(Roughly) Daily

What’s in a name?…


What is the “7” in 7UP? We’ll never know for sure. The soft drink’s creator, Charles Leiper Grigg, went to the grave without ever revealing where he got the name. But there several interesting rumors regarding its origin.

When Grigg introduced his drink in October 1929, it had neither a “7” nor an “UP” in its name. He called it “Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda.” Imagine trying to order that bad boy from a Taco Bell drive-through! Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda is perhaps the single worst name for a soft drink in soda history. How did he come up with this extraordinarily crummy name?..

Besides having a very bizarre name, Grigg’s concoction hit stores just two weeks before the 1929 stock market crash. It also faced competition from about 600 other lemon-lime sodas. Despite all of these daunting factors, the new drink actually sold pretty well. Chalk it up to the cool, refreshing taste of lithium.

But even with its success, Griggs soon realized that Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda was a little tricky to remember (you think?) or maybe he just got sick of saying it himself. Griggs changed the name of his drink to “7UP.”…

Eddie Deezen explores the possibilities at Neatorama

Here’s the most persuasive (and logical) explanation for the name: The “7” refers to the drink’s seven ingredients, and the “UP” has to do with the soda’s rising bubbles. This version is supported by an early 7UP tagline: “Seven natural flavors blended into a savory, flavory drink with a real wallop.”…

But as Deezen observes, there could be other explanations, among them:

Is 7UP an aphrodisiac? Remember Wilt Chamberlain, the great basketball player who claimed he had made love to 20,000 women in his lifetime? Well, Wilt the Stilt’s favorite drink was 7UP. According to Wilt, “I used to drink the stuff all the time.”…

Consider the other possibilities at “What is the 7 in 7UP?


As we wonder if Mayor Bloomberg knows the answer, we might send melodious birthday greetings to Harold Baron “Hal” Jackson; he was born on this date in 1914. An avid sports fan and music lover who wanted to share his passions, Jackson broke one color barrier after another in the radio and music businesses.

While studying at Howard University, Jackson…

… approached the management of WINX, owned by The Washington Post, in 1939 about covering black sports events for the station. Told that station policy prohibited hiring black announcers, he took a different tack: he persuaded a white-owned advertising agency to buy time on WINX for a 15-minute interview and entertainment show, without revealing that he was involved. As he recalled, he showed up in the studio at the last possible moment and was on the air with “The Bronze Review” before management could stop him.

“When I started, the business was so segregated,” Mr. Jackson said in 2008. “Fortunately, that didn’t last long.”

Indeed, once the station’s color line had been broken, Mr. Jackson went on to host a music show there and to broadcast Howard University football and Negro league baseball. He also became a sports entrepreneur, assembling an all-black basketball team, the Washington Bears, which won the invitational World Professional Basketball Tournament in 1943.  [New York Times]

He began to broadcast as a disk jockey as well, and was instrumental in bringing “black” music to audiences of every race.  Jackson continued to host “Sunday Classics,” a program on WBLS in New York (one of a chain of stations he co-owned) until near his death earlier this year.

In 1990, Hal Jackson was the first minority broadcaster inducted into the National Association of Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame; in 1995, he became the first African-American inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame; he was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 2003; in October 2010, he was named a “Giant in Broadcasting” by the Library of American Broadcasting– and (your correspondent can attest) he was a genuinely nice guy.

Hal Jackson in 1993



Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 3, 2012 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: