If you were incredibly famous the last thing you would want is for the whole world to know that you had a real name you didn’t like or didn’t want to use. In fact, you would do what these smart people did and change the blooming thing as soon as you could.
John Wayne –Marion Robert Morrison
The strangest thing about John Wayne’s parents isn’t the fact that that called their son Marion. Oh no, it was the fact that they decided to change his name after he was born but left in the stupid Marion bit. He went from Marion Robert Morrison to Marion Mitchell Morrison in the blink of an eye. You can just imagine his parents sitting up at night looking at the little cowboy sleeping like an angel. “There’s something about that name that ain’t right but I just can’t put my darned finger on it. Hell, let’s lose the Robert. That ought to make it better”.
Elton John – Reginald Kenneth Dwight
I need to start off by apologizing to anyone out there who has a name anything like Elton’s real name. Come on though; it just sucks, doesn’t it? To be fair, his bizarre use of wigs and hats has ensured that you couldn’t take him too seriously even if he was called Big Daddy or John Wayne.
MC Hammer – Stanley Kirk Burrell
For about 2 days in 1990 I wanted to be MC Hammer and wear pants that had enough room to fit a couple of dozen live chickens in them. Stop! Hammer Time I would have said to everyone while looking astonishingly cool and not at all like a guy who ripping off some other dude’s funky song.
Vanilla Ice – Robert Matthew Van Winkle
You can’t have Hammer without Ice. Mr Van Winkle sang about ice and he sang about turtles. I liked him.
Big Daddy – Shirley Crabtree
Unless you led a sad life watching Saturday daytime TV in the UK in the 1970s and 80s you might not have ever heard of Big Daddy. That’s a shame because…actually, I can’t think of any good reason why that would be a shame. He started his life as Shirley Crabtree, which is a name even Johnny Cash would have struggled to sing about. The good news for young Shirley is that he turned into a hulking young man and become a wrestler known to the world as (drum roll please) Blond Adonis Shirley Crabtree. Hang on; wouldn’t changing his name to Big Daddy be a better move?
Stevie Wonder – Steveland Judkins
I know absolutely no one who is called Steveland. The surname Judkins is also a new one to me, although I have to admit that I have never come across any other members of the Wonder clan over the years either. What does all of this prove? Sweet Fanny Adams, to be honest.
Dido – Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong
I always thought that Dido was her real name. Now it turns out that she’s got a name that sounds like a gothic church in Ireland that was founded by French monks on acid.
Martin Sheen – Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez
I genuinely had no idea that Martin’s parents were Spanish and Irish. I also didn’t know that his left arm was 3 inches shorter than his right due to being crushed by the forceps when he was born. That’s the power of Wikipedia, people.
Fred Astaire – Frederick Austerlitz
Having a surname that sounds like a famous battle won by Napoleon in 1805 that changed the world obviously didn’t appeal to Fred (jeez, this Wikipedia stuff is addictive).