How popular is the baby name Johnnie in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Johnnie and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Johnnie.
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Berry’s semi-autobiographical “Johnny B. Goode” was released on March 31, 1958 — sixty years ago tomorrow, coincidentally — and was the very first “rock song about the glory of being a rock star.”
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play the guitar just like a ringin’ a bell.
Here’s Chuck playing the song live:
In 1977, the song was considered culturally significant enough to be included on Voyager spacecraft’s golden phonograph record. A few years later, it was featured in a key scene in the film Back to the Future (1985).
So how did the character in the song come to have the name Johnny B. Goode?
The first name came from pianist and longtime Berry collaborator Johnnie Johnson (“one of the unsung heroes of rock and roll”). The surname came from Chuck Berry’s childhood address (2520 Goode Avenue in St. Louis).
The song “Johnny B. Goode” didn’t have an effect on the baby name Johnny, but then again it didn’t need to — the name was within the top 100 all the way from the early 1930s until the late 1970s.
So thank you to everyone who participated in the name-song tournament this year! If anyone has any fun ideas for a future name-related tournament (cartoon characters, weird place-names, etc.) please let me know.
I’m not sure exactly what criteria were used to create the rankings, but it looks like the top unisex names on this list were the top-1,000 names that “stuck around that 50-50 split” the longest from 1930 to 2012.
(In contrast, my unisex baby names page lists any name on the full list to fall within the 25-75 to 75-25 range, but only in the most recent year on record.)
The FlowingData post also mentions that, though the data is pretty noisy, there might be “a mild upward trend” over the years in the number of babies with a unisex name.
Arvid Huisman, columnist for Webster City’s Daily Freeman-Journal, recently wrote a piece called What’s in a name? Here’s an excerpt:
As a first grader I wanted to be named Johnnie or Bobbie or Billie or Tommie — just about anything except Arvid.
By the time I was a young adult I realized that a unique name can be an asset and I continue to believe that. Once people commit an uncommon name to memory they don’t soon forget and that’s a good thing in business.
He (now) appreciates his own name, but he isn’t a big fan of names that are “exceptionally strange.” As an example, he offers the name La-a:
Care to take a guess on how to pronounce that? I needed help with it. It is pronounced La-dash-ah. Get it? La(dash)a. Now that’s just plain stupid.