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Area Resident’s Stylus Counsel | A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You

Track 122 | What's in a name? Some other names!

Spotify is convinced I’m supposed to be a huge Brian Jonestown Massacre fan. Every time I turn around their algorithm has decided there’s yet another one of the San Francisco band’s songs I need to hear.

I don’t hate them, but I have yet to save many of their songs for long, and I certainly haven’t bought any of their records. Maybe it’s the name. I don’t love it — a combination of the late Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones, and the Guyana-based commune of cult leader Jim Jones, who convinced and forced 918 of followers to die at Jonestown on Nov. 18, 1978 by injecting and ingesting Flavor-Aid laced with poison.

I’ve thought about the name a lot, and it reminds me of several others which were created by combining famous or infamous names of two other individuals. So, let’s go through some of those.

The first is Lee Harvey Osmond, one of many acts associated with Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist-author Tom Wilson, the towering, charismatic Hamiltonian who has a successful solo gig of his own, as well as varying degrees of success with The Florida Razors, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and, of course, Junkhouse. The band actually prints its name with a non-sentence case format — LeE HARVeY OsMOND — for reasons unknown (much like fIREHOSE, SeBADoh, etc.). Three of their four studio albums have been long-listed for the Polaris Prize, two of them for Junos. 2019’s Mohawk won the 2020 Juno for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year.

The name Lee Harvey Osmond is half Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of assassinating U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and The Osmonds vocal group of the 1970s — yeah, they were bubblegum, but listen to their 1972 album Crazy Horses.

The more obvious one to include here is Marilyn Manson. Former music journalist Brian Warner‘s shock-rock persona, and band of the same name, is one-half iconic film star Marilyn Monroe and one-half murderous cult leader Charles Manson. Like their frontman, members of the band also adopted opposites-with-a-serial-killer stage names. Zsa Zsa Speck (actress Zsa Zsa Gabor and Richard Speck), Olivia Newton Bundy (singer/actress Olivia Newton-John and Ted Bundy), Gidget Gein (actress Gidget and Ed Gein), Sara Lee Lucas (cake brand Sara Lee and Henry Lee Lucas), Daisy Berkowitz (Dukes of Hazzard character Daisy Duke and David Berkowitz), Madonna Wayne Gacy (singer/actress/entrepreneur Madonna and John Wayne Gacy), Ginger Fish (actress/dancer Ginger Rogers and Albert Fish), and Twiggy Ramirez (singer/actress Twiggy and Richard Ramirez).

Similarly, rockabilly frontman Jim Leedy named himself and his band Elvis Hilter after Elvis Presley and Adolf Hitler. Notably, Leedy did this three years before Manson formed his band — and had a college radio by further mashing up two iconic, yet opposite songs: Green Haze, which is the theme song of the 1960s TV show Green Acres, set to the tune of Purple Haze by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Declan McManus, aka Elvis Costello, is however NOT one of these. Well, at least not entirely. Costello started his music career using his real name, then switching to Declan Costello — drawing from family ancestry. Next was DP Costello and finally his managers gave him the name Elvis (directly related to the then still-alive Elvis Presley) to get attention. Costello essentially had no real opinion on the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, and the name wasn’t his idea.

Reg Dwight (Reginald Kenneth Dwight) chose the name Elton John as a tribute to a musical bestie Long John Baldry and the sax player in his band Bluesology, Elton Dean — the latter because he liked the name. Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett named his Cambridge blues band after two relatively obscure Delta blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Somehow, I’ve still never heard either of them, but they suit him fine.


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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.