Aly & AJ’s Breakup With Their Name Inspires A List Of Other Artists Who Have Changed Their Monikers Mid-Stream

noah | July 10, 2009 3:00 pm

Earlier this week, the blonde pop duo Aly & AJ announced that they had changed their name to 78violet. (“Fyi…..u pronounce #78violet as seventy eight violet:),” they helpfully added.) The sisters are calling their renaming “an exciting new beginning,” although given that they’ve already achieved some chart success under their old name, one wonders if this change might hurt their fledgling pop career more than it helps. As a way to assist these young ladies through this crucial stage in their career, Idolator presents a few stories of artists who changed their names—and how their careers fared once all the paperwork with the local DMV had been signed.THE OLD NAME: Green Jellö.THE NEW NAME: Green Jellÿ (but it’s pronounced “green jello”).THE REASONING: Let’s just say that Jell-O makers Kraft Foods weren’t so keen on their signature gelatin being branded with the gross-out rockers, who came to fame in the early ’90s with their retelling of the old fairy tale “Three Little Pigs.”

THE RESULT: The band kept at it after “Pigs,” opening an audio-visual production agency and covering Gary Glitter’s “Leader Of The Gang” with Hulk Hogan. After splitting up in 1995, they returned in 2008 for a brief roll in the reunion-tour mud.THE OLD NAME: John Cougar.THE NEW NAMES: John Cougar Mellencamp; John Mellencamp.THE REASONING: Flush from the success of “Jack & Diane,” John managed to get enough clout to force his record label to re-add his surname to his feline stage name, which he claimed was forced on him by the suits. He eventually dropped the “Cougar” for good in 1991.THE RESULT: His songs from all three eras are still ubiquitous on classic-rock radio, which is a sign that when one fights authority, authority might not always win.THE OLD NAME: Kara’s Flowers.THE NEW NAME: Maroon 5.THE REASONING: The alt-rock outfit wanted to break with its past and embrace a newer, slipperier sound that was more influenced by the Aaliyah classic “Are You That Somebody?” (Oh, like you can’t sort of hear that.)THE RESULT: The second M5 album It Won’t Be Soon Before Long may have been something of a commercial disappointment, but given that I plucked a Kara’s Flowers album out of a dollar bin back in the day, this name change could definitely be seen as an upgrade.THE OLD NAME: Sean “Puffy” Combs.THE NEW NAMES: Puff Daddy; P. Diddy; Diddy.THE REASONING: ; in 2001, he claimed that the moniker P. Diddy would be “something fresh”; and in 2005, he rationalized the dropping of the P by saying it “was getting between me and my fans.”THE RESULT: Even those people who only follow pop music in the vaguest way still know who he is–although his last record was something of a guest-star-laden flop. My question: How soon until he says “LET’S GO” to his fans and demands that they refer to him as iamdiddy?THE OLD NAME Prince.THE NEW NAMES: O(+> / The Artist Formerly Known As Prince; Prince.THE REASONING: In the early ’90s, the Purple One had pretty much had it with Warner Bros., saying that their artistic and financial demands on him were onerous and writing “SLAVE” on his cheek; he switched his name to what he called “the love symbol” to further distance himself from that relationship. (Typography-challenged media outlets referred to him as “The Artist, etc.” during this period.) He switched back to Prince once his publishing contract with Warner/Chappell ran out.THE RESULT: As long as he keeps playing live shows the way he does, he could call himself “Your Mother’s A Whore” and still electrify audiences. (NB: He would probably never call himself YMAW because of his religion. But still, the point stands.)Aly and AJ [Twitter]