What’s In A Name? Don & Juan

I’ve always had a healthy sense of curiosity about how musical acts choose their stage names. Some have obvious connections with their history or background, others have well-known stories behind them, but a lot of them might take some guess work.

Don and Juan, a R&B duo who rose to popularity almost fifty years ago, probably picked their name as a play on the moniker of the legendary Spanish donjuanlover, and also because it was easy for fans to remember. Unfortunately, their career didn’t last as long as that of the earlier Don Juan.

Brooklyn-born Claude Johnson and Roland Trone worked their way up in the burgeoning doo-wop world in the late 1950’s as part of a group called the Genies. Unable to achieve much career traction, they reinvented themselves as a duet called Don and Juan.

In 1959 they recorded “What’s Your Name” and it climbed the charts, making it into the top ten. They later followed up with “Magic Wand,” but it didn’t do as well and things went downhill from there. The guys did kick around music for a few more years, but without much success and they eventually gave it up. Roland died in 1983, but Claude made an attempt to reinvent the duo with a different partner when oldies made a comeback.


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