Julie Devereaux

Weekdays 10:00am - 2:00pm

Freddie Mercury is not Freddy Mercury‘s real name. That’s his rock star name. Freddie‘s real name is Farrokh Bulsara.

Freddie is one of many performers who decided the name mom and dad gave them wasn’t quite good enough for rock star status, so they changed it.

Some of my radio coworkers over the years have “radio names”. Yes, Julie Devereaux is my real name. Actually, it’s my married name though I’ve been divorced as long as I’ve been in radio.

Let’s take a look at the real names ofย some rock stars!

  • Freddie Mercury aka Farrokh Bulsara

    According to different sources, Farrokh began calling himself “Freddie” when he was still a teen. He chose the sir name “Mercury” from a song he’d written called “My Fairy King”. There’s a line in the song that says “Oh Mother Mercury, what have you done to me?”. Voila! Freddie Mercury!

  • Joan Jett aka Joan Marie Larkin

    Joan Jett started the Runaways when she was 16. She changed her last name to “Jett” because she thought it had more of a rock star sound than her birth name.

  • Jon Bon Jovi aka John Francis Bongiovi jr.

    Record execs are the ones who suggested the more anglicized “Bon Jovi“. John took it to the next level, changing the spelling of his first name to “Jon“.

  • Gene Simmons aka Chaim Witz

    Gene first changed his name when he and his mom immigrated from Isreal. He went with Eugene Klein.ย  However, when he needed a stage name, he borrowed from ’50’s rocker, “Jumpin Gene Simmons“.

  • Iggy Pop aka James Newell Osterberg jr.

    I can’t imagine calling Iggy Pop “James” or “Jimmy”.ย  In high school he was the drummer of a band called the Iguanas, hence the nickname “Iggy“. A few years later he had a friend, Jimmy Pop, who’d lost his hair and eyebrows, prompting Iggy to shave his eyebrows giving birth to Iggy Pop.

  • Joe Perry aka Joseph Pereira

    Grandpa Pereira changed the family name to Perry when they emigrated to the US.

  • Alice Cooper aka Vincent Damon Furnier

    The name “Alice Cooper” came from an image in the young Vincent Furnier‘s mind, of a little girl holding a lollipop in one hand and a butcher knife in the other. He legally changed his name to Alice Cooper to protect the rights of the band against any attempt to steal it.

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  • Steven Tyler aka Steven Victor Tallarico

    Steven Tallarico tried out a couple stage names before he settled on Steven Tyler. There was “Steven Tally” and there was almost a “Tyler Britt” fronting early Aerosmith. But Steven Tyler made the cut.

  • Axl Rose aka William Bruce Bailey

    Rose is actually Axl‘s birth sir name. His biological dad left when he was a toddler, his mom remarried and renamed him a Bailey. When he discovered the change, he changed it back. Axl was the name of a band he started in the early days. When a friend suggested he change his first name to Axl, he agreed.

  • Bono aka Paul David Hewson

    The young Paul Hewson was part of a local street gang in his home town of Dublin. His friends started calling him Bono Vox after the neighborhood hearing aid store, Bonavox, (Latin for ‘good voice’). The nickname Bono stuck.

  • The Edge aka David Howell Evans

    Well of course his real name isn’t “the Edge” even though even his mom does call David Evans “Edge”. Again, a nickname he earned as a kid, from his good friend Bono, because of the angular shape of his head.

  • Thomas Erdelyi, Douglas Glenn Colvin, Jeffrey Ross Hyman and John William Cummings aka Tommy, Dee Dee, Joey and Johnny Ramone

    Paul McCartney used to use the pseudonym Paul Ramon in the early days. Dee Dee Ramone (aka Douglas Glenn Colvin) convinced the other guys to use the name as their last name and the name of the band. Win, win!

  • Jimi Hendrix Was Born John Hendrix

    He started life as John Allen Hendrix. Upon returning from military service, his father, changed his toddler son’s name from John Allen Hendrix to James Marshall Hendrix. But wait, there’s more. After Jimmy Hendrix returned from his military service, he started working as a session musician under the name Jimmy James, eventually forming a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. The bass player from the Animals caught one of their shows and was so impressed by guitarist Jimmy James he convinced him to move to London, change Jimmy to Jimi and put the Hendrix back. The rest is mind blowing, guitar playing history.