Jude, Stan, Bennie and more men’s names that are linked too closely to songs to ever exist on their own.
Over the weekend I met someone named Bennie. His nickname turned out to be Hana. As in… Benihana. Which got me wondering about one of life’s oldest and most common questions: Is being nicknamed after a theatrical hibachi chain restaurant preferable to hearing people sing Elton John’s B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets in your direction multiple times a day?
I put together this list of 11 men’s names that have been eternally tainted by being part of iconic song titles. My goal was to look for cases where a person with one of these names would introduce themselves and, more often than not, get song lyrics thrown right back at them.
1 | Mickey
(tainted by Toni Basil’s Mickey)
Although I suppose a lifetime of people telling you “Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind” is a preferable option to a lifetime of people associating you with a cartoon mouse. Or a gag-inducing malt liquor.
2 | Jeremy
(tainted by Pearl Jam’s Jeremy)
Writing a legendary rock song where the eponymous character shoots up his school is a great way to destroy a name. And looking at the Social Security data, in the two decades since Pearl Jam released the song, the name Jeremy has decreased in popularity every single year. It was 46th in 1993… it’s steadily declined down to 152nd.
3 | Levon
(tainted by Elton John’s Levon)
Not too many people (any people?) name their kids Levon — but if they do, Elton John’s gone and ruined it. Side note: The similar-sounding LeBron has also been nice and tainted too.
4 | Bennie
(tainted by Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets)
Another one from Elton John, as I discussed in the preamble to this list. Elton also messed with Daniel — although out of Bennie, Levon, and Daniel, that one has the best chance of being associated with something other than the song. Like the Biblical figure. Or the kid who played Harry Potter.
5 | Mack
(tainted by Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife)
There aren’t too many Macks anymore — at least not since Kris Kross — but any Macks that do come around have a built-in nickname of “The Knife.” As far as potential nicknames go, that’s about as lucky as you can get. That should make all the Macks of the world jump, jump in excitement.
6 | Stan
(tainted by Eminem’s Stan)
Man it feels like a long time ago that Eminem did Stan. And I’m fairly sure he only picked the name because it rhymes with “fan.” Ruining a name forever just because it’s a useful rhyme. That’s like how Seinfeld tainted the name Dolores because of its rhyme. (And also, to a lesser extent, how it tainted Mulva.)
7 | Sue
(tainted by Johnny Cash’s A Boy Named Sue)
The song teaches us just how hard life is for a boy named Sue. But did Johnny Cash realize the meta effect there — that writing a song called A Boy Named Sue double the difficulty?
8 | Jude
(tainted by The Beatles’ Hey Jude)
“Jude” makes the list because I’m sure every Jude hears “na, na, na, na na na na” upon introduction. But if any band’s going to eternally link your name with a song, you could do a lot worse than the Beatles. I’m not sure being in the title of a Beatles song pejoratively taints *anyone*. I know a girl named Penny Lane — and not because I talk to imaginary characters from Cameron Crowe movies, she’s real — and I’m pretty sure the name’s more of an asset to her than a curse. I just need to meet an Eleanor Rigby and I’ll know definitively.
9 | Danny
(tainted by Irish people’s Danny Boy)
I actually spent a good 10 minutes debating whether to replace Danny Boy with Artie Boy, thanks to Saved by the Bell‘s memorial to Slater’s lizard. But ultimately I decided to go Danny. Because when I hear Artie, the pie chart of my mind thinks 55 percent Artie Ziff from The Simpsons, 43 percent SBTB doing Artie Boy, and two percent either Artie Lange or Artie in the wheelchair from Glee. The hideous amount of pop culture stew flowing through my brain often frightens me.
10 | Louie
(tainted by The Kingsmen’s Louie Louie)
Before Louie C.K. finally gave the name Louie a fighting chance, I’m fairly sure “Louie” was a life sentence of having people sing Louie Louie at you… then mumble about 30 seconds of nonsense words.
By the way, the actual lyrics of the first verse are: “A fine little girl, she waits for me. Me catch the ship across the sea. Me sailed the ship all alone. Me never think I’ll make it home.” I kinda liked it better when it was just mumbling.
11 | Fernando
(tainted by ABBA’s Fernando)
Did I say “tainted” by ABBA? I meant “made exponentially more amazing” by ABBA. Much like everything ABBA has ever touched.
Another list with 11 women’s names forever tainted by song titles is coming later this week.