Published February 23, 2009
Lady GaGa may have been robbed of her Grammy for "Just Dance" (she was up for Best Dance Recording and lost to Daft Punk), but she's not sulking.
The girl has it all: Madonna's 1980s playbook, Donatella Versace's DNA (and wardrobe), and a multimedia empire waiting for her call. (How much longer until the GaGa fashion line, fragrance line, and after-dinner mints?)
The only thing she needs is a better stage name. "Lady GaGa" makes me gag.
A great stage name is critical for most young stars looking for their big break. Robert Zimmerman, David Jones, and Declan MacManus were wise to put out albums as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and Elvis Costello, respectively. All were inspired name choices: they work for all occasions, they age well, and they can be taken seriously.
However, too many musicians rush into a renaming decision. They're alone in their room, air-guitar in hand, not thinking of accepting their Lifetime Achievement Award at age 60. They're thinking short-term gain and not long-term name stability.
A stage name is forever. Think twice Ms. GaGa (nee Stefani Germanotta) before you commit to laying that moniker on your upholstery line. Take heed from these musicians who chose names that will haunt and humiliate them forever. And I'm not even getting into the dozens of lame rap names. Can ANYONE come up with a decent rap name?
MARILYN MANSON (Brian Hugh Warner): The origins of the name are well known: a fusion of actress Marilyn Monroe and infamous cult leader/mass murderer Charles Manson. Now 40 years old, the former Mr. Warner looks silly in the makeup and even sillier being called "Marilyn" from across the room.
BOY GEORGE (George Alan O'Dowd): If only he had a crystal ball in the '80s to see how ridiculous it would all turn out. The only thing worse than being called "Boy George" in your 40s? Standing on the side of the road in an orange jumpsuit picking up garbage ... while being called Boy George. Getting busted for tying a male prostitute to a bed ... while being called Boy George. And serving jail time … while being called Boy George. You do NOT want to be the dude named Boy George in the prison yard.
CHUBBY CHECKER (Ernest Evans): I'm gonna call it and say that Chubby Checker is the originator of the lame stage name. I know you'll all leave me comments giving me a million ways in which this is historically untrue. I don't care. It's my blog. I make the rules. Chubby got his name from the wife of "American Bandstand" host Dick Clark. Knowing what I've heard about how Dick Clark does business, Chubby is probably still paying royalties on his name.
MEAT LOAF (Michael Lee Aday): His first band was called Meat Loaf Soul in the late '60s. Unfortunately, Mr. Aday kept the name for himself and has ever since been Mr. Loaf. What's more unfortunate is Loaf's continuously overlooked acting career. For my money, it's more solid than all of those "Bat Out of Hell" recordings. From "Roadie" to "Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny," Meat Loaf has proven his acting chops. He's gotta ditch the name, however, if wants to be taken seriously by the Academy.
"LOVE SYMBOL" (Prince Rogers Nelson): During the '90s Prince got mad at his record label and decided he was a slave to them. To remind the label and everyone else how he felt about that, he walked around with "slave" written on his cheek. Then, to make his label really angry, he decided to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol. It was bad for record sales and questionable for public relations. It also made it hard to cash checks at the bank. But it got him out of his record deal. Thankfully, he's back to his legal name. I mean, who needs a symbol when your given name is Prince? Some dudes are just born lucky.
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