Little Walter

His name was Walter. He was little*. That’s all I got.

(*His given name was Marion, and for all I know he was, a la Randy Newman, six feet tall.)

John Lee Hooker

On the list of things I can be mad at my parents about, one of them is that they didn’t give me a cool first name like “Zakiya.” On the other hand, they didn’t give me an embarrassing last name like “Hooker,” so I guess it all evens out.

John Lee Hooker AllMusic page

Howlin’ Wolf

As blues nicknames go, I still think “McKinley Morganfield” to “Muddy Waters” was the Best. Business Decision. Ever. But “Chester Arthur Barnett” to “Howlin’ Wolf” is a close second. On a related note: On the list of “presidents I want to name my son after,” who picks Chester Alan Arthur? (Yes, that’s actually where his given name comes from.)

Howlin’ Wolf AllMusic page

Charlie Musselwhite

Things you learn as a music junkie blogger, part infinity: Blues harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite is white! Too bad there wasn’t a clue, like in his name or something …

Charlie Musselwhite AllMusic page

Buddy Guy

Though it’s certainly catchier than “George,” if your last name is “Guy” and you choose “Buddy” as your stage name—that’s a sign you’re not trying very hard.

Buddy Guy AllMusic page

Alberta Hunter

In round 2 I will do a fair amount of apologizing for acts I can’t believe I left out of round 1. And with that in mind … Alberta Hunter.

Alberta Hunter AllMusic page

Taj Mahal

In my next other life (clearly, I am planning to have a lot of them), I want a badass name like “Taj Mahal.” I figure, this one isn’t even Indian, so my odds are pretty good.

Taj Mahal AllMusic page