Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Names of Music Legends

Hello, readers!

While looking up the history of today, I came across two important events in music history that happened on December 8th - Jim Morrison's birthday and the death of John Lennon. It got me thinking, now that Lennon is in the top 1000, which other musicians have we honored the same way?

Today's post remembers some musicians who died ahead of their time, and those we've paid our respects to by naming the next generation after them.

Jim Morrison (1943-1971)
Known for being the lead singer of the Doors, Jim Morrison was also an accomplished poet. His reputation as an iconic frontman didn't translate over to the naming world - there are few records of Morrison being used as a name until it grew a bit over the past decade. The name means "son of a dark-skinned man", loosely, and could make a nice alternative to Harrison or Morgan.

John Lennon (1940-1980)
As a die-hard Beatles fan, I could wax for days on the vices and virtues of John Lennon - but check out my past Beatles name posts instead. Lennon has been a part of the top 1000 since 2008, and is currently at #691 for boys. When John Lennon was killed in 1980, his last name tripled in popularity (from 15 babies to 48), then dropped back to 22 the next year.

Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)
Arguably the greatest guitarist of all time, Jimi Hendrix influenced generations of musicians and stars after him. Jimi is a unisex name that never broke into the top 1000, but it's a fantastic nickname for a baby James (Jimi also doubled in the year after he died). Hendrix, on the other hand, has been rising up the list since 2007, and is currently at #546 for boys.

Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)
The most recent musician on this list, Amy Winehouse's powerful vocals still grace the radio often. The name Amy has been slowly decreasing since it's peak in the 1970's and 1980's (when Winehouse was born), and the name Winehouse has never made the list. But her popular song "Valerie" pushed that name up the top 1000 about 40 places in 2006 (from #167 to #127), so Winehouse has had more than a fair impact on the world of naming.

Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)
The lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of 90's grunge band Nirvana is now a household name (especially for us West Coasters), but Kurt Cobain is still rather underrepresented in the world of baby names. Kurt has been decreasing since its peak in the early 1960's, and Cobain entered the list as a first name in 2004 - 8 baby boys were named Cobain last year.

Tupac Shakur (1971-1996)
He was one of the most influential rappers of all time, and still makes the news today - anyone remember that Coachella hologram? The name Tupac first made it into the name records during his lifetime, in 1993, but the numbers have been more steady since his death, with 5 born last year. His other stage name, Makaveli, first made records the year after his death, with 8 born last year.

Notorious BIG (1972-1997)
Biggie Smalls was another influential rapper of the early 1990's, also in the East Coast hip hop scene. He had a few aliases, so let's look at them one by one: Notorious has been on and off SSA records since 1995; Biggie, Big and Smalls have never been recorded; and Christopher and Wallace have had popularity all their own, without the necessary help of a celebrity.

Selena Quintanilla (1971-1995)
Known mostly by her singular first name, Selena is a monument to name honorifics. She was an inspiring Mexican-American entertainer of the late 1980's and early 1990's before her tragic death. The name Selena more than quadrupled in popularity the year she died, skyrocketing to its peak at #91 on the top 1000. It's still very popular, and has a beautiful sound and meaning to match.

Are there other musicians you think should be honored? Tell me in the comments!

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