Baby Names Inspired by Prince

prince album controversy cover
Prince’s 1981 album Controversy

I recently read something about Prince and Apollonia, and it reminded me I hadn’t yet blogged about Prince and Apollonia. So here we go…

Prince

Prince — his real first name — was born in Minnesota in 1958. His full legal name is Prince Rogers Nelson. The “Prince Rogers” part comes from his father, who was a jazz musician with the stage name Prince Rogers (real name: John Nelson).

Prince’s albums started coming out in the late ’70s: For You (1978), Prince (1979), Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and so forth.

Did Prince’s musical career affect the usage of the baby name Prince?

Yes:

  • 1986: 150 baby boys named Prince
  • 1985: 195 baby boys named Prince
  • 1984: 206 baby boys named Prince
  • 1983: 167 baby boys named Prince
  • 1982: 137 baby boys named Prince
  • 1981: 146 baby boys named Prince
  • 1980: 131 baby boys named Prince
  • 1979: 92 baby boys named Prince
  • 1978: 73 baby boys named Prince
  • 1977: 59 baby boys named Prince
  • 1976: 65 baby boys named Prince

Usage of the name Prince, which had been relatively steady for decades, started to rise right away. It hit a high point in 1984, the year Purple Rain (both the album and the movie) came out. After that, usage declined. (Perhaps Prince had become a little too famous at that point?)

Vanity

In mid-1981, Prince put together an all-female R&B trio called Vanity 6 — named after lead singer Denise Katrina “Vanity” Matthews. The group put out their one and only album (the self-titled Vanity 6) in August of 1982.

prince, vanity, rolling stone, 1983
Prince & Vanity, RS cover, Apr. 1983

Vanity left the band in 1983 after just 2 years, but she continued putting out music as a solo artist during the ’80s.

So did Vanity influence the usage of the baby name Vanity?

Yes:

  • 1989: 102 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1988: 116 baby girls named Vanity [peak]
  • 1987: 89 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1986: 76 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1985: 103 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1984: 45 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1983: 56 baby girls named Vanity
  • 1982: 5 baby girls named Vanity [debut]
  • 1981: unlisted
  • 1980: unlisted

The name Vanity debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1982 and saw peak usage in 1988.

Apollonia

When Vanity left the band, Prince replaced her with (Patricia) Apollonia Kotero and changed the name of the trio from “Vanity 6” to “Apollonia 6.”

In 1984, not only did the group put out an album (the self-titled Apollonia 6), but Apollonia co-starred with Prince in the movie Purple Rain. (Her efforts earned her a Razzie nomination for “Worst New Star” of 1984.)

Did Apollonia influence the usage of the baby name Apollonia?

Yes:

  • 1987: 29 baby girls named Apollonia
  • 1986: 53 baby girls named Apollonia
  • 1985: 67 baby girls named Apollonia
  • 1984: 28 baby girls named Apollonia
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted

The name had charted a few times before, back in the early 1900s, but Prince’s protégé Apollonia put it back on the map in 1984. She also gave variants Apolonia and Appollonia a boost.

Camille

Did you know Prince had a female alter-ego named “Camille” for a time?

In fact, Camille was going to be the name of a 1986 album by his alter-ego Camille, but the project was scrapped. (The songs were going to be sung with altered vocals.)

If the album Camille had come out that year, though, what affect do you think it would have had on the trajectory of the baby name Camille?

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