
    Pink Floyd in 1967: Nick Mason, Rick Wright, Syd Barrett and Roger Waters. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    Roger Waters, Rick Wright and Nick Mason first played as a six piece called Sigma 6 in the early 1960s, before playing under the names the Meggadeaths, The Screaming Abdabs, Leonard's Lodgers, and the Spectrum Five before becoming The Tea Set in 1964. They remained under that name until they became The Pink FLoyd Sound at the end of 1965.

  15. Bloc Party - Superheroes Of BMX

    Bloc Party in 2005
    Bloc Party in 2005. Picture: PYMCA/UIG via Getty Images

    Russell Lissack and Kele Okereke decided to form a band at the Reading Festival in 1999 and, with the help of Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong, performed under a number of daft names that included Superheroes of BMX, The Angel Range, Diet and Union. They settled on Bloc Party in 2003, shortly before the release of their debut single She's Hearing Voices.

  16. Pearl Jam - Mookie Blaylock

    Pearl Jam in 1992: Stone Gossard, Eddie Vedder, Dave Abbruzzese, Jeff Ament and Mike McCready
    Pearl Jam in 1992: Stone Gossard, Eddie Vedder, Dave Abbruzzese, Jeff Ament and Mike McCready. Picture: Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images

    Eddie Vedder's grunge titans were originally called Mookie Blaylock after the NBA Basketball player, but Mr Blaylock was not amused and threatened legal action. A swift name-change was required and the rest is history.

  17. Nirvana - Pen Cap Chew

    Nirvana in 1990: Chad Channing, Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain
    Nirvana in 1990: Chad Channing, Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain. Picture: Mark and Colleen Hayward/Getty Images

    Kurt Cobain had recorded a demo tape under the charming name of Fecal Matter, but when the time came to form a proper band with bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Aaron Burckhard, they went through names such as Bliss, Skid Row, Ted Ed Fred and Pen Cap Chew. Thankfully, they chose the timeless name Nirvana for their first proper demos in January 1988.

  18. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Tony Flow And The Majestic Masters Of Mayhem

    Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1988
    Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1988. Picture: Joe Dilworth/Photoshot/Getty Images

    This was the name that Anthony Kiedis, Flea, original Chili Peppers Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons played their first ever gig at the Rhythm Lounge in Hollywood in February 1983. They went down so well, they were asked back, but chose a less silly name for the remainder of their career.