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Michele Corriston

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 10 Artists Who've used Secret Names

Taylor Swift, Joe Alwyn and more musicians with pseudonyms

MUSIC

Taylor Swift confirmed her actor boyfriend is the William Bowery credited with co-writing folklore tracks “betty” and “exile.” Turns out he’s a gifted pianist and singer!

Joe Alwyn


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I was like, 'Hey, this could be really weird and we could hate this [but] because we're in quarantine and there's nothing else going on ...

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... could we just try to write this song together?' 

taylor swift in
 The Long Pond Studio Sessions

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As Nils Sjöberg, Swift collabed with then-BF Calvin Harris and Rihanna on “This Is What You Came For.” She confirmed her participation after their contentious breakup.

Taylor Swift

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WHEN A PSEUDONYM COMES IN IS WHEN YOU STILL HAVE A LOVE FOR MAKING THE WORK AND YOU DON’T WANT THE WORK TO BECOME OVERSHADOWED ...

taylor swift in rolling stone

TAS Rights Management 2021

He’s never confirmed the theory, but fans suspect the “Watermelon Sugar” rocker has used the name Mick Greenberg to write tracks for Ariana Grande and Alex & Sierra. 

Harry Styles

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The late legend tested a number of songwriting aliases during his prolific career, including Jamie Starr, The Starr Company, Joey Coco and Alexander Nevermind.

Prince

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The Beatle wrote “Woman” for Peter and Gordon as Bernard Webb. He also recorded “My Dark Hour” with the Steve Miller Band as Paul Ramon.

Paul McCartney

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The ‘Bernard Webb’ deception worked for about three or four weeks before somebody found out that it was really Paul.

Peter Asher in
the Beatles: A to Zed

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The Beatles loved a good pen name. Lennon played the guitar on longtime love Yoko Ono’s song “Woman Power” and was credited as John O’Cean.

John Lennon

Andrew Maclear/Hulton Archive

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards produced many albums as The Glimmer Twins. And the whole band credited themselves as the writer Nanker Phelge on early songs. 

The Rolling Stones

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The country superstar recorded a 1999 album as Chris Gaines, a rocker alter-ego with very emo hair. It flopped, but Brooks plans to re-release the music.

Garth Brooks

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A lot of people misunderstood it, and my ribs are still sore from getting the s— kicked out of me for it.

Garth Brooks to Yahoo!

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The jazz icon wrote “Boplicity” under his mother’s name, Cleo Henry — supposedly to slip out of contractual obligations to a different music publishing house. 

Miles Davis

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The Rocket Man has penned singles under pseudonyms like Reggae Dwight (a play on his birth name, Reginald Dwight) and Ann Orso.

Elton John

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See 13 Dreamy Photos of Harry Styles at His First-Ever Grammy Awards

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