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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Fame


Posts that Mention the Name Fame

Interesting One-Hit Wonder Baby Names

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more. (Names that aren’t links yet have posts coming soon!)

1890s

1900s

  • (none yet)

1910s

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

2020s

  • (none yet)

As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. If this content looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before! I’ve just put it in a new spot. :)

Where did the baby name Devy come from?

Devy Barnett, Ted Mack, television, 1960
Devy on ‘The Original Amateur Hour‘ in May, 1960

The baby name Devy popped up in the SSA’s data a single time, in 1960. But it wasn’t just any old one-hit wonder — it was the top one-hit wonder of 1960. In fact, Devy was one of the top one-hit wonders of all time, with over two dozen baby girls being named Devy that year:

  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 27 baby girls named Devy [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted

So where did it come from?

A soprano named Devy Barnett who performed on the TV talent competition Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour at least once, on May 16, 1960. (She may have appeared on other episodes that year as well, I’m not sure.)

I don’t have much information on Devy. She was a music student at Rutgers in the early ’50s, she put out her first recording (Songs of Charles Ives, released by Stereo Age) in 1958, and in the ’80s she was a member of the studio music faculty at Cal State. She married at least twice, and had several children.

But she never achieved fame. Apparently not many Amateur Hour contestants did, with a few notable exceptions: Gladys Knight, Pat Boone, Ann-Margret, Tanya Tucker, and Irene Cara (see the posts on Fame and Sparkle for more on Irene).

The name Devy reminds me of the name Eydie in that both names were put on the onomastic map by young singers making television appearances. (Coincidentally, Eydie was also given to exactly 27 baby girls in 1960.)

What are your thoughts on the name Devy? Do you like it?

What turned Fame into a baby name?

Fame (1980) movie poster

The movie Fame, released In May of 1980, followed a group of teenagers attending a performing arts high school in New York City.

The movie was a success, but its theme song was even more of a success.

“Fame” the song — performed by one of the film’s young stars, Irene Cara (who played Coco Hernandez) — reached #1 on Billboard‘s Disco Action chart in August and #4 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in September. It even ended up winning the Oscar for Best Original Song.

And in 1981, for the first and only time, the unlikely name Fame made an appearance in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted
  • 1981: 7 baby girls named Fame [debut]
  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: unlisted

(In the song, Cara sings the lyrics “remember my name” multiple times…could this line have acted as a subtle name-prompt to listeners?)

Neither Fame the TV show (1982-1987) nor Fame the movie remake (2009) managed to revive the baby name Fame after 1981.

Here’s Cara lip-syncing to “Fame” in New York City in 1982:

What do you think of Fame as a name?

Source: Academy Award for Best Original Song – Wikipedia