Whether pursuing her “Blonde Ambition” or confessing on the dance floor, there’s no doubt Madonna still commands the pop scene. As the queen of reinvention and the prototype for all modern pop princesses, no one else has so successfully marketed themselves to the American public. In fact, Madonna owes much of her branded success to the one-word-wonder of her name. Madonna, who was born Madonna Louise Ciccone, has gone through multiple mononyms: during her Kabbalah phase, she assumed the title of Esther and across the channel, she’s referred to as “Madge,” which is slang for “Your Majesty” — a fitting title for the Queen of Pop.
Prince is undoubtedly one of the most interesting musicians of all time, and his name reflects that. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, he carved out a niche for himself in the music world with his penchant for flamboyant attire, the color purple and immense talent. Prince — his one-word title as a performer — has become synonymous with not only his talent, but also his eccentricities. In 1993 he decided he no longer wanted to be known as Prince, but instead as the unpronounceable Love Symbol No. 2. However, most people referred to him just as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” until 2000, when he chose to reassume his former moniker.
Ke$ha’s heavily synthesized, spoken rap songs about sloppy partying may be catchy, but she’s hardly the icon many of her fellow one-word musical stars are. Her disheveled, morning-after appearance and trashy stage outfits match her wasted party girl songs, which hardly have the longevity to make her a pop culture icon. Her perfectly respectable former name, Kesha Rose Sebert, is marred with a dollar sign replacing the “s” in her first name to form her lowbrow new title, Ke$ha. Her new one-word handle is just about as classy as her claim that she brushes her teeth in the morning with “a bottle of Jack.”