Oliver Anthony has taken the music (and political) world by storm.
Becoming the first artist ever to debut at #1 with a first charting song on the Billboard Hot 100, he’s catapulted himself into the limelight with a working-class, anti-politician anthem, “Rich Men North Of Richmond.”
And while Anthony himself says the song itself was an indictment against all politicians, regardless of party, Conservatives were quick to claim this song as their own, which in turn prompted a backlash from more Liberal folks.
So much so that people started to question the legitimacy of Oliver, calling him an industry plant, which was somehow given credence when it was revealed that “Oliver Anthony” was a stage name (he explained why).
But here’s the thing… TONS of country artists use stage names.
Yep, some of your favorite country singers don’t go by their real names. Some opt to use their middle name, some came up with something out of left field (looking at you Gary LeVox), and others, well… it’s not hard to see why they found a name more suitable for the stage.
Here are 30 artists and their real names.
1. Eric Church
Chief was born Kenneth Eric Church.
2. Jake Owen
Jake was born Joshua Ryan Owen but changed his first name to Jake to avoid confusion with Josh Turner and Josh Gracin after signing a record deal.
3. Faith Hill
Hill was born Audrey Faith Perry, but instead goes by her middle name and the surname of her first husband, Dan Hill.
4. Garth Brooks
The legend’s real name is Troyal Garth Brooks.
5. Gary LeVox
Rascal Flatts frontman Gary Levox was born Gary Wayne Vernon, Jr. “LeVox” actually translates to “the voice” in French. I sh*t you not…
6. Hank Williams, Sr.
Hank Williams was born with the name Hiram King Williams.
7. Hank Williams, Jr.
Hank Williams, Jr. — also known as Bocephus — was born Randall Hank Williams.
8. Jason Aldean
Jason Aldine Williams is the real name.
9. John Denver
“Thank God I’m a Country Boy” singer John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. You can see why they changed that last name.
10. LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes dropped her first name, Margaret, and goes instead by LeAnn, her middle name.
11. Luke Bryan
Superstar Luke Bryan was born Thomas Luther Bryan.
12. Randy Travis
The great Randy Travis was born Randy Bruce Traywick.
13. Shania Twain
Shania Twain, born Eilleen Regina Edwards, took the surname Twain from her stepfather. Where did Shania come from? Nobody knows for sure…
14. Tim McGraw
Samuel Timothy McGraw was raised as Samuel Timothy Smith until the age of 11, when he learned the identity of his real father, major league pitcher “Tug” McGraw. He eventually shortened his name to Tim McGraw.
15. Conway Twitty
Legendary country artist Conway Twitty was born Harold Lloyd Jenkins.
16. Toby Keith
America-loving Toby Keith’s birth name is Toby Keith Covel.
17. Patsy Cline
Virginia Patterson Hensley is the real name of the country icon.
18. Dierks Bentley
Say hello to Frederick Dierks Bentley. Dierks opted to drop his first name in place of his middle name.
19. Thomas Rhett
As we know, Thomas is the son of songwriter and country artist Rhett Akins. Thomas went with his middle name, Rhett, maybe to avoid any confusion.
20. Kix Brooks
Kix is a great name, but it’s not real. Leon Eric Brooks III is his real name.
21. Kid Rock
Mr. Rock was born Robert James Ritchie. Ol’ Bob Ritchie.
22. Gary Allan
Gary Allan Herzberg… shortened it.
23. Cody Jinks
Cody’s was born Meredith Cody Jinks.
24. Carly Pearce
Carly Cristyne Slusser is the Kentucky native’s real name.
25. Koe Wetzel
His real name is Ropyr Madison Koe Wetzel, and back in the day, he went by Ropyr.
The eclectic artist and songwriter was born Michael Wilson Hardy.
The “She Had Me At Head Carolina” singer’s was born Colden Rainey Swindell.
28. Wynonna Judd
Wynonna Judd, born Christina Claire Ciminella actually credits the song “Route 66” and the town of Wynona, Arizona for her stage name. She also took her mother’s name because her real last name sounded like “salmonella.”
29. Randy Houser
Randy was born Shawn Randolph Houser, and I think we can all agree that “Randy” has a little more grit to it.
30. Oliver Anthony
Oliver’s real name is Christopher Anthony Lunsford, however Oliver is a tribute to his grandfather.
“My grandfather was Oliver Anthony, and “Oliver Anthony Music” is a dedication not only to him, but 1930’s Appalachia where he was born and raised.”