This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Farm Aid, the concert event that was started in 1985 by the likes of John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, and Neil Young after Bob Dylan quipped at Live Aid that he hoped some proceeds might help American farms in debt. That first year, acts as huge and disparate as Billy Joel, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Beach Boys, Lou Reed, Merle Haggard, and others joined in to help raise money and awareness of the plight of family farms in the U.S. Van Halen even took the opportunity to debut Sammy Hagar as their new lead singer, and the event has been going strong ever since. In 1989, Farm Aid president and your favorite marijuana advocate, Willie Nelson, took the show on the road and hit 16 different dates to improve outreach.
Snoop Dogg is no more. Now he's Snoop Lion. Following a conversion to the Rastafari movement, the rapper changed his stage name, and is preparing to release a Reggae album called Reincarnated.
This, of course, isn't the first time an artist or band has changed their name. Bands frequently go through one or more name changes early in their careers. For example U2 was first called "Feedback" and then "The Hype" before settling on their current name.
Sometimes, though, name changes come later in careers. Here are four of the best known artists with multiple name changes:
- Snoop Lion: Snoop's most recent name change isn't his first. He debuted in 1993 as Snoop Doggy Dogg. By his third album, Da Game is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told, he was Snoop Dogg.
- Prince: Who can forget The Love Symbol? Prince adopted it in 1993 following a very public dispute with his label. A combination of the male and female gender symbols, it was unpronounceable, leading the media to dub him "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince." He later reverted to his original name.
- Diddy: The artist now known as Diddy has gone through a whole slew of name changes. Sean Combs — which is his real name — has shifted from his original Puff Daddy to P. Diddy in 2001, and finally just Diddy in 2005. Fun fact: Due to a legal dispute, he is still known as P. Diddy in the United Kingdom.
- John Mellencamp: After spending his early years as Johnny Cougar and John Cougar, mainstream success gave him enough say to finally have "Mellencamp" attached to his name in 1982, creating John Cougar Mellencamp. Eight years later it was shortened to his legal name, removing the "Cougar."