10 Things Done Completely Out of Spite

Prince Changed his Name to an Unpronounceable Symbol
Prince (then known by an unpronounceable symbol) performs on the David Letterman Show in 1996, with the word 'slave' written on his cheek. Alan Singer/CBS via Getty Image

When he died unexpectedly in 2016 at age 56, Prince Rogers Nelson —known to the world as Prince — was mourned by legions of fans and praised as one of the most creative geniuses in the history of pop music. But the performer, who deftly fused an array of musical genres from R&B to new wave, could be as artfully spiteful as he was innovative.

Case in point: In 1993, Prince started feuding with his then-record label Warner Bros., in part because the company didn't want to release his album "The Gold Experience" as soon as he wanted. Though Prince reportedly had a lucrative contract, he decided that he wanted out.

Prince came up with a bizarrely attention-getting way to make his point and embarrass the label in the process. He abruptly changed his name from Prince to an unpronounceable symbol, which wasn't on the contract. To proclaim how he viewed his working relationship with his label, he took to performing with the word "slave" written on his cheek.

But while those tactics burnished Prince's reputation as an eccentric, they didn't get him out of his contract. Instead, he had to wait until it expired in 2000, at which point he reverted to calling himself Prince [source: Merry].