No, Moby Isn't Actually Related to Herman Melville: Report

Investigative podcast 'The Genealogy Detective' is poking holes in the producer's longstanding whale tale

Photo: Travis Schneider

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Sep 13, 2023

The great white lie? For as long as anyone cares to remember, Moby — born Richard Melville Hall — has claimed to be a distant relative of Moby-Dick author Herman Melville. According to the producer, he was given his moniker as a nickname at a young age by his parents as a reference to his supposed great-great-great uncle.

An investigative podcast called The Genealogy Detective has now claimed otherwise. Over a three-part series uploaded this week, hosts Mary Duffy and Adam Mellion played private eye, looking into the family trees of both Melville and Moby's relatives.

Duffy and Mellion discovered no definite ancestral connection between the electronic music innovator and the renowned author. However, Moby does apparently have a genealogical tie to inventor David Melville — the man who filed a patent for America's first gas lighting system.

The podcast release was well-timed for the artist, who released a new song called "Should Sleep" with J.P. Bimeni today via his new label, Always Centered at Night. You can listen to that, as well as the podcast trilogy, below.


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