From an early age growing up in small-town Mississippi, Riley King was known as “Blues Boy.” And those initials, “BB,” were what created the name B.B. King.

The rest of these are somewhat less obvious.

Following our recent examination of some famed female singers in mostly un-famous singing roles with the Backup Singers Quiz, it’s time for another SMGM quiz category: rockers and their real names.

We’ll list 11 well-known artists (it was too good a bunch to limit to 10) and ask you to match them up with their actual birth names. Which, in most cases, would’ve seemed a lot funnier – and dramatically less cool – if they had been shown that way on a marquee or been announced from a concert stage.

No Googling or Wiki-ing, of course. As Andy Bernard in The Office said…

No! I want names!

Alright, let’s drop some names.

  1. Bob Dylan
  2. Bono
  3. Bo Diddley
  4. Sting
  5. Muddy Waters
  6. Dr. John
  7. Elton John
  8. The Edge
  9. Slash
  10. Alice Cooper
  11. Joey Ramone
  1. Reginald Dwight
  2. Vincent Furnier
  3. McKinley Morganfield
  4. Mac Rebennack
  5. Ellas McDaniel
  6. Jeffrey Hyman
  7. Saul Hudson
  8. Gordon Sumner
  9. Robert Zimmerman
  10. Paul Hewson
  11. David Evans

Note: I know of no other “Sauls” in history other than Saul Bellow, a guy who worked at a deli counter where I grew up, and Oscar Madison’s dearly departed pet fly (though that may have been spelled “Sol”)

Before scrolling down for the correct answers, please take note of the SMGM grading levels:

  • 5 or less – Bon Jovi would say You Give Love a Bad Name.
  • 6-7 – We’ll sing along with the Beatles classic, I Call Your Name.
  • 8-9 – Terence Trent D’arby commands you to Sign Your Name.
  • 10-11 – You join Shirley Ellis as champion of The Name Game!



1-I, 2-J, 3-E, 4-H, 5-C, 6-D, 7-A, 8-K, 9-G, 10-B, 11-F

Stop! In The Name of Love if you achieved estimable D’arby or Ellis levels. You should consider composing an SMGM guest post to expose your expertise. Just about any band, song, or music-related topic will do, possibly even a long-overdue explanation of America’s ‘A Horse with No Name.’ You can email a submission to

And now, one last reminder that the guy who created some of the most killer guitar riffs and screaming solos in modern rock history was named…Saul.