Category: musician names
Guest blogger JILL BARNETT ponders the reinvented names that work magic on our lives….or do they?
I stood in front of the mirror backstage, proudly inspecting my makeup and blue and white gingham costume. Granted, I was in the midst of the most unfortunate awkward phase in the history of adolescence (my parents truly should have kept me indoors as a public service), but on that night, opening night of our middle school musical, The Wizard of Oz, I was too excited about my debut as Dorothy to notice that my skinny body and giant hair made me resemble a human Q-Tip. As I saw my gangly13-year-old reflection staring back at me, only one thing entered my mind: stardom!
I couldn’t deny that dress rehearsals hadn’t been pretty–the Stryofoam rainbow prop had a habit of crashing to the ground as I sang about troubles melting like lemon drops, and then there was that pesky issue of my ruby slippers shedding chunks of red glitter with every step I took, but in my mind, this elite middle school production of The Wizard of Oz (complete with an orchestra consisting of a pianist, a flatulent flautist, and a drummer who smelled like Velveeta cheese) was my launching pad to certain fame. Who cared that many of the Munchkins were taller than I was, that our Toto was missing in action, or that the stage crew had never gotten around to actually building a set? Not I! I was too busy daydreaming about seeing my name in lights.
WAIT! My name in lights? Jill Barnett in lights? I didn’t even like my given name for everyday use, and certainly had no desire to see it on the marquis of the Gershwin Theatre or to hear it read aloud upon the win of my first Tony Award. Nope, Jill Barnett simply wouldn’t do, and in my opinion, it had even less star quality than a name like Frances Ethel Gumm, who happened to be my favorite actress and singer.
We looked at trailblazing women in Part One of this blog yesterday—bold and courageous achievers who would prove worthy namesakes for a daughter. Now we turn to those with major accomplishments in the arts—a varied mix of writers, artists, and musicians of the far and fairly recent past—many of whom seem to have appropriately creative names—whether they were born with them or not.
APHRA Behn (also seen on the trailblazer list)
Actually, compiling this list was not as easy as you might think (or as it should be). Google and book searches tended to turn up only the usual suspects. And then, late as usual, I bought my 2009 calendar from the bargain bin: A Journey Into 365 Days of Black History — Notable Women.
An array of admirable women are listed there, all of whom would provide wonderful role models (and lovely names) for any child. The best:
BESSIE Coleman — In 1922, became the world’s only licensed black pilot. She staged flying exhibitions to fund a school to train black aviationists.
CHARLOTTE Ray — In 1872, became the first black female lawyer.
CONSTANCE Baker Motley — First black female federal judge.
FAYE Wattleton — Women’s rights activist.
JOSEPHINE Baker — Politically-minded entertainer who was the Angelina Jolie of her day.
KARA Walker — Artist best known for her silhouettes.
LENA Horne — Actress, singer, and civil rights activist.
MABEL Mercer — English singer.
MAHALIA Jackson — Gospel singer.
MARIAN Wright Edelman — Children’s Defense Fund founder.
NATALIE Hinderas — Composer and classical musician.
PEARL Bailey — Actress and singer.
PHILLIS Wheatley — First published African-American female poet. The name Phillis or Phyllis, the Roman goddess of spring, was typical of the classical names given to early African-Americans.
PRUDENCE Crandall — White woman arrested for teaching black girls at her school in 1833.
ROSA Parks — Heroine of the famous bus boycott that launched the civil rights movement.
RUBY Dee — Actress.
SHIRLEY Chisholm — First black woman elected to Congress.
SOJOURNER Truth — Abolitionist and women’s rights activist.
TONI Morrison — Novelist who won the Nobel Prize in literature.
WILMA Rudolph — Olympic runner.
Guest blogger Elisabeth Wilborn of You Can’t Call It “It”, a writer, artist, and mother who lives in Brooklyn, New York, brings us this look at the jambalaya of names native to the Louisiana Bayou.An inspiration for everything from vampires to voodoo, from zydeco to the Krewe of Zulu, Louisiana has been a colorful melting pot of divergent cultures for centuries. Cajuns from Canada, Creoles and others of Haitian, African, Italian, Spanish, or Native American descent, all come together to form a mélange of backgrounds, and in point of fact, names. Most share a history of French language and Catholicism, even if it’s not by blood. While these may not be the choices in use today in the Bayou, they have been culled from historical documents, maps, and folklore from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries. The majority are either French proper, or my favorite, Frenchified. Still more trace their roots to Classical Greco-Roman civilization, deep Southern culture, or are somewhere farther afield and include a curious preponderance of the letter Z.
So come on! Allez-y! Chew on these names (and some maque choux), prepare to bare all for those beads, and laissez les bon temps roulez!
Acadia- The word Cajun itself has its origins in Acadian
Dixie- Used to refer to the South at large, this may have originated in New Orleans on the ten dollar bill, upon which a local bank printed “dix”, the French for ten.
Tammany- Parish north of New Orleans
Beau, Beauregard- Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was the most famous Civil War soldier from New Orleans and fought in the Battle of Shiloh; his ghost is said to roam the streets of New Orleans whispering “Shiloh“, which means “place of peace”
*UPDATE! The M.I.A. baby had been named, and the name is….Ikhyd (first erroneously reported as Ickitt) Edgar Arular. Take that, Bronx Mowgli and Moxie Crimefighter! Congratulations, we think.
The M.I.A. baby is due on Sunday, the same day the nine months pregnant pop artist is set to perform at the Grammy Awards. But the event we’re really anticipating is the announcement of the M.I.A. baby name.
Ever since Frank Zappa named his children Moon Unit and Dweezil, crazy baby names have become a rocker institution. Listen up, M.I.A.: Lesson 1 in naming your rocker or rapper baby is that you can never choose a regular old first name. Instead, consider the following baby-naming lessons from the musical mommies and daddies who came before you:
Name Your Baby After Another Musician
There are lots of good choices among the Musician Names. Your fellow rockers seems to be the name of someone cool and dead, as detailed by the following choices:
CASH (as in Johnny) – “Slash” Hudson from Guns N’ Roses
DJANGO (as in Reinhart) — Siobhan (Bananarama) Fahey & Dave Stewart
EVERLY (as in Brothers) — Anthony (Red Hot Chili Peppers) Kiedis
HENDRIX (Jimi) — Zakk (Black Label Society) Wylde
LENNON – Liam (Oasis) Gallagher
NESTA – Bob Marley’s original name was a middle name choice of Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale.
THELONIOUS (Monk) – Mitch (Crash Test Dummies) Dorge
WOLFGANG (Amadeus Mozart) – Eddie Van Halen
But M.I.A., we think you should diverge from the pack by naming your baby after someone cool, dead, and female, such as Janis JOPLIN or Billie HOLIDAY (for a boy), or maybe BESSIE Smith or DINAH Shore, for a girl.
Name Your Baby After Royalty, A Deity, Or A Mythical Figure
The following choices are already taken by your fellow rappers and rockers:
KING – Rapper T.I., aka T.I.P, aka Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.
MARQUISE – 50 Cents
MESSIAH – T.I.
NEVAEH – Christian rocker Sonny P.O. D. Sandoval launched a craze when he named his daughter heaven spelled backwards.
PRINCE – Michael Jackson reportedly named two of his sons Prince.
SINDRI – This Norse name meaning “mythical dwarf” was the choice of Bjork.
TENZIN – The first name of the Dalai Lama was chosen by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch.
Still up for grabs: BUDDHA. Advantages: Works for either a boy or a girl, and as far as we know, there’s only one.
Name Your Baby After A Place
Most rockers and rappers have named their babies after the kind of back alley, hardscrabble places they might play if they hadn’t made it big.
ALABAMA — Travis (Blink 182) Barker and Shooter Jennings both picked this name.
BRONX – Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson went all out for attention with this one.
BROOKLYN – Posh Spice used this for her first son with David Beckham.
HEAVEN – L’il Mo
KINGSTON – Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale named their older son for the city in Jamaica, mon.
MEMPHIS – Bono
ZUMA – Stefani and Rossdale chose the name of a California beach for their younger son.
Choose The Name Of A Food Or Spice
Food names have attracted much notoriety, especially:
APPLE – Infamous choice of Chris Martin and, you know, Gwynnie.
PEACHES HONEYBLOSSOM – Bob Geldof was an early celebrity crazy baby namer, and Peaches is not all grown up and talking on TV about how much she hates her name.
SAFFRON – Simon Le Bon
SAGE – Lars (Metallica) Ulrich
Our tip: Choose a name that represents a food you love. CHOCOLATE, maybe? MINT, or MELON?
Name Your Baby After A Thing, Any Thing
Many musicians have made selections from the vast world of word names, for example:
BAMBOO – One of the most outrageous word names, by Big Boi of Outkast.
CROSS – Another Big Boi pick; no coy Cruz for this guy.
CYPRESS – Sol.
KARMA – Ludacris.
PUMA – Erykah Badu
STORY — Sol & Ginuwine, though this one is a pan-Hollywood favorite.
ZEPPELIN – Jonathan (Korn) Davis
Our ideas for a word name? Hard to narrow it down to one choice, but you may want to sing it like it is and just name him or her F.A.M.O.U.S.