Original names of the Beach Boys and other iconic groups might surprise you

Find out who was called what when these top groups started out and why some of their names were changed.
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Where did Black Sabbath get their early name from?

Black Sabbath

There is an unusual name in this group’s history. Why doesn't that surprise with Ozzy Osbourne involved?  In an early stage they were called The Polka Tulk Blues Band, and at times dropped the Blues and just used Polka Tulk. Some stories suggest those came from a brand of talcum powder used by Osbourne’s mother. Others suggest it’s from a local clothing shop name. 

Soon after they became Earth, but much to Osbourne’s relief that had to be changed. He wasn’t keen on it and wasn't unhappy when they had to change because of another band with the same name. A cinema local to rehearsals was showing a horror film, Black Sabbath, with Boris Karloff. That led to the song “Black Sabbath” being written and it became the new band name too.

Van Halen

Brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen formed a band in the 1960s known as The Broken Combs. That later became Trojan Rubber Co., followed in 1972 by Genesis. But that name hit a problem as news of the UK prog rock band of the same name spread. So the Van Halen’s opted for Mammoth instead. 

A year later when singer David Lee Roth joined he persuaded a change to Van Halen.  It might not have been highly original, but it worked and remained in place. That's despite Eddie Van Halen admitting that at one point he wanted to alter it to Rat Salad, after a Black Sabbath song.

Mott The Hoople

Variations of the band had been playing as the Doc Thomas Group, then Shakedown Sound, and also as Silence.  A new manager for the band then decided on a new name for them. He based it on a book about a freak circus performer, Mott The Hoople. Lots of us have been wrongly wondering for years about ‘what’ a hoople is rather than ‘who’.