Special Report

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

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

31. The Beach Boys
> Almost named: The Pendletones
> Category: Music

Before their name became associated with California sun, fun, and girls, the Beach Boys were known as the Pendletones. The name was derived from the Pendleton shirts favored by the ’60s’ surfer set. They may have changed their name, but the Beach Boys didn’t change their apparel. The group continued to wear the surf uniform of Pendleton plaid shirts over T-shirts and khaki pants on their album covers.

Source: Brian Bahr / Getty Images

32. Memphis Grizzlies
> Almost named: Vancouver Mounties
> Category: Sports

The National Basketball Association came to Vancouver in 1995, and the new franchise wanted a nickname befitting its Canadian residence. The owners initially selected Mounties to salute the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Then they changed the name to Grizzlies since grizzly bears are native to British Columbia and are iconic in western Canada. After six seasons, the team moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where there are no grizzly bears.

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

33. Van Halen
> Almost named: Genesis, Mammoth, Rat Salad
> Category: Music

The heavy-metal group named after the Van Halen brothers were called Genesis in the beginning, but dropped that name because of the British progressive rock band of the same name. Then they switched to Mammoth, but another band had that name, too. While still primarily a cover band, the group changed its name to Rat Salad, after a Black Sabbath song..After singer David Lee Roth joined the group, they became Van Halen. Roth claimed the idea was his because he thought the brothers’ last name “sounded cool.”

Source: Tim Boyle / Getty Images

34. Pepsi
> Almost named: Brad’s Drink
> Category: Product

Pepsi was originally called Brad’s Drink in 1893, named after a North Carolina drugstore owner named Caleb Bradham. He claimed the beverage was a healthful drink (a mix of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other natural additives) and renamed it Pepsi-Cola in 1898. Pepsi comes from the word dyspepsia, which means indigestion, and Bradham believed his refreshing beverage helped digestion. The drink was instantly popular and has become one of the most valuable brands in the world..

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

35. Simon & Garfunkel
> Almost named: Tom and Jerry
> Category: Music

America’s premier singing duo in the 1960s started out as a folk group in the late 1950s. In high school, they called themselves Tom and Jerry, after characters from a cartoon. They had a minor hit in 1957 called “Hey Schoolgirl” that got them on the TV show “American Bandstand.” The two started using their real names after they went to college. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel would go on to record the music that became part of the soundtrack of the 1960s.