The phenomena of people being known by only one name is a fascinating one; one could argue that it is the apex of narcissism and self-promotion. But it is not new. I am guessing that nobody knows Plato’s first name. (I certainly don’t, but I am relative sure it wasn’t Frank.)
Single-name recognition is rarer in jazz and classic pop music, although there is Liberace to contend with. In the 1940s a wonderful jazz pianist and vibes player jettisoned her last name, Breckenridge, and went by just her first: Dardanelle. And as “Dardanelle” she performed in New York City and abroad well into the 1990s.
“Happy Cat” was written by Dardanelle and arranged by her, or by a member of her trio. On electric guitar we have Joe Sinacore, a fine musician squarely in the tradition of Charlie Christian. His fluid, swinging and inventive playing can be heard on recordings with The Andrews Sisters (1938) and Illinois Jacquet (1952). String bassist Bert Nazer was a New York studio musician, someone whose activities were probably far more extensive than the few recorded sides noted in the standard discographies: In addition to his work with Dardanelle, Nazer recorded with Joan Brooks (mid-1940s), Miff Mole (1944) and Artie Baker (1949).
Some may object to the amount of screen time given dancer Dorothy Drew. Keep in mind that as a visual medium, Soundies producers and directors felt compelled to keep things varied on screen. Dorothy Drew was a New York nightclub singer and dancer who also appeared in the 1944 Broadway stage production Are You With It? as a member of the ensemble.
For future reference, following a new practice of using the initial of one’s first name, then the first to letters of the second – Jlo comes to mind – I would appreciate it if everyone addresses me as MCa. Thanks in advance.