16 Stars Who Also Worked Under Fictional Names

Pop

There’s a number of reasons why an artist might choose to work under a pseudonym.

For one thing, it’s a relatively simple way to avoid contractual or legal conflicts, as well as drama between competing record labels. Elton John, for example, used the pseudonym Rockaday Johnnie for his contributions to one of Jackson Browne‘s songs, “Redneck Friend,” because at that point, he didn’t yet have a permit to work in America.

Or sometimes, it’s about proving that a good song is a good song, no matter how famous of a person wrote it. That’s what Paul McCartney was aiming for in 1965 when he gave the English pop duo Peter and Gordon a song he’d written called “Woman,” under the condition that they credit him as the made-up Bernard Webb.

READ MORE: 36 Songs That Were Offered or Intended for Other Artists

“I was a bit annoyed that anything by Lennon-McCartney was being a hit, particularly by Peter and Gordon,” he later explained. “I don’t know, I just got an attack of morals or something, but I felt it was a bit much that automatically having our name on something made it do well, and I wanted to see if I could get around it. So I asked our music publisher, Dick James, if I could use a pseudonym.

“He was a bit jittery – ‘It sells better if your name’s on it!’ – so I said ‘Yes but Dick, look, you’ve got all that money, you’ve got ‘Yesterday,’ we’re doing great, I really am keen on seeing this happen,’ so he gave in. Bernard Webb was the name I chose, and the nice thing was that shortly after that we went on tour to America and someone was holding up a big sign saying ‘Long live Bernard Webb!’ I didn’t really mind when people found out.”

In the below gallery, we’re taking a look at 16 rock artists and their respective pseudonyms. It’s possible you’ve heard music by some of your favorite people and not known it this whole time…

16 Rock Artist Pseudonyms

For a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s best not to be oneself.

Gallery Credit: Allison Rapp



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