Most Rock Star Names Are Trending Down, But Some Are Turning Around

When you think of the biggest names in rock ‘n roll, you’re thinkin’: Mick and Keith; John, Paul, George and Ringo; Patti, Stevie, Janis and Joan; Billy, Bobby, Buddy and Bruce. Most of these names were fairly popular in the 50s, which is when many of the original rock stars were born. So it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that most of the names have been out of fashion for years. Some, though, seem to be in the process of making a comeback.

What caught my eye while reading “The Influence of Rock ‘n Roll on Baby Names” by Tessa Boyce in  Arizona Daily Star’s were the popularity charts that accompanied all 30 of the rocker’s names. (You may want to check out the charts after reading this post.)

Most of the rock-star names were very popular in the ’50s. Some, like Jim, Janis and Gene started losing popularity in the late ’60s. Others, like Bonnie and Tina started losing popularity in the ’80s.

The only names on Tessa Boyce’s list whose charts don’t look like a major stock market crash are Stevie and Axl. Stevie is trending level; Axl is trending up.

Twelve of the names are still trending down in popularity: Paul, Keith, Bobby, Billy, Elvis, Tom, Tina, Gene, Patti, Cherie, Bob and Pat.

Eight of the names have had a recent bump in popularity after being out of favor for years: Suzi, Ringo, Bruce, Janis, Chuck, Joan,  Bonnie, and George. (William and Kate’s baby, prince George, seems to have given that name a nice bump.)

And seven of the names seem to be in the process of bottoming out after being out of favor for years: John, Robert, Kurt, Dave, Buddy, Mick  and Chrissie.

So, be careful when considering names on this list for naming your children. Most of the names have long ago lost their “rock-star magic.” And many of the names are associated with rockers whose personal lives may not provide the kind role models you want for your children.

That said, here is Boyce’s top-30 list of rockers’ names, with a description of the current trend, as reflected in the popularity chart for each name:

  1. John Lennon (bottoming?)
  2. Robert Plant (bottoming?)
  3. George Harrison (recent bump)
  4. Paul McCartney (trending down)
  5. Bruce Springsteen (recent bump)
  6. Keith Richards (trending down)
  7. Bobby Darin (trending down)
  8. Billy Joel (trending down)
  9. Axl Rose (trending up)
  10. Bonnie Tyler (recent bump)
  11. Stevie Nix (trending level)
  12. Elvis Presley (trending down)
  13. Joan Jett (recent bump)
  14. Kurt Cobain (bottoming?)
  15. Tina Turner (trending down)
  16. Dave Crohl (bottoming?)
  17. Tom Petty (trending down)
  18. Jim Morrison (bottoming?)
  19. Gene Simmons (trending down)
  20. Buddy Holly (bottoming?)
  21. Mick Jagger (bottoming?)
  22. Janis Joplin (recent bump)
  23. Patti LaBelle (trending down)
  24. Chuck Berry (recent bump)
  25. Cherie Curie (trending down)
  26. Ringo Starr (recent bump)
  27. Bob Dylan (trending down)
  28. Pat Benatar (trending down)
  29. Suzi Quatro (recent bump)
  30. Chrissie Hynde (bottoming?)




When I read Zooey Deschanel named her baby girl Elsie Otter, I laughed.

I haven’t written about silly celebrity baby names in a while. I was worried about sounding like a celebrity scold, because so many celebrities have chosen names likely to call attention to their children—and the attention those names receive is not necessarily positive. But when I noticed an article on Huffington Post about the name Zooey Deschanel and hubby Jacob Pechenik selected for their baby girl (Elsie Otter), I couldn’t resist commenting.

Elsie the cow has been among the most recognizable advertising cartoon-characters in the United States and Canada since 1936, when it was first used by Borden dairy products and then used by Eagle dairy products. To give you an idea about just how bovine (and unattactive) the name Elsie is, her cartoon mate was Elmer the Bull. Their children were named Beulah and Beauregard, followed by twins, Larabee and Lobelia. Although cartooon cows are unlikely to complain about those names, kids are likely to moo when their “cow names” are called.

I usually advise parents to select a middle name that will provide a realistic option for a child stuck with a first name he or she doesn’t like. (Celebrity children with names like Dweezil or Apple have been known to spend years praying for a “normal” middle name.) But Elsie’s parents selected Otter—perhaps thinking if she didn’t want to be perceived as a dumb cow, a weasel-like critter might be appreciated. Unfortunately, the  middle name they chose is likely to remind people of Eric “Otter” Stratton, the unscrupulous rush chairman for Delta House (fraternity) in the movie “Animal House” (played unctuously by Tim Matheson) who gave otters a bad name.

If Zooey and Jacob’s objective was to call attention to their daughter, they succeeded. Unfortunately for their baby girl.

But wait! There may be some readers who like silly names like Elsie Otter. If so, you might appreciate a quick lesson in making up similar names for your stand-up comedy routine or your sit com.

  1. Start with an old-fashioned cartoon name, like Barney (Rubble) or Homer Simpson  or Ronald (MacDonald)
  2. Add a totally unrelated animal name like baboon or hound dog or rhinoceros
  3. And voila! You have a new protagonist for your comic strip or humorous children’s book: Barney Baboon; Homer Hound Dog; and Ronald Rhinoceros.

What’s in a Name? Answers to 7 Questions.

I recently answered some baby naming questions for Alicia at Bottle Poppin’ Mama.  Check out her questions below and feel free to leave one of your own in the comments.

  • How do you conduct your research in compiling this list of names?
  • What are your most popular Boys & Girls Names predictions for 2016?
  • What do you think of the gender neutral naming phenomenon?
  • How influential are celebrities/pop culture when it comes to naming children?
  • Why do you think we are seeing a resurgence of more classical names?
  • How do parents rate the importance of a unique name/unique spelling?
  • What is a good approach to deciding on a name for a child when family members can’t agree?

To read my answers check out “What’s In A Name?” at Bottle Poppin’ Mama.


Is Summer Rain Rutler the Best Celebrity Baby Name of 2014?

While researching my post for the worst celebrity baby names of 2014, I was surprised to find Summer Rain Rutler on a worst celebrity baby names list posted by The more I thought about Summer Rain, the more I wondered “what’s not to like about that name?”–which caused me to reread the Vocative article to see what turned them off. Apparently it reminded them of “an outdated feminine hygiene product” called Summer’s Eve. But I doubt that thought will occur to most people.

More likely Summer Rain will remind you of a sudden drizzle or thunderstorm that invites you to grab a hat or an umbrella and  go outside for a walk in the rain–or possibly to sing and dance in the rain (like Gene Kelly in a Paris rainstorm). Frankly, I can’t imagine a more delightful (or romantic) thing to do on a warm summer day.

For me, Summer works well as a given name for girl. I can still picture Summer Sanders swimming to Olympic Gold in the 1972 Summer Olympics. Like Summer Sanders, Summer Rutler is a great-sounding name. Both words have a short “u” sound and an identical “er” ending. But when you add Rain as a middle name between Summer and Rutler, you have an amazingly euphonious name.

Leave it to singer/songwriter, Christine Aquilera to come up with an evocative name that is also music to one’s ears. (Readers of this post may recall one of my most popular posts about another euphonious name: “Kris Allen’s Baby’s Name is Music to My Ears.”)

So apart from bringing Olympian Summer Sanders and “Singin’ in the Rain” to mind Summer Rain Rutler is both poetic and euphonius. (Most baby names sound as though they were found in three different columns of a Chinese menu for first names, middle names and last names–that have little, if any, relationship to one another: like Philomena Bijou Jovanivic.)

I’m going to take Summer Rain Rutler off Vocative’s “Worst Celebrity Names of 2014” list and put it on my “Best Celebrity Names of 2014” list. (Truth to tell, I haven’t written a post with that title yet–but after reading Celebrity Baby Scoop’s complete list of 2014 celebrity baby names. I ain’t seen a better 2014 celebrity baby name, yet. Have you?)

10 Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014

While researching awful celebrity baby names for this post, I visited the Celebrity Baby Scoops list of 2014 Hollywood babies to make sure I had considered all the names being considered for Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014. (I found all but one of the names on that list.)

Here are my top-five candidates for worst celebrity baby names of 2014 (for both girls and boys):

5 Worst Celebrity Baby Girls’ Names:

Zhuri Nova James
Parents: NBA all-star Lebron James and his wife Savannah

Comment: Zhuri is a headscratcher and, to add insult to injury, it’s both hard to spell and pronounce. She should be grateful to have a spellable and pronounceable middle name (Nova) to fall back on.

Royal Reign Jones
Mother: rapper Li’l Kim

Comment: Royal Reign is a grandiose name that sounds like royal rain, whatever that is.

Cai MyAnna Dukes
Parents: actor Shanola Hampton and husband, producer Daren Dukes

Comment: Cai presents spelling and pronunciation problems—and MyAnna is another headscratcher.

Daenerys Josephine
Mother: American Idol contestant Gina Glocksen

Comment: Daenerys is name that will only be familiar to “Game of Thrones” fans. No one else is likely to be able to spell or pronounce it.

Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher
Parents: actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher

Comment: When parents give their child a unisex name it makes sense to pick a middle name with clear gender identification. But Wyatt is a “macho” name that was chosen by Chicago Bear’s quarterback Jay Cutler to give his son a name that works well in football huddles and frat parties. Why give a macho name to a baby girl and then pair it with an elegant, feminine name like Isabelle? It’s as though the parents couldn’t agree on a naming strategy. Unfortunately, it sends a confusing message to the child and to people the child meets.

5 Worst Celebrity Baby Boys’ Names

Future Zahir Wilburn
Parents: rapper Future and R&B singer Ciara

Comment: Future doesn’t sound much like a name. Actually, Future is the boy’s father’s stage name. (I’m not sure which is worse, his father’s stage name or his father’s real name: Nayvadius Cash.) To make matters worse, a cheating scandal caused a rift between the senior Future and Ciara. So as far as Ciara is concerned, Future (senior) is now the The Past.

Megaa Omari Grandberry
Parents: B2K singer Omarion and girlfriend Apryl Jones

Comment: Megaa is a grandiose name (meaning extra-large or super)–and the extra “a” makes it hard to spell and pronounce. Omari is Megaa’s father’s given first name. (FYI, Omarion’s whole given name is Omari Ishmael Grandberry).

Lyric Sonny Roads Goldberg
Parents: actress/writer/director Soleil Moon Frye and husband, producer Jason Goldberg

Comments: Another headscratcher. Lyric is an “arty” name that may not work well in the locker room. But Sonny couldn’t be more declasse. I know what sunny roads are, but what are sonny roads?

Saint Lazslo Wentz
Parents: rocker Pete Wentz and girlfriend Meagan Camper

Comment: Another grandiose name (Saint). It’s not clear whether the boy is named after St. Lazslo’s winery or the first king (Ladislaus–also known as St. Lazslo) of Hungary. Either way, wine or spirits might have been involved in the selection of the name. By the way, Pete Wentz also fathered a boy with Ashlee Simpson named Bronx Mowgli Wentz which is on many “worst name” lists.

Bodhi Rain Palmer
Parents: “Warm Bodies” star Teresa Palmer and husband Mark Webber

Bodhi Ransom Green
Parents: “Transformer”star Megan Fox and husband Austin Green

Comment: Bodhi means “enlightened one.” It’s a lovely meaning, but most people aren’t enlightened enough to know how to spell and pronounce the name.

P.S. I found a name on a’s “Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014” list that I think may be the single best celebrity baby name of 2014. Check it out.




Where Do the Fastest-Rising Boys’ and Girls’ Names Come From: 10 Celebrity and Media Backstories


I can’t think of a sillier way to name babies than selecting names associated with popular movies, TV shows and celebrities. Just think of the ridiculous names foisted on their children (and their fans) by these sources in the past. I’m referring to outrageous celebrity baby names like North West and Blue Ivy, movie & TV show characters’ names like Katniss (“Hunger Games”) and Daenerys (“Game of Thrones”), and reality TV show names like Khloé (“Keeping Up with the Kardashians”).

And yet every year the fastest-rising names reported by the Social Security Administration, on or around Mothers’ Day, are usually derived from just these sources. In fact, Laura Wattenberg has written: “Reality TV stars are the biggest source of new names today.” Let’s take a look at some of the fastest-rising boys’ and girls’ names to see precisely what inspired large numbers of parents to pick them in 2013:

Fast-Rising Boys’ Names

-Jayceon (2013: #206; 2012: #1,017)
Backstory: Jayceon is the given name of popular west-coast rapper, Jayceon Terrell Taylor. Taylor’s stage name is “The Game” or “Game.”

-Jase (2013: #89; 2012: #270)
Source: Jase is a fictional characters on “Duck Dynasty,” a popular reality TV show. In the show, Jase is Phil and Kay Robertson’s son. In the show, he’s the COO of Duck Commander, the family business–although Jase would rather hunt and fish than go to work. (Are you aware of the fact that “Duck Dynasty” patriarch, Phil Robertson, has revealed himself to be biased on both racial and gender issues?)

-Milan (2013: #484; 2012: #1,159)
Backstory: Milan is the name of Shakira’s baby boy. Shakira is a popular Columbian recording artist who is a singing coach on “The Voice,” a popular reality TV show.

-Castiel (2003: #956; 2002: #1374)
Backstory: Castiel is a fictional character portrayed by Misha Collins on “Supernatural,” a series presented by the CW TV Network. In the show, Castiel is an angel who introduces the theme of Christian theology.

-Kyrie (2003: 590; 2002: 868)
Backstory: Kyrie Irving briefly played college hoops at Duke and was the #1 draft pick in the 2011 NBA draft. He was named an all-star in 2013 and 2014–his first two seasons in the NBA.

Fast-Rising Girls’ Names:

-Daleyza (2013: #585; 2012: #3,769)
Backstory: Daleyza is one of singer Larry Hernandez’s daughters on “Larrymania,” a popular Spanish-language reality TV show.

-Everly (2013: #383; 2012: #907)
Backstory: Everly is movie star Channing (“21 Jump Street”) Tatum’s baby daughter. He also made a movie in 2012 called “Magic Mike,” that documented his 8-month “career” as a male stripper. (I suppose that would make Channing Tatum an “inspiring figure” to some people.)

-Sadie (2013: #50; 2012: #120).
Backstory: Sadie is a fictional character on “Duck Dynasty,” a popular realty TV show. In the show, she is Willie and Corrie Robertson’s daughter. (Are you aware of the fact that “Duck Dynasty” patriarch, Phil Robertson, has revealed himself to be biased on both racial and gender issues?)

-Kendra (2013: #187; 2012: #387)
Backstory: Kendra Wilkinson is the star of the eponymous reality TV show “Kendra.” She is also one of the stars of a reality TV show called “The Girls Next Door.” which documents her life in the Playboy mansion where she is one of Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends. (I suppose that would make her an “inspiring namesake” to some people.)

-Jurnee (2013: #896; 2012: #1467)
Backstory: Jurnee Smollett is an actress who played the role of Eve in the movie “Eve’s Bayou” and the role of Jess in the TV show “Friday Night Lights.” In  2013, she was seen on TV in these roles: Heather Hall on “Parenthood,” Nicole Wright on “True Blood,” and Ms. Young’s daughter on “Do No Harm.”

If you read my post about the fastest-rising boys’ and girls’ names, I focus on the “themes” or “clusters” that are rising together (rather than individual names that rely on a particular celebrity or TV show which is likely to disappear when the show tanks or the celebrity steps in doggy-doo, as Phil Robertson and Paula Deen did, quite recently. It’s no fun to be named after a TV show that was cancelled for good reason or a celebrity who developed an awful reputation after his or her name was written on your birth certificate.




Lil’ Kim Gives Her Brand New Lil’ Girl a Grandiose Name That Comes wth It’s Own Baby-Shower Theme: Royal Reign

Picking up on the royal theme that has produced grandiose celebrity baby names like Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson’s son) and Prince Michael (Michael Jackson’s son), Grammy winning rapper, Lil’ Kim, has given her Lil’ baby girl an alliterative name with a built-in royal baby-shower theme and a good chance to compete for win, place or show in the 2014 Worst Celebrity Baby Name competition. People disclosed that the father is “reportedly” a rapper named Mr. Papers.


Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler Pick Rapidly-Rising Name for Son, Jaxon Wyatt

When the 2012 Social Security Administration popularity data was published, one of fastest-rising tends I noticed was the use of the letter “x” to give boys’ names a macho vibe.

Now Kristin Cavallari and husband Chicago Bears QB, Jay Cutler, have named their second son Jaxon Wyatt–giving their baby boy a middle name that is ranked #6 on my latest “Cool Names for Boys” interactive list to go with the strong first name. Wyatt adds the image of “pistol-packin” sheriff Wyatt Earp to a given name that sports an macho “x” right smack dab in the middle.

When I wrote a post about the name (Camden) that Cavallari and Cutler picked for their first son, back in 2012, I published some of her baby naming advice—which she offered at the time. Her number one tip had to do with picking a name that sounds good when you put the first, middle and last names all together. How do you think Jaxon Wyatt Cutler sounds? Sounds pretty good to me. But a three-syllable middle name (like Jaxon Remington Cutler) would have given it a more interesting and impressive sound, in my opinion. Use the link above to check out Cavallari’s other baby-naming tips.

I want to thank Mark Konkol of WDNA Talk Radio in Chicago for tipping me off to this story. This is the article he sent me to call my attention to Jaxon Wyatt Cutler and get my top-of mind comments by phone.




“Why Do the Rich and Famous Give Their Children Such Ridiculous Names?” –Peaches Geldof

I want to thank David Kates for calling my attention to a quote from the late Peaches Geldof in a column she wrote discussing Apple, the name Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin selected for their daughter about ten years ago:

“Why do the rich and famous give their children such ridiculous names? Mine has haunted me all my life, and will continue to do so. I am named, as you may have noticed, after a fruit. I’m not Jane or Sarah or Samantha: I am Peaches.”

I’m always amazed to read celebrity birth announcements in People, Us and other entertainment (gossip) columns and blogs and like Nameberry which treat ridiculous baby names as though they are cute, charming or fashionable and portray the A-list celebrities who give ridiculous names to their children as brilliant trend-setters and visionaries.

I read David Kate’s “Dad-in-Training column all the way through and couldn’t figure out what his point of view was about baby-naming except that he seemed to think that picking a name was an important decision for parents to make. Now there’s a novel idea!

P.S. Just read a news item about Peaches Geldof which informed me that forensic investigators have turned up evidence that her recent death might have been caused by a heroin overdose. Sad, isn’t it?