Sunday marked the 18th anniversary of the date Prince changed his name to that confounded "Love Symbol", and we can't help but wonder if he would have had more success had he waited a decade or two.
Like it or not, in today's highly compact, smartphone-addicted culture, abbreviations are becoming the norm rather than the exception, with RHCP and ICP, CCR and STP seen more frequently than the bands' full-length names. Then again, LMFAO can be found on any standard keyboard, whereas the Love Symbol - an unpronounceable, highly stylized combination of male and female gender signs - exists only in Prince's frilly, purple velveteen mind.
Prince made the change in an attempt free himself from Warner Bros Music, saying "Prince is the name that my mother gave me at birth. Warner Bros. took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing tool to promote all of the music that I wrote." Yet the general bewilderment over how to represent the singer verbally and in print resulted in his being referred to instead as "the artist formerly known as Prince," alienation of his audience (or rather, the people formerly known as fans), and a rich buffet of material for comedians around the world.
Changing your name to a symbol is just one of many ways to thwart a successful music career, four more of which are listed below.More »