Week of June 28, 2020

They Weren’t Quite Born That Way


David Bowie grew up, in his words, as “plain old David Jones, a middle-class boy from London’s suburbs,” but as a musician he didn’t want to be confused with Davy Jones, frontman of The Monkees. “Nobody’s going to make a monkey out of you,” said his manager, and David adopted his new surname from American Jim Bowie, real-life creator of the Bowie knife, who was rebelliously portrayed in the 1960 film “The Alamo”….


…and in 1981, David Bowie recorded the song “Under Pressure” with Queen, musicians also familiar with name changes. Their dynamic lead singer was born Farrokh Bulsara, and also went by Fred Bulsara until about 1970 when he legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury and the band’s name from “Smile” to “Queen”…


…and in 1984, Queen released a song called “Radio Ga-Ga.” Two years later Stefani Germanotta was born, who was later inspired by the song to adopt the stage name “Lady Gaga”…


…and Lady Gaga happens to be godmother to a son of Elton John, the veteran rocker who was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight…


…and who once got a letter about the great influence of his music from Bono of U2, whose real name is Paul Hewitt…


…and human rights-loving U2 toured for an Amnesty International fundraiser in 1986, sharing the bill with The Police and their singer Sting, real name Gordon Sumner…


…who, in his own support of the human rights group, promoted a fundraising album of covers of Bob Dylan’s songs, who himself was born Robert Allen Zimmerman.