Friday, August 03, 2012

Evolution of Names

My brother and sister and I spend a lot of time having pseudo-intellectual pop culture conversations over email. So the other day, I wasn't the least bit surprised to read this note from my brother:
When bands first started out, they were all named as collectives of individuals (e.g., Bill Haley and the Comets), but at some point it became more common to just have a singular name (e.g., Radiohead),

So my question: Who do you think was the first major band whose name was singular as opposed to plural? By the late sixties there was Buffalo Springfield. I can't decide if the Who counts, because it's kind of sui generis. I think the Grateful Dead is still plural. Whoever it was, they started a sea change, because now that's by far the more common type of name I think (with a brief resurgence in the early 2000s with the Vines, the Hives, the Strokes,etc.).
These are the things we think about. (Also, my brother is a lawyer, which I think explains the use of "sui generis" in an email about band names.)

We're still not sure of the exact answer to his question - Cream was around by the mid-sixties, but chances are it was some small band someplace in England or the Midwest that actually started the phenomenon.

But the whole conversation made me think of something else: Restaurant names.

Here in Baltimore, at least, there's been a recent shift in the style of restaurant name - one that's similar to the band name change. Older restaurants were often named after families - Haussner's, Burke's, Busch's Chesapeake Inn - or had sort of broad, generic names - Chesapeake Restaurant, Sunset Restaurant.

Compare that to today's crop of new spots: Fork and Wrench, Of Love and Regret, Wit + Wisdom. Even Woodberry Kitchen and Kettle Hill feel totally different. They're conceptual, but sometimes the concept is pretty far removed from the food.

And the restaurants that are named after a family are often named for a child, or a dog - Ryleigh's, Maisy's, Kooper's Tavern.

When did this happen? I don't know. Why? I'm not sure about that, either. Is it that we started thinking more about our food and started expecting it to be a little less straightforward? Or maybe restaurateurs feel pressure to focus more on the experience vs. the food itself.

Whatever it is, it's happening. Just like in the music biz.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails