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Did You Know? Names

In this edition (the first edition, in fact) of Did You Know, I look at handful of band and artist names.

Update 3/30/21: Scroll down for Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.

Did you know that Alice Cooper was originally the name of a band?

In 1964, 16-year-old Vince Furnier formed a band with some cross-country teammates called The Earwigs. The group went through a few name changes until they landed on Alice Cooper in 1968. As Alice Cooper, they enjoyed a number of hits, like I’m Eighteen and Billion Dollar Babies.

When the band broke up in 1975, Furnier wanted to keep up the momentum, so he legally changed his name to Alice Cooper. He launched his solo career with the album Welcome to My Nightmare.

Did you know you’re pronouncing Ray Davies’ last name wrong?

For decades, I (and everyone I ever heard) pronounced the Kinks leader’s last name as day-veez. That’s how it’s spelled, right? Well, I recently learned the error of my ways when I heard a clip of Davies being interviewed about his last name. Therein, he wished that people would just forget about the e because he pronounces his own last name day-viz, although he’s perfectly fine with day-viss.

Did you know Steely Dan was named after a dildo?

I didn’t believe my friend Steve when he told me this, but Wikipedia confirmed it. Apparently in the 1959 novel Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs, there’s mention of an amazing line of steam-powered strap-on dildos. The names of the dildos: the Steely Dan I, II and III.

Did you know Badfinger was named after a Beatles song?

It’s common knowledge that Badfinger was the first band signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records label. However, up until that signing in 1968, they were known as The Iveys.

I know what you’re thinking right now. There is no Beatles song called Badfinger, so wtf am I talking about? You’ve certainly heard With a Little Help from My Friends, haven’t you? Well, the original working title for that tune was Bad Finger Boogie, from which Badfinger derived its name.

Did you know that Pink Floyd was named after two bluesmen?

The band formed in 1963 and went through a number of names, including The Tea Set. In 1965, they changed from The Tea Set to The Pink Floyd Sound. Then for a while, they were The Pink Floyd. That’s how Dick Clark introduced them for their American Bandstand gig in 1967. Shortly thereafter, they became known simply as Pink Floyd. But where did the name come from?

The band was named after two old bluesmen: Pink Anderson, born in 1900, and Floyd Council, born in 1911. Both specialized in a style of guitar called Piedmont blues (aka, East Coast blues or Southeastern blues), a favorite genre of Syd Barrett.

Pink and Floyd

Did you know Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds was only three guys?

I always assumed this was a group of four guys: Hamilton, Joe, Frank and Reynolds. Not so. The original lineup consisted of Dan Hamilton, Joe Frank Carollo and Tommy Reynolds. The crazy thing is, even when Reynolds left the group and was replaced with Alan Dennison, they retained the name. It was this new lineup that scored Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds' biggest hit: 1975's Fallin' in Love.


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