It's bizarre how often the name of phenomenal German kosmische-rockers Popol Vuh gets misspelled—even by the companies that release their records. The latest error appears in probably the most embarrassing place that such a gaffe can occur: on the hype sticker of the excellent compilation Deutsche Elektronische Musik 3 [see photo above]. This is the music-industry equivalent of a newspaper botching the spelling of Mahatma Gandhi on its front page.
(Here's the song featured on the collection mentioned above.)
How could such a blunder take place? The esteemed British label Soul Jazz should have the proper spelling of Popol Vuh committed to memory. Before this album, it issued a box set of Popol Vuh leader Florian Fricke's piano works and a soundtrack to the film Kailash, as well as PV tracks on other Deutsche Elektronische Musik comps. But no; the entire chain of command at Soul Jazz let "Popul Vuh" happen. (I'm going to let slide the missing umlaut on "La Düsseldorf," but just this once.)
A similar hype-sticker snafu transpired when Spain's Wah Wah Records reissued several Popol Vuh titles in 2013, with the name again rendered "Popul Vuh." This baffling mistake also surfaces with astounding frequency in music publications of international renown, high-traffic online publications, and in random internet posts made by enlightened music aficionados.
On the one hand, Popol Vuh is not that hard of a name to master. (Trivia: It's also the title of a book, a mythological and historical narrative of the K'iche' people of the Guatemalan Highlands.) On the other hand, it shows a shocking disrespect for one of the most sublime groups in music history. A similar fate dogs the witty lyricist and world-class tunesmith Lee Hazlewood.
I've been keeping unofficial tabs on the misspellings of both artists' names over the decades, and if I had a dollar for every errant rendering, I could afford to buy original pressings of Popol Vuh and Lee Hazlewood's entire discographies, with enough dough left over to cop a fistful of magic mushrooms.
Yes, I realize that in a world hastening toward end times in the most nauseating and idiotic manner imaginable, this is a minor issue. However, if we can't even correctly spell the name of one of history's most important musical ensembles, how can we expect to solve our more complicated problems?