I mean, the band has been around for decades. And it’s an American band, after all. Surely a few American babies have been named Jovi over the years.
According to SSA data, there wasn’t much interest in the name Jovi in the early 1980s. Not too surprising, as Bon Jovi’s breakthrough album Slippery When Wet wasn’t released until August of 1986.
Right on cue, babies named Jovi began popping up in 1987:
1987: 29 babies named Jovi (9 girls, 20 boys)
1988: 25 babies named Jovi (11 girls, 14 boys)
1989: 19 babies named Jovi (6 girls, 13 boys)
1990: 18 babies named Jovi (5 girls, 13 boys)
1991: 22 babies named Jovi (5 girls, 17 boys)
1992: 12 babies named Jovi (5 girls, 7 boys)
1993: 8 babies named Jovi, at least (<5 girls, 8 boys)
1994: 7 babies named Jovi, at least (7 girls, <5 boys)
1995: 8 babies named Jovi, at least (<5 girls, 8 boys)
1996: 6 babies named Jovi, at least (6 girls, <5 boys)
Usage began to wane in the mid-1990s, even though Bon Jovi had some big hits during these years.
1997: 8 babies named Jovi, at least (<5 girls, 8 boys)
1998: 5 babies named Jovi, at least (5 girls, <5 boys)
1999: ? babies named Jovi (<5 girls, <5 boys)
2001: 10 babies named Jovi, at least (<5 girls, 10 boys)
2002: 5 babies named Jovi, at least (5 girls, <5 boys)
2003: 14 babies named Jovi (7 girls, 7 boys)
2004: 11 babies named Jovi, at least (11 girls, <5 boys)
In the mid-2000s, the name Jovi started picking up steam again.
2005: 26 babies named Jovi (17 girls, 9 boys)
2006: 44 babies named Jovi (33 girls, 11 boys)
2007: 51 babies named Jovi (38 girls, 13 boys)
2008: 60 babies named Jovi (46 girls, 14 boys)
2009: 71 babies named Jovi (58 girls, 13 boys)
Why is it more popular now than ever before? Here are some possible explanations.
First, Bon Jovi started releasing country-tinged material in 2006. They put out an entire country rock album, Lost Highway, in 2007. So perhaps country music fans had a lot to do with this increase.
Second, the kids and teens who listened to Bon Jovi in the 1980s would have started having kids of their own in the 1990s and 2000s. Maybe these lifelong fans are using the name now as a belated tribute.
Third, Jovi could be piggybacking on any of several baby-naming trends:
The unique name trend
The symbolic surname trend (Jagger, Emerson, Kennedy)
The ethnic name trend (Giovanni, which is related to Jovi/Giovi, is currently at an all-time high)
These trends may make Jovi sound appealing even to those who aren’t big Bon Jovi fans. (If those people even exist! I doubt it.)
Would you ever consider using the name Jovi for a baby? If so, would you use it as a boy name, a girl name, or would gender not matter?
P.S. Bon Jovi takes its name from the lead singer’s real-life Italian surname, Bongiovi.