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Count Basie, in concert with Big Joe Williams and Oscar Peterson at the Congress Center Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany in 1974.
Heinrich Klaffs / flickr.com/Heinrich Klaffs

 

While he will always be remembered as Count Basie, “Count” wasn’t always part of his name.

It was added when an announcer at the Reno Club in Kansas City joked that Basie’s first name, Bill, was too plain compared to his contemporaries “Duke” Ellington and Earl "Fatha" Hines.

The announcer then said he would refer to Basie as “Count” from then on. The name stuck, and Count Basie was born.