Real Names of Famous Singers

atkins bookshelf musicLike many movie stars, singers and musicians have concluded that their real names may not have quite the panache that matches up with their public persona. Monoyms — being address by a single name — have been around for centuries (eg, Moliere in the 1600s, and Voltaire in the 1700s); however, musical innovators, like Prince, Madonna and Sting, popularized the mononym for new generations.

One of the most interesting name changes occurred in 1993, when Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson) changed his name from Prince to a newly created symbol, a combination of the symbols for male and female, called the Love Symbol. Since the symbol had no pronunciation, the press referred to Prince as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” (or the shorter “TAFKAP”), or “The Artist.” When asked about the symbol’s meaning, Prince explained: “It is an unpronounceable symbol whose meaning has not been identified. It’s all about thinking in new ways, tuning in 2 a new free-quency. [sic]” More directly, the name change was a very public way of displaying his dissatisfaction with the recording contract he had with Warner Brothers. Prince and the record label, which owned the trademark of his name, had a huge disagreement regarding the schedule for the release of his work. Prince felt trapped: “The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros.” Once the Warner Brothers contract ended in 2000, The Artist reclaimed his  old name, Prince.

Here are the real names of famous singers.

Alice Cooper: Vincent Damon Furnier
Billie Holiday: Eleanora Fagan
Billy Idol: William Broad
Bob Dylan: Robert Zimmerman
Bono: Paul David Hewson
David Bowie: David Robert Jones

Bruno Mars: Peter Gene Hernandez
Cher: Cheerily Sarkisian
Christopher Cross: Christopher Geppert
Dido: Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong

Drake: Aubrey Drake Graham
Elton John: Reginald Kenneth Dwight
Faith Hill: Audrey Faith Perry
Freddy Mercury: Farrokh Bulsara
Gloria Estegan: Gloria Maria Milagrosa Fajardo
Iggy Pop: James Jewell Osterberg, Jr.
Joe Walsh: Joseph Fidler
Jon Bon Jovi: John Francis Bongiovi

Katy Perry: Kathryn Hudson
Lady Gaga: Stefani Joanne Angeline Germanotta
Leon Russell: Claude Russell Bridges

Lorde: Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O-Connor
Ludacris: Christopher Brian Bridges
Madonna: Madonna Louise Ciccone
Meatloaf: Marvin Lee Aday

Miley Cyrus: Destiny Hope Cyrus
Nat King Cole: Nathaniel Adams Cole

Nicki Minaj: Anika Tanya Maraj
Ringo Starr: Richard Starkey
Seal: Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel
Shania Twain: Eileen Regina Edwards
Sia: Sia Kate Isabelle Furler

Steven Tyler: Steven Victor Tallarico
Sting: Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner
Stevie Wonder: Stevland Hardaway Judkins
Vangelis: Evangelos Papathanassiou

Read related posts: How Famous Singers Got Their Names
How Rock Bands Got Their Names

Origins of the Beatles Name
The Dark Side of the Moon Turns 40
Best Books for Music Lovers
How Many Music Genres Exist?

For further reading:

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