Ten Iconic Musical Nicknames, And 25 You May Never Guess
You know what sucks? Getting saddled with a really awkward family nickname when you are younger and it following you until it takes a frenzied freak-out to stop it. We were once called "Pooter" by our mother until an eight-year-old Rocks Off gave her a terse look right before third grade started. Other, somewhat less evocative, nicknames took its place soon after.
Rock stars never get awful nicknames. All of theirs look and sound better than the rest of the general public's, whether scrawled across the side of a tour bus or emblazoned on a slick satin jacket. They have the kind of nicknames you wouldn't feel bad about having etched on your tombstone, like "The Killer," "The King" or even GG Allin's "The Poo-Poo Rocker." The late Hunter S. Thompson affectionately called his friend Marilyn Manson "Shit Eyes," and Manson called himself "The God of Fuck" for a time in the late '90s.
According to Wikipedia's crack team of anonymous editors, there are six Kings of Rock and Roll, two Kings of the Blues, no less than four Kings and two Queens of Rap and likewise four Kings and a whopping six Queens of Country Music. Luckily, there is only one King of Pop, and he died a little over a year with no clear replacement in sight.
Meat Loaf pulls into Houston Saturday night at House of Blues. The former Marvin Lee Aday was such a big kid growing up his father called him Meat Loaf, and it ended up sticking. We thought we'd run down the origins of a few other well-known musical monikers.
1. The Ox (John Entwistle): The Who's bassist, who died quite awesomely doing coke with strippers in Vegas in 2002, was called the Ox because he was so large, imposing and virtually immobile onstage compared to the whirling-dervish windmill action of Pete Townshend.
2. The Possum (George Jones): Two radio DJs decided that Jones looked like a possum in side profile. Somehow they lived to tell the tale.
3. Chairman of the Board (Frank Sinatra): We are assuming that Ol' Blue Eyes got this name from his long-rumored and never proven (cough) Mafia ties, the mere mention of which will no doubt render us in a fetal position under a hail of two-by-fours after we post this blog.
4. Hova (Jay-Z): Jay started calling himself Hova after the song "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and 2001's The Blueprint. Not just anyone can decide to rename themselves after a deity and make it stick. We tried to get people to call us C-Unit for about six months to no avail.
5. The Prince of Darkness (Ozzy Osbourne): We aren't sure if this one can still legally stick, seeing that the only thing "dark" about Ozzy these days are probably his velvet lounge trousers and his remote control, but even still he earned it with Black Sabbath and his solo work. Bonus: Which famously sullen jazz legend was also known as the Prince of Darkness?
6. Bonzo (John Bonham): According to Led Zep lore, Robert Plant started calling his drummer Bonzo after a popular comic-strip dog.
7. Slowhand (Eric Clapton): We feel more comfortable calling Clapton "Slowhand" than we ever would calling him God. Seriously, Lemmy may hear us.
9. Thin White Duke (David Bowie): Bowie's "Thin White Duke" period was marked by a new slicked-back hairdo, suave clothes and a blizzard of yayo. Bowie himself even said that during that era he lived off of "red peppers, cocaine and milk," kind of like every single host on The Food Network.
10. Pope of Mope (Morrissey): For a while there, we thought Conor Oberst might take over this title from the Moz, but the former Smiths front man released an album of metallic proto-mope in 2009 that staved off Sir Bright Eyes for another decade.
But that was the easy part. Rocks Off had a little extra time on our hands Tuesday afternoon, so we scoured the Internet for some lesser-known musical nicknames - 25, to be exact. Of course we're not going to tell you who they belong to - yet; check back on Rocks Off about 4 p.m. - but we will tell you we took them from jazz, blues, country, rap and metal, and that you will definitely recognize more than one name on the list.
See how many you can guess.