What’s in a name?

Duane Hiatt performs \"What\'s in a name?\"

“The Three D’s; that’s the corniest name I’ve every heard.” So spake our producer at Capitol Records when we signed with them.

“We’re thinking, something more hip and folk sounding, like “The Salt City Three.”

“Doesn’t pop on the marquee or the newspaper,” our agent in Las Vegas told us when we played there with Sandi Griffiths and Sally Flynn two beautiful and talented BYU coeds who later starred on the Lawrence Welk TV show for many seasons.

Our Vegas man suggested, “Because of your image and your show the papers are calling you, ‘Purity Playhouse.’ The swingers in Vegas have a saying when they when they score with a good looking woman they call it, ‘good clean fun.’ We should name your group that, then people can take it either way they want to” he said with a wink and a smirk. We decided that idea, could as they say, “stay in Vegas.”

Instead we performed as “The Three D’s and Sandi and Sally;” not shocking or sophisticated, but accurate.

Admittedly our name was not as cute as The Beatles, as rootless as The Rolling Stones, as exotic as The Kingston (Jamaica) Trio, as homey as The Mamas and Pappas or as startling as Bare Naked Ladies. But The Three D’s has been a very serviceable name. It’s short. We can spell it. Nobody else seems to want copy it. It’s a work plug of a name, not a thoroughbred.

Some people told us The Three D’s evoked memories of watching movies through cardboard glasses. Others asked us if we copied it off our school report card, or if it stood for “dumb, dumber, and dumbest or “duh, duh, and duh.”

The name was born more of desperation than inspiration. Dick, Denis and I had thrown around and out many names in the beginning. None of them stuck. Hey it’s hard to come up with a name. As Dave Berry said about the title of his newest book, “Titles are hard to come by. Most of the best ones have already been taken like ‘Thirty Days to Thinner Thighs, and The Bible.”

Then one night a nervous mc insisted we had to give him a name so he could introduce us. Richard Davis and I grew up together in a little wide-place-in-the-road town in Utah named Payson. His mom called him Richard. To the rest of us he was Rick. Watching the uncomfortable mc I searched for something he could call us. I thought, “Hmm, Denis, Duane both start with ‘D’. Three D’s has implications of dimensions. That’s a concept we could build on since we do a variety of music and comedy.”

I said, “Rick if you would go by ‘Dick’ we could call ourselves The Three D’s.” How about it?”

“One letter, R or D, makes no ‘rifference’ to me,” he said or something like that.

The rest as they say is history or in our case a small footnote to an obscure page in a little known history. Actually we did share a moment in history. LDS Church President Howard W. Hunter was speaking before a crowd of about 25,000 at Brigham Young University. He began his talk saying, “Years ago there was a popular music group… named the Three D’s. They took that name from the three singers’ first names. My fear is that if in the nineties our young people were to form a popular singing group, they might still call themselves the Three D’s, but that could be for Despair, Doom, and Discouragement.”

At that moment a nutcase named Cody Judy burst through the door waving a brick size object. “This is a bomb. Don’t anybody move!” He ran down the stairs to the podium and demanded that President Hunter resign as prophet and president of the Church and make him the new prophet.

He got distracted momentarily. Security and the crowd jumped him, and his short reign as self-appointed prophet was over.
I was relieved. I thought for a moment he was a disgruntled audience member from a Three D’s show who wanted his ticket