This week, Abby Sandel, creator of the always interesting appellationmountain.net, goes through the list of Rock‘n’Roll Hall of Fame inductees and selects the coolest rocker name possibilities.
The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame inducted its 2011 class last week. Since 1986, more than 605 individuals have been added to their list of notables. Most are performers, and many are household names. Alice Cooper and Neil Diamond were among the most recent inductees.
Many a rock star was born plain old John or James, but scroll through the list, and plenty of possibilities emerge. They’re the kind of names that evoke late nights, loud sounds, and a certain unpredictable, fiercely creative spirit.
What could be a more fitting source of inspiration for baby names?
Booker – As in Booker T. and the M.G.s, pioneers of the Memphis sound.
Cash – The Man in Black played to prisoners and sang about the perils of naming your son Sue. His surname has been racing up the charts since Joaquin Phoenix played the singer in 2005’s Walk the Line.
Cohen – Perhaps among the most controversial boy’s name of our era, but if you’re thinking music, it brings to mind poet-turned-performer Leonard Cohen.
Cole – He’s a Top 100 choice for boys, due in part to the unforgettable Nat “King” Cole.
Crosby – There’s ice hockey hotshot Sidney, Hollywood crooner Bing, and David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Dylan – Celebrated singer-songwriter Bob Dylan remains an elder statesman of rock, but as a given name he’s been wildly popular since the 1990s.
Elvis – Sharing a name with the King of Rock and Roll could be a lot to live up to, but it hasn’t hurt fellow Hall of Famer Elvis Costello.
Everly – Brothers Phil and Don were part of the inaugural set of inductees.
Floyd – Which one’s Pink? Among the most successful rock bands of our time, their name was inspired by blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. As a name, Floyd has been out of favor for decades, but could make for a daring choice.
Jackson – The Jackson 5 were inducted in 1997. Brother Michael was honored for his solo career in 2001. Add in 2004’s Jackson Browne, and this just might be the most common name at Rock Hall.
Jagger – An occupational surname with a meaning similar to Carter, but a very different vibe thanks to Rolling Stones frontman Mick.
Hank – Worn by country legend Hank Williams and R&B bad boy Hank Ballard.
Hendrix – With his fashionable x, Hendrix has potential based on his sound alone. Add in guitar hero Jimi and he’s doubly cool.
Henley – Borrowed from the pages of the LL Bean catalog, or from The Eagles’ Don Henley
Hollis – Hollis has a prep school vibe, but also conjures up hip hop trio Run-D.M.C., natives of Hollis, Queens. It’s a stretch, but you can’t name your son Jam-Master Jay.
Lennon – Instantly linked to John Lennon, the name evokes the singer’s commitment to peace and justice.
Marley – Marley brings to mind reggae innovator Bob Marley and his musical family, plus a very famous yellow Lab.
Nico – Worn by German chanteuse Christa Päffgen, known for her performances with The Velvet Underground.
Presley – More subtle than Elvis, and used almost exclusively for girls.
Santana – The saintly Santana is transformed by guitar master Carlos Santana. The surname is now worn by a Glee cheerleader.
Seger/Seeger – With one e, he’s Detroit’s Bob Seger. With two, he’s folk legend Pete Seeger.
Sid – If you’re daring enough to name your kiddo after one of the Sex Pistols, Sid could fit right in with Max and Gus.
Strummer – A musical choice with an edge, thanks to Clash frontman Joe Strummer.
Van – Born George Ivan, the versatile Van Morrison’s career has spanned decades.