Mar 202015
 

I’m finally getting around to reading Don Felder’s autobiography “Heaven and Hell” and am really enjoying it. I’m just getting to the part where he meets the Eagles and am very much looking forward to being outraged by Don Henley’s douchy-ness and Glenn Frey’s annoying alpha-frat-bro behavior.

I never thought about it much, but “Donald” is not a very rock and roll sounding name. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being Johnny or Mick, and a 1 being something like Ernie (no offense to Ernie K Doe and Ernie Isley intended), Donald has to come in at about 2 or 3. It feels like a name better suited for an accountant or a municipal clerk, rather than someone playing to sold out crowds and reveling in the accompanying sex and drugs.

The fact that the Eagle had two Donalds in their band might have created a certain disruption to their psychic feng shui that they could never overcome no matter how many units they sold.

On the other hand, Donald Roeser of Blue Oyster Cult had the good sense to change his name to Buck Dharma, and while “Buck” is not the greatest rock name, it certainly ranks higher than Donald, and may have, in some small, intangible way, helped nudge the band closer to the path of creative righteousness.

Anyway, here are some rock and roll Donalds, listed in order of their ability to triumph over what, in retrospect, was a poorly chosen name and a sizable original sin to overcome.

Donald “Duck” Dunn
Don Covey
Donald Fagan
Don Dixon
Don Was
Don Felder
Don McClean
Donnie Iris
Don Henley

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  16 Responses to “What’s in a Name: Donald”

  1. Donny Hathaway? The merits of his live album got some press last year and he has some good takes on some classic songs, that were contemporary when he recorded it.

    Don Dixon “out kicked his coverage” as they say when he married Marti Jones.

  2. BigSteve

    Don “Sugarcane” Harris — the guy who played electric violin on Zappa’s Hot Rats album — started out as half of the New Orleans R&B duo Don & Dewey. This is pretty convincing rock & roll:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrspovTn5kc

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    The band Don Caballero contains no Donalds or Dons but is named after SCTV’s Guy Caballero and has an album called “American Don,” which also has wittily-entitled songs such as “You Drink a Lot of Coffee For A Teenager.”

    If you want to be more serious, how about Don Cherry? (PS, Neneh’s recent album is pretty good, too.)

  4. H. Munster

    Don Everly

  5. I was going to add Donnie Lonegan, but then I remembered the sniffle great’s name was Lonnie Donegan, right?

    In the Buck Dharma category there’s Don van Vliet, more rockingly known as Captain Beefheart.

  6. Lest we forget the lead guitarist of Philly-based The Donuts, who, coincidentally, changed his name from one of the best in all of rock and roll to a Don: Johnny Taint became Don “Don” Noodle.

    Major props for adding the middle name with quotations. That’s cool.

  7. ladymisskirroyale

    Don Cherry.

  8. underthefloat

    Late to this but how about Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad.
    I only know his name because of the wonderfully titled album of GFR’s called “Mark, Don & Mel”.

 
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