Special Report

World Wide Mesh (and 49 Other Famous Things that Almost Had Other Names)

Source: Express Newspapers / Getty Images

1. Queen
> Almost named: Smile
> Category: Music

The original name of the British chartbusting band was the cringeworthy Smile, derived from a college project of the band’s first lead singer and bassist, Tim Staffell. The name changed in the early 1970s, after frontman Freddie Mercury joined the group. He advocated for the name “Queen” because he wanted the band to sound regal.

Source: Stephen Shugerman / Getty Images

2. Hannah Montana
> Almost named: Alexis Texas
> Category: TV show

“Hannah Montana,” the Disney television show that launched Miley Cyrus into stardom, was nearly called “Alexis Texas.” But Disney changed the title when a porn star took the name in 2006, just as the TV show was about to debut.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

3. Hermione Granger
> Almost named: Puckle
> Category: Character name

The last name of the quick-thinking heroine in the Harry Potter books was originally Puckle. But author J.K. Rowling, who conceived of the idea for writing the Harry Potter books in 1990, didn’t think it was appropriate for the seriousness of the character and changed it to Granger. She got the name Hermione from a character in the William Shakespeare play “A Winter’s Tale.”

Source: Getty Images / Getty Images

4. Friends
> Almost named: Six of One
> Category: TV show

NBC’s blockbuster sitcom about the anxieties and aspirations of six people in New York City spoke for a generation and ran for 10 seasons, ending in 2004. The show received 62 Emmy nominations and made stars out of the six lead actors. “Friends” was originally titled “Six of One,” a somewhat confusing title that was replaced by “Friends Like Us,” which was ultimately shortened to “Friends.”

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

5. Led Zeppelin
> Almost named: The New Yardbirds
> Category: Music

Baby boomers might remember the original Yardbirds, who included rock royalty Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Eric Clapton, originally performed in the early to mid-1960s. Page was the only holdover from the original Yardbirds to be in the new band that called itself The New Yardbirds. The story goes that Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest bands of all time, was named by Who drummer Keith Moon, who said the new band would go over like a lead zeppelin.