Take Note: What’s in a name? Just ask Prince

Stuart McHugh
Stuart McHugh

I was never that big on Prince but could recognise his creativity, ability and knack for a good pop hook.

I suppose his music was just not up my street, a description which most people would apply to poet Jock Scott and Polvo drummer Eddie Watkins, whose passings were rather overshadowed by Prince’s equally untimely departure.

Also on the Purple one’s plus column was his intransigence when faced down by the music industry.

Apart from writing ‘‘Slave’’ on his cheek as a protest against his contract, he changed his name to a symbol, thus confounding his record label and sub-editors with one spidery stroke of his Sharpie.

Columnists short on ideas could (and still can) boost their word count by referring to his Purpleness as ‘‘The Artist Formerly Known as...’’

The matter of bands naming themselves has always been one for the lawyers, which probably irked Prince even further. I mean, how do you copyright a squiggle?

At least a squiggle is unique – back in the day, bands would choose a name out of thin air and then express surprise someone else called themselves the same. Bands like Squeeze and Suede added UK and London, respectively, when trying to crack the American market.