Monday, December 7, 2009

The Power of a Name

After seeing Billy Joe Shaver live last week and playing Robert Earl Keen's Merry Christmas from the Family as part of the holiday season, I got to thinking about other "three named" performers. Most folks just roll with two names, but some singers opt for that extra one. Now, we could debate the merits of the extra name; however, one thing is not debatable. Three-named singers whip the living tar out of their single-named peers. I present these examples as compelling proof.

  • Robert Earl Keen v. Cher
  • Jerry Jeff Walker v. Morrissey (What's with this guy? He has one name yet two R's and 2 S's in it. A bit pretentious if you ask me.)
  • Billy Joe Shaver v. Pink
  • Ray Wylie Hubbard v. Beyonce
  • The Beat Farmers' Country Dick Montana v. Prince - can you imagine that as a twin bill?
  • Ronnie Van Zant v. Madonna
  • Walter Salas-Humara v. Sting
  • John Cougar Mellencamp v. Bono - Whoa, hold on! Its a Bono upset win over the 3-named JCM. Oh well, ya can't win 'em all.
  • Townes van Zandt v. Jewel
  • Jimmie Dale Gilmore v.Bjork
  • David Lee Roth v. Nena (of 99 Luft Balloons 1-hit wonder fame + she fails because of those hairy pits)
  • Ronnie James Dio v. Coolio
  • David Allen Coe v. Enya

And even with only a middle initial vs. a full middle name, its still a win for the three-name crowd.

  • Tom T. Hall v. Yanni

Now, the examples can continue if necessary. But I'm pretty sure I've presented slam-dunk, case-closing, proof-positive evidence that the tri-namers overwhelm the uni-named. They may not outsell them, out-MTV them, or out-Q-score them. But they out-talent them six days a week and twice on Sunday (or maybe its thrice).

As evidenced by the Bono victory over Mellencamp, I concede the conclusion is not one of 100% annihilation. So you can spare me the following examples:

  • Beck over Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Usher over Lee Ann Womack

Otherwise, tell me where I'm wrong. I'm all ears.

a proud member of the three-named club


  1. um, what about Elvis!! He beats them all!

  2. I think what you are saying is that there are no hot singer chicks with 3 names. All dudes. I happen to like Jewel. and Beyonce's booty beats the crap out of any of these guys flat asses.