A musical question for you: What do the song This Time, Jane Fonda, Horse-Hoeing Husbandry, and a trucking magazine have in common?
In one way or another, they inspired the names of musical groups.
This Time (We’re Really Breaking Up) was a huge hit in 1961 for Troy Shondell, from Fort Wayne, Indiana. A few years later, another singer from Fort Wayne, Tommy Jackson, was looking for a name for his group. He changed his name to Tommy James and named his group the Shondells, both to honour Troy Shondell and because, as he said, it sounded like a good name.
More on Tommy James and the Shondells later. First, let’s get the other group names out of the way.
In one of her first starring roles, Jane Fonda was in a science-fiction movie called Barbarella. The villain went by the name Duran Duran. Yes, you’ve probably heard of the group that took on that name. However, their choice may also have been influenced by the name of the club in Birmingham where Duran Duran first played, because that was its name as well.
Horse-Hoeing Husbandry may not sound like a source for a musical group, especially a hard-rock group. But a book by that title was written by the same man who invented the seed drill, an important piece of agricultural equipment even today. His name? Jethro Tull.
The trucking magazine I referenced at the beginning of the column only provided part of the name for the Canadian music group. They went with the last names of Randy and Fred, two of the group’s members, but decided they needed something to add to that. So they looked at the magazine Overdrive, decided that sounded good, and called themselves Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Earlier I said I would provide some more info on Tommy James and the Shondells, and this is the basis of probably my favourite musical trivia question of all time.
In 1987, Billy Idol and Tiffany had consecutive No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts which were cover tunes. Billy Idol covered Mony, Mony, and Tiffany covered I Think We’re Alone Now.
Both were originally hits for Tommy James and The Shondells, but when they released them, neither went to No. 1.
A quick note on a country musician who changed his name when he got into music. Harold Jenkins didn’t think that was a ‘star’ name, so he looked at a map of Arkansas, picked out the names of a couple of towns, and became – Conway Twitty.
What do you think about this story?