What's In A Name?

I have never been very fond of my name. It didn't have the sonic impact of Rock Hudson or Wolf Blitzer. And there are far too many ways to misspell "Brian", like Brain, Bryan, Bryant, Bryon, Byron, Brine and Brad. Recently, I received my business license from the State of Arkansas:

Of course, I had to send it back because I know full well that my tax payments would not be recorded because of the two letter transposition. The corrected version arrived a few weeks later.

As a kidlet in 1964, I read in a Tiger Beat magazine about that big surf music band the Beach Boys, and their leader BRIAN WILSON! It was the first time I saw my name in print. It had a curious effect on me, like I was famous or something. Eventually, the comparison of me and that Beach Boy became a major source of embarrassment.

"God only knows how much I annoy you...."

"God only knows how much I annoy you...."

When I was in college, I went to a Business of Music Seminar at Tulsa University. The panel featured CBS Records President Bruce Lundvall. When the topic came to the record label's role in controlling the artist image, look and even stage name, my hand went up. "What would the label do with an artist that has the name of another famous artist?" I asked. Lundvall said, "For instance?". "My name is Brian Wilson..." I replied, to light mocking and laughter. Bruce thought for a second,  and responded with a satisfied look, " I would recommend changing your name to either Dennis or Carl!" naming the two other Beach Boy brothers of Brian.

Bruce Lundvall: Smartass.

Bruce Lundvall: Smartass.

Dennis Wilson: When he drowned, even Paul Harvey reported that it was Brian Wilson who had died. For years afterward when people met me they would say "Aren't you dead?". For the record, Brian is still with us.

Dennis Wilson: When he drowned, even Paul Harvey reported that it was Brian Wilson who had died. For years afterward when people met me they would say "Aren't you dead?". For the record, Brian is still with us.

While there was a mild resemblance, I was not Carl Wilson.

While there was a mild resemblance, I was not Carl Wilson.

In 1990 I met Beach Boy Brian Wilson's daughter Carnie Wilson when Wilson Phillips was promoting their first single "Hold On". She and I had a great conversation, but I still had to pull out my driver's license to prove I wasn't pulling her ample leg.

In 1990 I met Beach Boy Brian Wilson's daughter Carnie Wilson when Wilson Phillips was promoting their first single "Hold On". She and I had a great conversation, but I still had to pull out my driver's license to prove I wasn't pulling her ample leg.

Many years ago, I looked my name up and found that I had the 8th and the 10th most common name in America. That explained why there are so many of us. When I worked at ABC Radio, there were four of us, differentiated by our middle initial. It was there how I came to be known as Brian G, to separate me from Brian M, Brian D and B G Wilson, who had the same initial. Confused yet?

 

Pitcher Brian Wilson: Don't fear the beard!

Pitcher Brian Wilson: Don't fear the beard!

Former Fox News anchor and current WMAL host, Brian Wilson.

Former Fox News anchor and current WMAL host, Brian Wilson.

So when it came time to fire up this photography business, I had to come to terms with my name and embrace it. I wasn't naming my company Precious Timepieces Memories- I am the business and that's what I have to sell, myself. And to make it easy to give my email address to people over the phone without them misspelling it, it's just me. me@bgwphoto.com.

At least my name isn't Jeffrey Dahmer, Timothy McVeigh or Michael Bolton.