Born: Paul David Hewson
Supposedly named after a Dublin hearing-aid shop called Bono
Vox -- Latin for "good voice." His U2 bandmate the
Edge got his own nickname from either his sharp facial features
or his fearlessness of heights, depending on which version
Born: Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr.
Snoop Dogg was nicknamed "Snoopy" by his mom for
his love of the 'Peanuts' comic strip. If the original Snoopy
was, in fact, a little bit gangsta, 'Doggystyle,' we presume,
was not quite what Charles Schulz had in mind.
Born: Brian Hugh Warner
Marilyn Manson combined Marilyn Monroe with Charles
Manson, of course. His bandmate Twiggy Ramirez (Jeordie White)
combined the names of the slender '60s fashion icon and the
serial killer Richard Ramirez. Most of the various band members
have taken similarly titillating monikers – Daisy Berkowitz,
Madonna Wayne Gacy, Gidget Gein...
Born: Annie Mae Bullock
Tina Turner got the last name, of course, by marrying
her bandleader, Ike Turner. But he also changed the soul queen's
given name as well, appropriately yet obliquely inspired by
his fandom of comic-book wildwoman Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.
Born: William Michael Albert Broad
A teacher once marked a report card for young Bill with the
comment, "William is idle." After his career went
multiplatinum in the 1980s, this textbook bad boy fell off
the map, going 12 album-less years before a 2005 comeback.
Once again, Billy was, in fact, idle.
Born: Reginald Kenneth Dwight
Sir Reg's early band was Bluesology, featuring saxophonist
Elton Dean and frontman Long John Baldry. In 1972, he legally
changed his name to Elton Hercules John, despite never having
shared a band with any Hercules.
Born: Natalie Renee McIntyre
There's Macy Gray, and then there's Macy Gray the neo-soul
singer. The latter pinched her stage name wholesale from a
man who lived in her Canton, Ohio, neighborhood. No word on
whether Mr. Gray ever mistakenly received any of his namesake
neighbor's royalty checks in the mail.
Born: Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner
Playing in a jazz band, the young Gordo once wore a black-and-yellow
striped shirt that made him look like a bumblebee. "My
children call me Sting, my mother calls me Sting," he
once joked, after being addressed by his given name. "Who
is this Gordon character?"
Born: Richard Melville Hall
Childhood nickname bestowed by his parents; Richie's great-great
grand-uncle was 'Moby-Dick' author Herman Melville. Sadly,
this connection to the great whale tale had nothing to do
with Moby's brief stint in the band Flipper.
Born: James Newell Osterberg Jr.
His first high school band was called the Iguanas, earning
Iggy Pop another colorful nickname – the Rock Iguana.
Unhappily credited as Iggy Stooge on the Stooges' first few
Born: Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien
Let's say you start a group with your brother called the Springfields,
he adopts the moniker Tom Springfield -- and you're Mary Isobel
Catherine Bernadette O'Brien. Suffice to say it didn't take
a lot of arm-twisting for Dusty -- a childhood nickname --
to change her surname as well.
Born: Ellas Otha Bates
Bo Diddley might've swiped his lyrical stage name from a variety
of sources. A diddley bow is a homemade, one-stringed instrument
often used by sharecroppers. Maybe more to the point for this
master of the good-natured put-down is the old-timey insult:
"That ain't bo diddley."
Born: Farrokh Bulsara
Born in Zanzibar to a Zoroastrian family of Indian descent,
the man who would be Queen began calling himself Freddie while
at boarding school near Bombay, where he started a band called
Born: John Joseph Lydon
The head Sex Pistol is said to have earned his nickname through
the dubious distinction of his prematurely decaying teeth.
Rotten's nickname for his pal John Simon Ritchie was dentally
inspired, too -- "Sid Vicious" was borrowed from
a particularly nippy pet hamster.
Born: Christa Paffgen
When she was a teenage model in Europe, the German-born singer
was redubbed by fashion photographer Herbert Tobias. He must
have been quite taken by her beauty, as he was inspired to
give her the name of his friend (and rumored ex-lover), filmmaker
Born: Michael Peter Balzary
Like Sting, another product of the Flying Pest school of rock
nicknames. The Red Hot Chili Pepper's stage name was bestowed
for his high-strung nature by high school buddy Anthony Kiedis
on a ski trip.
Born: Herman Poole Blount
The eccentric jazzman, who claimed he was from Saturn, named
himself after the ancient Egyptian sun god. Also answered,
somewhat less exotically, to the childhood nickname Sonny.
Born: Declan Patrick McManus
Originally performed as D.P. Costello, using his great-grandmother's
surname (not inspired by the American comedian Lou Costello).
Costello later took his manager's advice and adopted the first
name Elvis. Further confusing the matter, he legally added
Aloysius to his given name in the '80s.
Born: Chester Arthur Burnett
Named for the 21st president, enormous young Chester was called
"Bull Cow" before he became Howlin' Wolf, which
came from a grandfather who liked to scare the boy with tales
of wolves who would come after him if he misbehaved.
Born: Charlyn Marie Marshall
Chan Marshall didn't adopt her Cat Power alter ego in solidarity
with feline empowerment. The indie vocalist once spotted the
phrase "Cat Diesel Power" on a trucker hat advertising
Caterpillar heavy machinery.
Born: Eric Reed Boucher
The wickedly ironic Dead Kennedys founder combined the name
of the jiggly, nutrition-free instant food with the name of
the African secessionist state that suffered mass starvation
in the late 1960s.
Born: Vincent Furnier
Original band the Spiders switched their name to Alice Cooper,
conjured, according to the record company, through a Ouija
board encounter with a medieval witch of the same name. In
1974, Furnier legally adopted the name, keeping it for his
Born: Arnold George Dorsey
The crooner of 'Release Me' and 'After the Lovin'' swiped
his stage name from the 19th-century German composer of the
opera 'Hansel and Gretel,' which was described by the original
Engelbert as "a fairy opera."
Born: Marvin Lee Aday
The 'Bat Out of Hell' blockbuster's first band was called
Meat Loaf Soul; he debuted, oddly, with Motown, as half of
a duet called Stoney and Meat Loaf. Recently changed his given
first name, which no one knew anyway, to Michael.
Ol' Dirty Bastard
Born: Russell Tyrone Jones
Wu-Tang Clan founding member nicknamed after a kung-fu film
known as 'Ol' Dirty & the Bastard'; Jones's unique flow
struck his bandmates as having "no father." And
while a few people have one good alter ego, ODB rocked about
15 or so great ones, including Dirt McGirt, Peanut the Kidnapper,
Freeloading Rusty and Big Baby Jesus.