Deep Purple Names

I’m betting you’ve never heard the names Antonino and Carol Vincinette LoTempio. I’m also betting, if you are of a certain age, that you’ve heard of them under two very different names. And, of course, you’ve heard them sing.

They are publicly known as Nino Tempo and April Stevens, a brother and sister singing act from Niagara Falls, NY, now 85 and 91 years old, respectively; they have a firm place in this history of 1960’s pop/rock music.

Most notably, if you were alive and old enough to remember the notorious date of November 22, 1963, the song that may have been interrupeted on your radio with the somber news that JFK had been shot, was Nino and April’s rendition of Deep Purple. I centainly remember that day–I was in 8th grade, and I certainly remember the song.

It was number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 that infamous week in 1963. We’d hardly call it rock today, but it went on to win a Grammy for “Best Rock and Roll Recording of the Year.” And we certainly wouldn’t call April’s spoken lyrics, under Tempo’s singing, “rap.” Apparently, that effect was an accident. In an early warmup session in the recording studio, Tempo forgot the lyrics and Stevens jokingly whispered them to him. The producer liked the effect and insisted on including it in the final release version, much to the consternation of Tempo who didn’t like somebody speaking over his singing.

Need some more trivia? I don’t know how Stevens felt–and maybe still feels today–about her brother briefly dating a budding singer named Cherilyn Sarkisian. But Cherilyn would later meet and marry one Salvatore Bono. So maybe, just maybe, Nino and April were the inspiration for Sony and Cher.

While the duo would go on to have a few modest hits, nothing ever came close to the success of Deep Purple. It’s timing, on top of Kennedy’s demise, may have signaled the end of an era for America’s pop charts. Less than three months later, Beatlemania struck the USA.

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Bjørn to Be Wild? Norwegian Jazz Drummers from K to N

Every year my Christmas Grinch schtick lingers past the expiration date, like a dried up ole Christmas tree that the family got too lazy to throw away. So, the first order of business here is to bump that puppy off the top.

Not only is it unsightly, it’s a fire hazard.

So, we turn to another worn out BoFN tradition to get the job done. That’s right! It’s Norwegian jazz time!!!!

This all started with bass player names. We discovered a disproportionate percentage of Norwegians, with extraordinary talent and outstanding names–at least from our non-Norwegian BoFN perspective. Then we moved on to drums, and it started to get just ridiculous. I mean, seriously?

It seems like if you walked down the street in Oslo, every third or fourth person would be a jazz musician. And that’s a conservative estimate.

Anyway, we took it to J last time, and feel pretty confident as we move ahead to K.

Two drummer names of note, and both take a walk on the mild side. First, we have Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød, whose understated brush sticks we can hear below in “Say No More,” a moody contemporary cut with Emilie Christensen and Harald Lassen,

Next, Bjørn Krokfoss, who has been both a drummer and bandleader for several traditional swing ensembles. Bjørn is a pillar of the jazz and arts community in Trondheim. His bandmates (at least for what I’ve sampled) have impressive chops and hold together a bright, tight sound. “Good Queen Bess” here is no exception.

The album is Kroks Fot (2018), which means “Hook Foot.” Nice play on words, there, Bjørn! We hope Bjørn can take a joke as well as make one, because we hereby place him among the other immortals of BoFN.

Moving on to L, our featured drummer/composer is Torstein Lofthus, a hugely sought after musician not only in Norway but all over Europe. He lays down some hard funk in the drum solo below.

We’re already seeing a mighty range in jazz genres here.

Surprisingly, there’s only have one drummer to choose from for M, but a worthy entry: Ole Mofjell. Everything I can find of Ole and his associates is waaaay outside (to use some hep jazz lingo), including this cut. For me, they channel Ornette Coleman (a good thing).

At the risk of jumping the Sjark, I’m going to move on to N. Here we encounter a problem similar to we had with “J” in the last episode. All of the drummers with N names sound kind of normal and . . . you know . . . just . . . Scandinavian. I’m going to go with Helge Andreas Norbakken, just because it’s the best I can do.

Here Helge plays “The Tree Did Not Die” with Phronesis, from their We Are All album.

Wow, I got lucky here. This is a great group and piece to round up the post. Outstanding!

Until we meet again at the letter O, this is wdydfae signing off and wishing you a Happy 2021!

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Merry Grinchmas! (Seasonal Reblog)

In the good land of BoFN when Christmas drew near
Folk were having . . . not quite universal good cheer.
For in fact, there was one . . . er, his name we can’t say . . .
Whud Id Fah? Whud Yuhd Fee? Or, Why Diddy Fay?
But in all BoFN towns and in each BoFN city
The BoFNites chose to just call him . . .

Diddy
Diddy

Now in Diddy’s hard, cold, little bristly brain
There bounced back and forth only one tired refrain.
“This name waste must stop! Stop wasting those names!
No, no, no! Don’t you waste! No more name wasting games!
Funny names are a rare, irreplaceable treasure!
Don’t waste them, I say! They are rare beyond measure!”

And so it went on, and then on, and on more
Until BoFNites marched to bang on the king’s door.
“Tell this Diddy to cease! Tell this Diddy to hush!
But don’t you stop there: tell this Diddy ‘Shush! Shush!'”

So King Dave rolled his eyes and paid Diddy a visit.
And he said, “Look here, Diddy! This isn’t keen, is it?
This pouting and shouting and spouting–not good!
The real estate’s tanking in each neighborhood.”

“Look around you! These names are not really so rare!
They are here! They are there! There are names everywhere!
You see, Diddy, funny names DO grow on trees
And on bushes and twigs and from pods of green peas.”

Now, according to custom, a Scrooge-ish conversion
Takes many long scenes in a good movie version,
And many a page in a fine children’s book,
And that is indeed how long Diddy’s took,
But we’ve got strict word limits so we’ll jump on ahead
And show, not old Diddy, but the new one instead.

“King Dave, you are right!!! How could I be so wrong?!?”
Diddy said (and we promise this change did take long).

“There are funny names here, and funny names there!
Why, there’s one on the porch, and on the third stair!
Yes, finding these names is not hard! It’s a cinch!
Look, here’s Cindy Lou Who, Mayor Maywho, and Grinch!
Cindy Lou lives in Whoville and Grinch on Mt. Crumpit,
And he tore down its slopes blaring blasts from a trumpet!”

Thus Diddy expounded, his arms stretched aloft.
“Oh, and Grinch had a song sung by Thurl Ravenscroft!”

“Now you doubters who gasp, to your total surprise’ll
hear Theo LeSieg, Theodor Seuss Geisel
A.k.a. Theophrastus, our own Dr. Seuss!
(Who drew the green eggs with a car and caboose)!
And our Seuss had a publisher named Bennett Cerf,
And though it’s off topic, this thing’s called a Smurf!

Well, the BoFNites marched to King Dave’s house once more.
“Stop this Diddy!” they cried. NOW HE’S WORSE THAN BEFORE!!!

So, we hope that our tale gave you some small delight,
We’ll end here and wish you a good Christmas night!

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!
Posted in Funny Author Names, Funny Names in Books, funny names in tv | Tagged | 12 Comments

Humpy Koneru–Qxe4 mate!

“Women, by their nature, are not exceptional chess players.”–Gary Kasparov, former world chess champion

” We want more women players to take up chess.”–Viswanathan Anand, more recent former world chess champion

“I get more upset when I lose at Monopoly.”–Magnus Carlsen, current world chess champion.

Whoo boy.  With a name like Humpy, who cares what she does?  Well, maybe her countryman, Viswanathan Anand, cares.  And maybe her naysayer, Gary Kasparov, is embarrassed.

You see, Humpy Koneru is currently the second highest rated female chess player in the world, and held the record–for a time– as  the youngest woman ever to attain grandmaster designation.  Here at TBOFN, we just love awesome competitors with even more awesome names.  I’ll get to the origin of that name in a bit, but just a  little more of her chess accomplishments first.

Born in India in 1987,  she achieved grandmaster status in 2002 at the age of 15 years, one month, 27 days, surpassing the record of the legendary Judit Polgar by some three months.  To give you an idea how impressive Polgar’s record was when she set it in 1991, at the time it was the record for the youngest ever by any person, male or female,  beating the previous mark set by one Bobby Fischer in the 1960’s.  Maybe you’ve hard of him? (The current male record holder, by the way, Sergey Karjakin,  attained the title at age 12 years and 7 months.  I think he started playing in utero.)

Humpy

Anyway, Humpy’s female grandmaster record has since been surpassed, but she is still rated on the edge of the top 100 players in the world, and she still has the best name in the game.  Interstingly enough, her name was originally Hampi, but her father changed it to Humpy, apparently because he thought that sounded Russian.  How that sounds Russian and why he desired that for her is anybody’s guess.  Anyway, by any name, I would not care to run into her across a chess board.

I leave you, though, with my favorite chess quote of all time.  It’s from another former world champion, Boris Spassky.

He was asked, “which do you prefer, sex or chess?’

He replied: “it depends on the position.”

 

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How do you get to Zsa Zsa Gabor from Gabor Szabo?

The short answer is, by rearranging letter magnets on the fridge.

The longer answer is more complicated. It involves magical Al Gh’er Rh’ythms of Yoot T’Ooob, whose mysterious workings summon up an almost forgotten album of a Hungary-born guitarist.

And considering that was 1968, dang, the album holds up amazingly well. Using Gabor’s name as a search term subsequently unleashed a prodigious number of additional albums on the T’Oobs, all of them spectacularly good–at least if you like extended, atmospheric, understated, contemplative, crossover stuff, inflected with funk, and anticipating all that 70s fusion that we (?) know and love so well.

Carlos Santana has praised Gabor as a seminal influence, and you can definitely hear “Black Magic Woman” and “Soul Sacrifice” waiting to be born in Gabor’s “Gypsy Queen”:

Santana pays tribute to Gabor in his song “Mr. Szabo”:

Now, to get from Gabor Szabo to Zsa Zsa Gabor was an elementary matter for one such as myself. Elementary in the sense of me having tragically arrested development and a sixth grade sense of humor.

“Gabor Szabo? Any relation to Zsa Zsa Gabor??? Hyuck, hyuck, hyuck.”

To answer the question, no, there is no relation. But you can see how I connected the dots. That, and residual memories of Green Acres.

Wait, that was Eva Gabor. Darnit! I could never keep those Gabor sisters straight. (The third sister, Magda Gabor, was less famous and hence constitutes less risk for misidentification.)

Zsa Zsa was born Sári (shah-ree) Gábor of Jewish parents in Hungary. As she explained in this delightful interview with Steve Allen, the Zsa Zsa name she adopted is complete nonsense.

Zsa Zsa may have meant nothing to her but it means a lot to us here at BoFN.

Zsa Zsa was of course a dazzling beauty, as well as a brilliant comedienne, like her sister Eva, with perfect comic delivery. Zsa Zsa chewed her way through eight husbands and lived to die just a bit shy of 100. She passed on surprisingly recently–2016.

Meanwhile, the musical visionary Gábor István Szabó came into our world in Hungary in 1936, the same year Zsa Zsa won the Miss Hungary contest. He died much earlier, and did not live even half as long. This might explain his compulsion to get so many albums out.

With so many more years, so much more fame, and so much beauty, you’d think Zsa Zsa would forever outshine Gabor the guitarist, but it’s not necessarily so. The T’oobs have a way of balancing out legacies, and while searching for Zsa Zsa will give you mostly tidbits of Hollywood trivia, for Mr. Szabo it yields dense results that represent his musical vision pretty darn comprehensively. Cosmic justice for a musical visionary, you might say.

Speaking of guitars, there is another guitarist cum boxer cum MCAT tutoring Youtuber cum brain specialist cum blogger cum founder of BoFN: none other than our our man, Dave. Pluck the link below and offer a helping hand to the King:

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