Most popular baby names shared by famous musicians
The reasons behind popular taste in names can be difficult to pin down. A considerable amount of cultural tradition in the U.S. can be traced to Britain, where conventional names such as William, John, Anne, or Elizabeth harken back to a long history. Those names were in use by established, secure families and tended to be passed down. Then came the Industrial Revolution, with its social upheavals and increased literacy. Many people didn't limit themselves to naming children after their elders; they read books and encountered character names in novels by authors such as Charles Dickens. He's said to be responsible for the trend in floral names for girls in the Victorian era, like Flora, Daisy, and Rose. Today, parents have access to nearly every name ever given, via Google searches and baby name generators.
Stacker zeroed in on the overlap between popular baby names and famous musicians who were given those names. It may be interesting to contemplate whether parents were influenced to name their child after an admired musician or if there's any credence to the theory of nominative determinism. In other words, how much influence does the name a person is given affect what they become in life? Does being named Tommy make a boy more likely to be a drummer, or Mick more likely to produce a guitarist?
Stacker presents the top 50 most popular baby names shared by famous musicians using Behind the Name's list of notable musicians and the Social Security Administration's 2018 name popularity rankings. Ties were broken by the names' popularity or the number of babies given those names.
Take a look at the list and consider the origins and meaning of these 50 most popular names shared by famous musicians. It might be too late to turn your Adele away from her planned career in accounting, but if her middle name is "Billy," she might be a songwriter yet.
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- Name popularity rank in 2018: #124 (2,416 babies born)
- Name shared by: Kylie Minogue (1968-)
Pop singer and actress Kylie Minogue was born in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, to father Ron and mother Carol. While these details don't hint to the origin of her given name, it's likely that she's behind some of its recent popularity. Her recording career began in 1994 and has included dozens of awards and albums. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and public awareness of her treatment may have resulted in an uptick in mammograms in what Australian doctors referred to as the "Kylie effect."
- Name popularity rank in 2018: #122 (2,442 babies born)
- Name shared by: Faith Evans (1973-)
One of R&B's top stars in recent decades bears a given name that denotes a trait of unquestioning belief and confidence. A singer and record producer, Faith Evans's unmistakable voice has appeared on at least seven studio albums and 34 hit singles. She was signed with Bad Boy Records in 1994, putting her front and center during that decade's East Coast/West Coast hip-hop culture conflicts.
- Name popularity rank in 2018: #121 (2,478 babies born)
- Name shared by: Taylor Swift (1989-)
Taylor is an occupational name derived from the word of someone who makes clothes. Today, the name is given to both boys and girls. Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has crafted a music empire, starting with country tunes and moving into pop. In 2012 she established the Taylor Swift Education Center at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville as a way to help other young performers.
- Name popularity rank in 2018: #118 (3,327 babies born)
- Name shared by: Cole Porter (1891-1964)
This musician and composer was born in Peru, Indiana, in 1891. His given name comes from the surname of his grandfather, James Omar Cole. The name wasn't the only gift from that relative; it was because of Grandpa Cole's wealth that young Cole Porter was able to study music, chiefly violin and piano. Music wasn't what the elder Cole had in mind for his grandson, whom he sent to Harvard to study law. Cole Porter continued to study music, however, in spite of the best-laid plans of his elder.
- Name popularity rank in 2018: #116 (3,351 babies born)
- Name shared by: Nathaniel Gow (1763-1831)
You won't find Nathaniel Gow on Spotify anytime soon. That's because this violinist and composer was born in 1763, significantly before the days of recorded music, not to mention streaming services. But he was the 18th-century Scottish equivalent of a rock star in his day, playing in every imaginable type of band for every type of occasion. Hundreds of his written compositions remain accessible to us today in collections and various manuscripts.
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- Name popularity rank in 2018: #103 (2,877 babies born)
- Name shared by: Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
The name Clara may have been especially popular in the late 19th century due to the fame of Clara Wieck Schumann. She began playing the piano at age five and was instructed by her father. She began public performances at age 13 and began composing music as well as teaching piano. In 1840, she married composer Robert Schumann and often performed his music on the concert stage to earn money for the couple and their eight children.
- Name popularity rank in 2018: #101 (3,792 babies born)
- Name shared by: Declan Bennett (1981-)
This spelling is an Anglicized form of an Irish name, which was that of a sixth-century saint. But we're concerned with Declan William Bennett, born in Warwickshire, England, in 1981. He's primarily known as a singer-songwriter and an actor that got his start singing on a British daytime TV show and later joined the boy band Point Break.
- Name popularity rank in 2018: #100 (3,847 babies born)
- Name shared by: Jason Mizell (1965-2002)
The name we know in English as Jason comes from Latin and Greek, and means "healer." The given name of the hip hop artist known as Jam Master Jay was Jason. The Queens, New York, native died there in 2002, the victim of a homicide. He'd been a multi-instrumentalist and the DJ for Run-DMC before his death. Now two of his sons perform with that group on occasion.
- Name popularity rank in 2018: #98 (3,964 babies born)
- Name shared by: Miles Davis (1926-1991)
It is hard to know if this trumpet player and musical innovator influenced name choices for parents during and immediately following the height of his fame, or even up to today. This artist's musical styles evolved over the decades he was active, reaching audiences from jazz to funk to blues to jazz fusion and many styles on the margins.
- Name popularity rank in 2018: #88 (4,298 babies born)
- Name shared by: Xavier Naidoo (1971-)
The name Xavier was once a common Spanish surname, referencing a location in the Basque region of Spain. That place was named in honor of St. Francis Xavier (1506–52) patron saint of missionaries in foreign lands. Xavier Naidoo was born in Germany. He is an R&B singer, often performing in his native language, although he sometimes collaborates with American groups such as the Wu-Tang Clan.
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