Since I became Led Zeppelin, my life has improved a thousand-fold.
-- Led Zeppelin II (formerly George F. Blackburn)
Let's say you're 64 years old and just got divorced from your third wife. You're going to want to try to make a fresh start. What better way than to change your name to the title of your favorite album?
Zeppelin, who lives in Madison County, Illinois, said the name change was also intended as a tribute to the group that changed his life. (Also zeppelins, which he said fascinated him as a child.) He first saw Led Zeppelin in Chicago in the late 1960s, and has admired them ever since. "They changed my life forever," Zeppelin said, "and that's my whole reason for doing this." Zeppelin said he sometimes goes by "L.Z." or just "Zep," but will still answer to "George." "I want [people] to be comfortable," he said.
The report (via Boing Boing) also mentions another St.-Louis-area man who also changed his name to honor his favorite musical act, 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis James Jackson III. The former Robert James Reed is now called "Robert 52 Jackson." (He said he chose a slightly bigger number than 50 Cent in order to "stay on top of the game.") Jackson's two-year-old son is also named "52."
Occasionally a request for a legal name change of this kind is denied, and occasionally such a denial is appealed. In 2006, the California Court of Appeal ruled in favor of a San Diego man, Darren Lloyd Bean, who wanted to add an exclamation point to his name and also change his middle name to "QX." (He said that the "QX" would still be pronounced "Lloyd.") A trial judge refused to grant his petition, but the Court of Appeal reversed. There has to be "good cause" to deny such a petition, at least in California, and the court noted that Bean!'s petition was unopposed.