In 1987, Luka — traditionally a male name — was suddenly given to more baby girls than baby boys.
That was the year Suzanne Vega’s song “Luka” [vid] was all over the radio. In August, it reached #3 on both the Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts.*
The song is sung from the perspective of a young abuse victim — a boy named Luka. When Vega’s then-manager asked her where she got the name, she answered:
A 9-year-old boy who lives in my building. Who is not abused, by the way. I like the name Luka, it’s universal. It could be a girl or boy and it could be any nationality.
Expectant parents apparently agreed that it worked for girls as well as boys, because 11 baby girls were named Luka that year:
- 1990: 10 baby boys named Luka
- 1989: 9 baby boys named Luka
- 1988: 8 baby boys and 8 baby girls named Luka
- 1987: 8 baby boys and 11 baby girls named Luka [debut]
- 1986: unlisted
- 1985: unlisted
- 1984: 7 baby boys named Luka
- 1983: 6 baby boys named Luka
Luka is a lot more popular today than it was in the ’80s — particularly for boys. In 2010, 314 baby boys and 18 baby girls were named Luka.
*On the Hot 100, “Luka” was below Madonna’s “Who’s That Girl” and Los Lobos’s “La Bamba.” On the Adult Contemporary chart, it was below Steve Winwood’s “Back In The Highlife Again” and and Heart’s “Alone.”