How popular is the baby name Al in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Al and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Al.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Al

Number of Babies Named Al

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Al

The Baby Name Avalon

Avalon, song, Al Jolson

Avalon began as a legendary Arthurian island. It was first mentioned in the early 12th century by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who may have derived the name from the Welsh word afal, meaning “apple.”

By the late 1800s, Avalon was seeing regular (if rare) usage as a baby name in the U.S., probably thanks to Lord Alfred Tennyson’s Idylls of the King — a series of Arthurian poems published from 1859 to 1885.

These poems also influenced real estate developer George Shatto to use the name “Avalon” for the Catalina Island resort town he was building in the late 1880s.

California’s Avalon became a popular vacation destination for the Hollywood film community during the early 1900s, and in 1920 the town (and the name) were featured in a song called “Avalon.” Here’s the chorus:

I found my love in Avalon
Beside the bay
I left my love in Avalon
And sailed away
I dream of her and Avalon
From dusk ’til dawn
And so I think I’ll travel on
To Avalon

Al Jolson’s rendition of “Avalon” became one of the top songs of 1921.

Not surprisingly, the baby name Avalon saw a spike in usage the same year:

  • 1923: 22 baby girls named Avalon
  • 1922: 23 baby girls named Avalon
  • 1921: 43 baby girls named Avalon
  • 1920: 11 baby girls named Avalon
  • 1919: unlisted

You can see a similar spike in the SSDI data:

  • 1923: 17 people with the first name Avalon
  • 1922: 17 people with the first name Avalon
  • 1921: 36 people with the first name Avalon
  • 1920: 10 people with the first name Avalon
  • 1919: 3 people with the first name Avalon

After the 1920s, the usage of Avalon as a baby name tapered off. In fact, the name wasn’t in the SSA data at all during the ’60s and ’70s.

But it popped up again in 1982. One influence could have been the 1982 Roxy Music album Avalon, which included a song of the same name. A slightly later influence was no doubt Marion Zimmer Bradley’s 1983 fantasy novel The Mists of Avalon. (The name of the lead character, Morgaine, debuted in the data in 1984.)

The usage of Avalon has been steadily rising ever since, though the name has yet to hit the top 1,000.

What do you think of the baby name Avalon?

P.S. One of the pre-1921 Avalons was a baby girl born in late 1903 to Mr. and Mrs. Goslin of Maryland. She was born aboard the Chesapeake Bay paddle steamer Avalon. Sadly, Avalon Goslin died of pneumonia in 1918 — just a few years before the song “Avalon” became famous.

Sources:

[Another top song from around this time was Dardanella.]


Where Did the Baby Name Toosdhi Come From?

Toosdhi from To Catch a ThiefThe baby name Toosdhi debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1969:

  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: 7 baby girls named Toosdhi
  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: 5 baby girls named Toosdhi [debut]
  • 1968: unlisted

Where did it come from?

It’s not a variant of Tuesdee, which happened to debut the same year.

Instead, Toosdhi is one of the dozens of baby names that debuted thanks to minor television characters (e.g. Ibe, Alethea).

In Toosdhi’s case, the character was featured on a single episode of the late ’60s TV show It Takes a Thief.

In “To Catch a Roaring Lion,” which first aired on the very last day of 1968, main character Alexander Mundy (played by Robert Wagner) is sent to the fictional African country of Zambutiko to recover a set of ancient scrolls. In Zambutiko, Mundy meets Toosdhi Mboto (played by Denise Nicholas). After introducing herself, Toosdhi spells out her unique name:

“I’m Toosdhi.”

“Well, this is the first time that Monday’s ever going to follow Tuesday.”

“As with your name, it’s spelled differently. T-o-o-s-d-h-i. Toosdhi Mboto. My identification.”

“I don’t think I can read this out here, the sun is so bright. Why don’t we go to some dark spot, with rum in it.”

“I will be your personal guide while you’re here, Mr. Mundy.”

“You can call me Al.”

The name made a second appearance on the national list in the early ’70s, likely because of reruns, but hasn’t been back since.

Source: It Takes a Thief – Season 2, Episode 12: To Catch a Roaring Lion – TV.com

The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament: Final Round

80s name-song tournament, final round

We’re down to the final 2 songs!

You can vote in the ultimate round of the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament from now until Saturday, but you can only pick one song this time, so choose wisely!

I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 6th.

Early ’80s Finalist: “Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners

  • “Come on Eileen” reached #1 on The Billboard Hot 100 in April, 1982.
  • In this tournament, “Come on Eileen” beat “Gloria,” “Jack and Diane,” “Rosanna” and “Valerie” in Round 1a and semi-finalists “Bette Davis Eyes,” “Billie Jean” and “Oh Sherrie” in Round 2.

Late ’80s Finalist: “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco

  • “Rock Me Amadeus” reached #1 on The Billboard Hot 100 in March, 1986.
  • In this tournament, “Rock Me Amadeus” beat “Sara,” “Oh Sheila,” “Nikita” and “Suzanne” in Round 1b and semi-finalists “You Can Call Me Al,” “Luka” and “Veronica” in Round 2.

Which of these songs should be crowned the Ultimate '80s Name-Song?

  • "Come on Eileen" (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners (60%, 12 Votes)
  • "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986) by Falco (40%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament: Round 2

80s name-song tournament, round 2

We’ve advanced to Round 2 in the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament!

In this round, we’ll narrow the pool down from 8 semifinalists to 2 finalists: one from the early ’80s, one from the late ’80s.

As usual, the round begins early Monday and ends early Saturday (so you have exactly 5 days to vote) and you can select up to 2 answers per poll.

Let the Round 2 battles begin!

The battles are over! Check below for the winners.

Battle 1

WINNER: “Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners

This battle will determine the name-song finalist representing the early ’80s (Round 1a). The contestants:

  • Bette Davis Eyes” (1981) by Kim Carnes
    • ‘Bette Davis’ refers to actress Bette Davis (1908-1989).
  • Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners
    • ‘Eileen’ refers to the first girlfriend of vocalist Kevin Rowland.
  • Billie Jean” (1983) by Michael Jackson
    • ‘Billie Jean’ refers to a real person, but in the song it’s symbolic of groupies in general.*
  • Oh Sherrie” (1984) by Steve Perry
    • ‘Sherrie’ refers to Sherrie Swafford, former girlfriend of Steve Perry.

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Come on Eileen" (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners (56%, 14 Votes)
  • "Billie Jean" (1983) by Michael Jackson (48%, 12 Votes)
  • "Bette Davis Eyes" (1981) by Kim Carnes (40%, 10 Votes)
  • "Oh Sherrie" (1984) by Steve Perry (12%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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Battle 2

WINNER: “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco

This battle will determine the name-song finalist representing the late ’80s (Round 1b). The contestants:

  • Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco
    • ‘Amadeus’ refers to composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).
  • You Can Call Me Al” (1986) by Paul Simon
    • ‘Al’ and ‘Betty’ are based on ‘Paul’ (Simon) and ‘Peggy’ (Simon’s first wife).
  • Luka” (1987) by Suzanne Vega
    • ‘Luka’ refers to a real person, but in the song it refers to a victim of child abuse.**
  • Veronica” (1989) by Elvis Costello
    • ‘Veronica’ refers to Costello’s grandmother (not sure if it’s her real name).

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986) by Falco (63%, 15 Votes)
  • "You Can Call Me Al" (1986) by Paul Simon (33%, 8 Votes)
  • "Luka" (1987) by Suzanne Vega (29%, 7 Votes)
  • "Veronica" (1989) by Elvis Costello (29%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Anyone care to guess which of the name-songs above will be crowned the winner in a couple of weeks?

*”Billie Jean is kind of anonymous. It represents a lot of girls. […] They would hang around backstage doors, and any band that would come to town they would have a relationship with, and I think I wrote this out of experience with my brothers when I was little. There were a lot of Billie Jeans out there.” -MJ, via MTV

**”Where did you get the name from?” “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.” -SV, via NYT

The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament: Round 1b

80s name-song tournament, round 1b

Round 1a is over, so now it’s time for Round 1b! Which of the songs below are awesome enough to advance in the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament?

This round ends on Saturday, so you have exactly 5 days to submit your answers.

The four winning songs from this week and last week will compete against each other in round 2, which starts next Monday.

Let the battles begin!

The battles are over! Check below for the winners.

Battle 5

WINNER: “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco

The contestants:

  • Sara” (1985) by Starship
    • Sara, Sara, storms are brewin’ in your eyes
  • Oh Sheila” (1985) by Ready for the World
    • Oh oh Sheila, let me love you till the morning comes
  • Nikita” (1986) by Elton John
    • Hey Nikita is it cold, in your little corner of the world
  • Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco
    • Come and rock me Amadeus
  • Suzanne” (1986) by Journey
    • Remember Suzanne, those summer nights with me

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986) by Falco (48%, 10 Votes)
  • "Sara" (1985) by Starship (29%, 6 Votes)
  • "Nikita" (1986) by Elton John (29%, 6 Votes)
  • "Oh Sheila" (1985) by Ready for the World (19%, 4 Votes)
  • "Suzanne" (1986) by Journey (19%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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Battle 6

WINNER: “You Can Call Me Al” (1986) by Paul Simon

The contestants:

  • Venus” (1986) by Bananarama
    • I’m your Venus, I’m your fire, at your desire
  • Jimmy Jimmy” (1986) by Madonna
    • Where you goin’ boy, I see your legs twitchin’, Jimmy Jimmy, oh Jimmy Jimmy
  • Who’s Johnny” (1986) by El DeBarge
    • Who’s Johnny, she said, and smiled in her special way
  • For Rosanna” (1986) by Chris de Burgh
    • This is for Rosanna, sweet girl of mine, a song for the baby who changed my life
  • You Can Call Me Al” (1986) by Paul Simon
    • I can call you Betty, and Betty when you call me, you can call me Al

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "You Can Call Me Al" (1986) by Paul Simon (55%, 12 Votes)
  • "Venus" (1986) by Bananarama (50%, 11 Votes)
  • "For Rosanna" (1986) by Chris de Burgh (18%, 4 Votes)
  • "Jimmy Jimmy" (1986) by Madonna (14%, 3 Votes)
  • "Who's Johnny" (1986) by El DeBarge (9%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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Battle 7

WINNER: “Luka” (1987) by Suzanne Vega

The contestants:

  • Amanda” (1986) by Boston
    • I’m gonna take you by surprise and make you realize, Amanda
  • Carrie” (1987) by Europe
    • Carrie, Carrie, things they change my friend
  • Luka” (1987) by Suzanne Vega
    • My name is Luka, I live on the second floor
  • Sheila Take a Bow” (1987) by The Smiths
    • Sheila take a, Sheila take a bow, boot the grime of this world in the crotch, dear
  • Dirty Diana” (1988) by Michael Jackson
    • Dirty Diana, let me be!

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Luka" (1987) by Suzanne Vega (57%, 12 Votes)
  • "Amanda" (1986) by Boston (29%, 6 Votes)
  • "Dirty Diana" (1988) by Michael Jackson (29%, 6 Votes)
  • "Carrie" (1987) by Europe (14%, 3 Votes)
  • "Sheila Take a Bow" (1987) by The Smiths (10%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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Battle 8

WINNER: “Veronica” (1989) by Elvis Costello

The contestants:

  • Lucretia, My Reflection” (1988) by The Sisters of Mercy
    • Lucretia, my reflection, dance the ghost with me
  • Roni” (1988) by Bobby Brown
    • The truth about Roni, she’s a sweet little girl
  • The Ballad of Jayne” (1989) by L.A. Guns
    • What a shame, what happened to Jayne
  • Veronica” (1989) by Elvis Costello
    • These days I’m afraid she’s not even sure if her name is Veronica
  • Angelia” (1989) by Richard Marx
    • Angelia, where you running to now

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Veronica" (1989) by Elvis Costello (67%, 12 Votes)
  • "Lucretia, My Reflection" (1988) by The Sisters of Mercy (28%, 5 Votes)
  • "Angelia" (1989) by Richard Marx (22%, 4 Votes)
  • "Roni" (1988) by Bobby Brown (6%, 1 Votes)
  • "The Ballad of Jayne" (1989) by L.A. Guns (6%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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If you’re having fun voting in this tournament, please spread the word by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thanks!