Before They Were Famous – Rock Stars And Their Early Bands
Even the biggest stars in rock have humble musical origins. So Classic Rock thought it was time to namecheck those bands who gave our heroes a leg over… erm, a leg up! Obscure they may be. But this is where it all began for…
Steven Tyler – The Vic Tallarico Orchestra. Well, his real surname is ‘Tallarico’, and his middle name is ‘Victor’. So, let’s welcome the Orchestra, who surely should have shared a stage with Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen. By the way – that’s not Tyler on the left. Can you guess who it is? Scroll down to the bottom of the page for more.
Steve Harris – Gypsy’s Kiss. Actually a very early incarnation of Iron Maiden. It’s cockney rhyming slag for… well, you know! Can you imagine a band with that name headlining stadia across the world?
Chris Squire – Mabel Greer’s Toyshop (above). Gawd knows what drugs this lot were on, to come up with such a daft name. But it was the psychedelic era. Doesn’t have the same succinctness as Yes, though. Actually, it’s better!
Sammy Hagar – The Fabulous Catillas. Before he found fame with Montrose, everybody’s favourite surf granddad was in bands with this sort of name. Were they ‘Fabulous’? Doubtful.
David Gilmour – Joker’s Wild. Renowned for his sense of humour, you can understand why the future Pink Floyd master chose this name for his early 60s Cambridge experience.
Noddy Holder – The Rockin’ Phantoms (above). Before he got Slade together, and set the art of spelling back decades, Noddy was seen fronting this Midlands mob. Shouldn’t it have been ‘Fantoms’?!
Ronnie Wood – The Birds. Well, he’s known for liking the young birds, and this lot were young Birds in the early 60s. Often confused with the more celebrated Byrds by… actually, nobody.
Robert Plant – The Crawling King Snakes. Well, at least this lot had an intriguing name. Very blues, eh? It got changed to Band Of Joy when John Bonham joined. Wonder what happened next?!
Ronnie James Dio – Ronnie And The Red Caps (above). Unlike most of the others, this band released a single – in 1958! Good grief, even Dave Ling was young back then!
Eddie and Alex Van Halen – So, it’s 1972. You start your first band, Genesis. You look for a suitable name, one that nobody else has. Except this rather successful English band. Whoops. (Er, weren’t they also called Mammoth, the name of a slightly less successful English band? – Van Halen Ed.)
Actually, were you in any of these bands? If so, get in touch with us. We’d love to hear anecdotes about those unknowns who went on to become so celebrated.
Oh yeah – and taking about Before They Were Famous… can you idenitify the rather gormless-looking schoolboy at the top left of this post?
Post your guesses. The first correct answer wins a Classic Rock no-prize!