Rise of the Name
Whatever happened to musician's nicknames (writes Reg Twarp)? In jazz, blimey, you couldn't move for quotation marks shoehorned into someone's birth certificate — 'Cow Cow' Davenport, 'Pee Wee' Erwin, and who can forget 'Serious' Wilson Myers? You have? Oh.
Anyway, these days rock stars wander around with boringly untampered titles like Paul Weller or Robert Smith. Where's the thrill in that? Why not 'Ernest' Paul Weller? Well, yes, we all know he's earnest without being told, but that's not the point.
Anyway, nicknames were often a clue to the unique style or technique of the player involved — 'Slamfoot' Minor or 'Fud' Livingstone. You knew where you were in those days, until you ran into 'Jabbo' Smith or 'Myknee' Jones, of course. And would you try to borrow a fiver from Harold 'Money' Johnson? (Incidentally, the Johnson family tree is firmly rooted in music — there are 26 Johnsons in John Chilton's fine tome, 'Who's Who Of Jazz' compared to 21 Smiths, 14 Browns, and only 12 Jones. Most popular name in the book.)
So where does that leave us today? — 'Boy' George and Eric 'God' Clapton, a dunce and a deity. There are some lazy items who struggle along with a single monicker — Holly, Siouxsie, Morrissey, etc — but that hardly counts.
So lets have Brian 'Mantelpiece' May or Phil 'Big Fist' Collins. Bring out 'Curlylock' Knopfler and Michael 'Blazing head' Jackson. But maybe 'Money' McCartney can stay at home.
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