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Axl Rose – Stage Names Origins

Axl Rose
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

There was a little bit of a path en route to becoming the man known as Axl Rose to many Guns N’ Roses fans. The vocalist was born William Bruce Rose, Jr. in 1962, but his father left when he was two-years-old and his mother remarried. Rose took the last name Bailey for the first man he knew as his father, and only learned about his biological father in his teens.

Though he never met the man responsible for his birth, he later reclaimed the name. As for Axl, it actually came from one of his first bands. After moving to Los Angeles, he started a band called AXL, and a friend suggested he adopt the name for himself. He legally changed his name to W. Axl Rose just prior to Guns N’ Roses signing their recording contract in 1986.

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