Monday, October 1, 2012

when names change

One thing that causes my anal-retentive self a bit of agita is when bands either change their namess or are inconsistent in their spelling.

I like to organize my music alphabetically by band or artist. Admittedly, my CDs haven't been organized for quite some time, but that's another story -- and even so, there's still the database that I'm forever trying to complete. But my organizational efforts are hampered by a few bands that don't have the decency to be consistent.

Now, when a band records under a completely different name (e.g., Brinsley Schwarz recorded and released some tracks as "The Knees"), that's fairly straightforward. I enter those tracks as recorded by the band under whose name they were recorded. In the example cited, I list those tracks as being by The Knees.

But there are other cases where things aren't quite so easy for anal-retentive me. Following are a few examples:

The Toy Dolls
The British punk rock group's tenth album, Orcastrated,  has their name on the cover spelled as "Toy Dollz." Note the "Z" at the end. I could ignore the missing "The" at the beginning -- lots of bands add and remove "the" all willy nilly without regard for the anal-retentive among their fans. But the "Z" bothered me. Alphabetically, keeping the album separate wasn't a big deal, since "Toy Dollz" comes right after "Toy Dolls." But part of me wants to list them as a different band, and list all the tracks as by the "other" band. Of course, many of those tracks also appear on compilation albums, so those albums would show tracks by both "Toy Dolls" and "Toy Dollz." I've resisted the urge, but it does bother me.

There was a contemporary American band called "Tight Squeeze." So to avoid confusion this British group was, early on, billed as "U.K. Squeeze" in the States. And their first album was  released as U.K. Squeeze. For the longest time I filed that album under U (while all other releases were filed under S. And my database reflected tracks from that first album were reflected as being by U.K. Squeeze instead of Squeeze -- even when they appeared on compilations. A friend (who is a bigger CD collector than I am (though he doesn't keep a database on computer) summed it up succinctly when he found out. "That's mental" he sneered. Perhaps so. What made me change it and file everything under S? Some epiphany that it was mental? No. When I found out that, in Great Britain, the band was always billed without the "U.K." in front of its name and the album was released as Squeeze. Of course, even though my copy of U.K. Squeeze went back to S with the other Squeeze albums, I kept it after Sweets from a Stranger because the album title still had "U.K." in it even if the band name didn't. I have also since learned that the band was also known as U.K. Squeeze in Australia. That was because of an Australian band called Squeeze, and lasted much longer.

The Flamin' Groovies
The Flamin(' -- ?) Groovies made some great music, but for some reason they couldn't decide whether their name had an apostrophe in it. Or maybe they simply changed their minds after three punctuation-less albums. Part of me really wants to reflect two different bands in my database. I also never really know whether to use the hyphen when I write their name. I tend to prefer to include the apostrophe, since it just doesn't look right without it. So the one band in my database has the apostrophe in its name. I'm guessing that if I were to ask Roy Loney or Cyril Jordan about the name, and whether the apostrophe should be there, they'd look at me like I was nuts. Or maybe anal-retentive. Did I mention that I'm anal-retentive?

Lynyrd Skynyrd
When the band reformed in the late '80s after the airplane crash-induced hiatus, here were legal battles over use of the name Lynyrd Skynyrd. As a result, the 1991 album was released as Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991, and the album notes made it clear that the band was also known by that name. I find it interesting that, while Wikipedia mentions and briefly discusses the legal battles, I can't find anything about the band being billed under the expanded name.My database still reflects it as being a different band. I suppose if I liked them better and became a completist when it came to their music I would have to do the resaerch and decide how to reflect them. But I don't and I'm not so I probably won't.

John (Cougar) Mellencamp
When he first started out, John Mellencamp reluctantly agreed to use the stage name "Johnny Cougar" because his manager felt that "Mellencamp" was too difficult a name to market. He went back and forth between John and Johnny. Eventually, when he had had some measure of success he was able to add his real surname to the mix, so several albums were released as "John Cougar Mellencamp." It wasn't until 1991 that the "Cougar" was gone and he started releasing albums as "John Mellencamp." It makes me glad that Jason Ringenberg had a band behind him so his last name didn't become an issue.


  1. Simon & Garfunkle / Tom & Jerry

    Kaveret / Poogy

    1. I suppose the S&G / T&J example is technically accurate. But it doesn't strike me the same because the names are so different. Also they broke up as Tom and Jerry, reforming years later as Simon and Garfunkel. So there's a clear change in identity. Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but that's the way I think of it. It also helps that I don't have anything in my CD collection showing as released by "Tom and Jerry."

      As for Kaveret / Poogy, that's a bit murkier. (For anyone wondering, Kaveret -- AKA Poogy -- was a popular Israeli band in the 1970s.) Certainly the names are very different. But there was no breakup and reformation. As I understand it, the band was always known both as "Kaveret" and as "Poogy." In case anyone thinks that's a matter of translation, guess again. "Kaveret" is Hebrew for "beehive." Poogy was the drummer's nickname.

      I've heard various explanations for the dual names. The one that rings truest to me is that "Kaveret" was for use in Israel and "Poogy" was for use elsewhere.

      At any rate, in my CD collection and databse, I always list them as "Kaveret."