On April 3, 2000, one of the most prominent companies of the 21st century was born. That day, the name and logo for Verizon became known to the masses. The company, for better or worse, became a defining middleman, fundamental to the way we use our phones and access our internet.

The next day, a popular rock band released a physical single for what would become their biggest hit. “Everything You Want,” a song from Vertical Horizon's first major label record, had already been on the radio for a few months by this point.

It would become the band's only number-one hit just two months later, around the time Verizon began business in earnest as a combined singular entity, with a separate offshoot named Verizon Wireless. Both companies came to life through ties to the former Bell Atlantic.

"Everything You Want" was one of the year's biggest songs. Matt Scannell, the singer and songwriter on the track, would call it an extremely successful example of honest songwriting. It would have made a great jingle for Verizon's fledgling empire.

I've had a theory floating in my head for a number of years about there being a tie between these two pop-culture phenomena. One cannot be sure, but the fact that Vertical Horizon, once a popular regional band from the same Washington, DC, metro area that Bell Atlantic served, became nationally famous at the very same moment that Verizon chose its name feels like too much of a coincidence for it to be an accident.

Vertical Horizon's name must have inspired Verizon's name.

If you read news stories about the name inspiration, there will be claims that Verizon stands for a combination of “veritas” (Latin for “truth”) and “horizon,” but the fact of the matter is, a combination of "vertical" and "horizon" also works for a brand name that is used to sell both wired telecom service and wireless access. Honestly, it makes more sense as an inspiration than the idea that Verizon would stand for "truth." The company these days owns TechCrunch and Yahoo News, but something tells me the guy laying down the fiber wiring isn't thinking about truth.

But the problem is, if Verizon were to admit this inspiration, two things would happen: One, Vertical Horizon would ask this massive company to pay up; and two, everyone would make fun of Verizon for being inspired by alt-pop.

The branding consultant that came up with this name would never admit it, but you have to remember how big this song was. It was everywhere, a hit with massive legs that succeeded on every format it touched.

I honestly don't even want to know if this theory is true or not. It’s a popular shower thought on Reddit, so I can’t be the only person to have thought of this. But the fact is, the timing works out.

Verizon is an homage to Vertical Horizon. Prove me wrong.

Ernie Smith
Your time was just wasted by Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.