Groovy baby names that rocked the 1970s
Think about the last time you met a Pamela, a Shannon, or someone who introduced themselves as “Shad.” Were they between 40 and 50 years old? That’s no coincidence. While these names may have fallen out of the mainstream for newborns, they were some of the most popular names in the 1970s. You couldn’t scroll through a homeroom attendance sheet at a school without coming across at least a few of these names.
So why were so many parents drawn to a few popular names during this groovy decade? The answers vary from name to name but make total sense when you consider the context of the era.
Radios blaring the melodies Fleetwood Mac may have inspired parents to name their daughters after the band’s keyboardist, Christine McVie, while Bob Dylan’s hits certainly put a spotlight on the name “Dylan.” Fans of Corey Baker on the late 1960s to early 1970s sitcom “Julia” might have been compelled to put Corey (or the other popular variation, Kory) on their son’s birth certificates. People who came of age during the peace-and-love counterculture revolution may have been attracted to nature-inspired baby names, like Crystal, April, Heather, or Micah. Other newborns of the 1970s may have gotten their names from some of the biggest stars of the decade, like Jamey Sheridan, Ricky Nelson, Julie Andrews, and Carrie Fisher.
Names can tell the story of a generation. To learn more about the culture of the 1970s, Stacker took a look at data from the Social Security Administration Baby Names Database from 2018 to uncover the decades top 50 names for boys and girls. The wonks also checked out each name’s current rank to see if it’s stayed trendy—or has gone the way of bell-bottoms.
Read on to find out which names topped the charts in the 1970s, and see if yours is among the favorites.
You may also like: 50 ways America is projected to change by 2050
#50. Sara (girl)
- Average annual births in the 1970s: 5,696 (peaking in 1978)
- Rank in 2018: #172 (1,692 babies born)
From Greek and Spanish to Serbian, Polish, and Icelandic, cultures from around the world count Sara (and its many spelling variations) as one of their most common names. A variant of the name Sarah dates back to the Old Testament as the name for Abraham’s wife, the “matriarch of the Jewish people,” according to Behind the Name.
#50. Jamison (boy)
- Average annual births in the 1970s: 244 (peaking in 1973)
- Rank in 2018: #447 (669 babies born)
Jamison means “son of James,” a name given to six American presidents, five British prime ministers, and countless celebrities. The name Jamison became mainstream starting in the late 1960s and has recently seen a revival in usage.
#49. Tonya (girl)
- Average annual births in the 1970s: 5,779 (peaking in 1972)
- Rank in 2018: #5,423 (23 babies born)
A diminutive of the name Antonia, Tonya was the 37th most popular name in the United States to babies born in the years 1972 and 1974. Tonya Harding competed to become the third Olympic medalist with this name in the 1994 Olympics, but the controversial skater finished in eighth place after becoming embroiled in a scandal to assault rival Nancy Kerrigan.
#49. Robby (boy)
- Average annual births in the 1970s: 247 (peaking in 1971)
- Rank in 2018: #4,337 (23 babies born)
Robby is a common nickname for Robert, a name that derives from a German word for “bright fame.” Robby ranked as a popular baby name in the early and mid-1960s before seeing a revival in the early 1970s.
#48. Pamela (girl)
- Average annual births in the 1970s: 5,805 (peaking in 1970)
- Rank in 2018: #1,579 (135 babies born)
Sir Philip Sidney is credited with creating the name Pamela, meaning “all sweetness,” in his poem “Arcadia” in the late 16th century. It would be another 400 years or so until the name would become popular. Among the famous people with this name is actress and model Pamela Anderson.
You may also like: 100 iconic photos that capture 100 years of world history
#48. Demond (boy)
- Average annual births in the 1970s: 249 (peaking in 1974)
- Rank in 2018: #3,154 (36 babies born)
According to the Social Security Administration, Demond only ranked in the top 1,000 most popular names from 1972 to 1983. A famous Demond includes "Sanford and Son" actor Demond Wilson.
#47. Stacey (girl)
- Average annual births in the 1970s: 5,922 (peaking in 1971)
- Rank in 2018: #2,369 (76 babies born)
Stacey is an alternative spelling for Stacy, which is derived from the medieval male name Eustace. The name started growing in popularity for girls in the 1950s. It has fallen out of the top 1,000 most popular names since 2006.
#47. Kory (boy)
- Average annual births in the 1970s: 253 (peaking in 1977)
- Rank in 2018: #2,567 (49 babies born)
A number of parents were inspired to name their baby Corey in the 1960s after the character Corey Baker in the 1960s sitcom “Julia.” Potentially in effort to differentiate their babies from ones born in the previous decade, many parents in the 1970s put the variation “Kory” on their baby’s birth certificates. The name Kory continued to rise in popularity over the next two decades, peaking in 1989.
#46. Danielle (girl)
#46. Shad (boy)
- Average annual births in the 1970s: 258 (peaking in 1971)
- Rank in 2018: #5,484 (16 babies born)
The meaning behind the name Shad has roots in the Arabic word for “happy.” In English, Shad may also be a variation of the name Chad, the name given to an English saint from the 7th century.
You may also like: Origins of the 50 most popular dog breeds2018 All rights reserved.