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Exploring 25 Heavy Metal Stage Name Origins

Axl Rose

Real Name: William Bruce Bailey

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Until the age of 17, Rose believed his stepfather Stephen L. Bailey was his real dad. Upon learning about his biological father, Rose eventually reclaimed his given birth name William Bruce Rose, Jr. never having met his real father who was murdered in 1984. When Rose began performing, he took the stage name Axl from his original band AXL. He legally changed his name to W. Axl Rose prior to signing his contract with Geffen Records in 1986.

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