And I'm not counting people who take on the last name of their spouse (Courtney Cox), or who legally change their name to match their successful stage name (Miley Cyrus, Cher).
10. James Joseph McGuinn III, called Jim, was the lead singer of the Byrds. The Byrds had already scored their big hits by 1967, when Jim decided that his name was too plain. He wrote to Muhammad Subuh Sumohadiwidjojo, aka Bapak, the founder of the spiritual movement Subud, with ten name suggestions and asked him to pick one. Bapak picked "Roger", having told him that a new name would better vibrate with the universe.
9. In 2004, following several years of kabbalah study, Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone) changed her name to Esther, which the Talmud relates may be the Persian word for "star", but probably is simply a bastardization of the goddess Ishtar. Should have gone with Cokhava.
8. Lisa Michelle Boney was a teenager on The Cosby Show, and an adult in the movie Angel Heart. After divorcing Lenny Kravitz, she changed her name to Lilakoi Moon, and went on to name her second and third child (born from father Jason Momoa) Lola Iolani Momoa and Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa.
7. Terry Marsh was an undefeated light welterweight boxer, since retired. In the UK 2010 election, Marsh changed his name to "None of the Above X" and put himself on the ticket in South Basildon and East Thurrock, to protest the lack of such an option on the ballot (a party may not call themselves None of the Above, but a person may). He is now legally known as Mr X.
6. Terence Trent Howard is better known by his stage name Terence Trent D'Arby. However, following a successful musical career in the late 1980s and 1990s, he changed his name in 2001 to Sananda Maitreya, after he had a series of dreams that told him to. He used this change to start an independent label.
5. Elvis Costello, born Declan Patrick MacManus, legally changed his name back to Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus in 1986. For some reason. And this is the only post by an Israeli/Jew about Elvis Costello that is not about that other topic.
4. Whenever you see someone mocking pretentious, strange female singers, they're probably making fun of Jane Siberry, who has been making a career out of weird since the early 1980s. In 2006, Jane changed her name to Issa and got rid of all of her belongings except her guitar and a case of Miles Davis CDs. Over two years, she recorded two albums under the name Issa, while deep in soul introspection. She has recently changed back to Jane Siberry.
3. Chad Javon Johnson is a wide receiver for the Bengals. In 2006, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, he changed his name to Chad Ochocinco, making it legal in 2008. Ocho Cinco is 85, his jersey number. He soon intends to change his name to Hachi Go, which is 85 in Japanese.
2. Cat Stevens (born Steven Demetre Georgiou) is one of many who take on a new name when converting to another religion. In his case, he became Yusuf Islam. Yusaf has been involved in a number of controversies over the years as to how his strict Islamic activities can be reconciled with his earlier peace-loving hippie music, but, it turns out, the rumors about his support for extremism and fanaticism are overblown media inventions.
1. Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson) changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol for seven years to protest Warner Brothers' control over his contract, music, life, and art. As it was unpronounceable, everyone simply referred to him as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince", or "The Artist" for short. He eventually got out of the contract; however, "Prince" is currently a trademark owned by Paisley Park Enterprises, Inc.