How popular is the baby name Johnny 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 Johnny.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Johnny


Posts that Mention the Name Johnny

The Revitalization of Laura

Laura movie poster, 1940s

In the early 1880s, Laura was a top-20 name in the United States. From the mid-1880s onward, though, the name slowly sank in popularity. It even slipped out of the top 100 for a decade. But then, in 1945, Laura suddenly changed directions and started rising:

  • 1947: 5,051 baby girls named Laura [rank: 74th]
  • 1946: 4,478 baby girls named Laura [rank: 75th]
  • 1945: 3,589 baby girls named Laura [rank: 77th]
  • 1944: 2,243 baby girls named Laura [rank: 119th]
  • 1943: 2,391 baby girls named Laura [rank: 117th]
  • 1942: 2,409 baby girls named Laura [rank: 115th]

What happened in the mid-1940s to change the fate of Laura?

The one-two punch of the 1944 film noir Laura and — probably more importantly — the 1945 hit song “Laura,” which was created from the film’s theme song.

The movie starred Gene Tierney as the title character, Laura Hunt, who was believed to have been murdered for most of the film. The police detective looking into the murder, Mark McPherson (played by Dana Andrews), slowly became obsessed with Laura over the course of the investigation.

The film’s theme song, composed by David Raksin, lent “a haunted, nostalgic, regretful cast to everything it play[ed] under,” according to Roger Ebert. Here’s what it sounds like:

After the film was released, lyricist Johnny Mercer was asked to add words to the tune. His lyrics described Laura “through a series of elusive attributes: a face in the misty light, footsteps down the hall, a floating laugh, and as a woman on a passing train.”

Once there were words, various singers began recording and releasing their own versions of “Laura.” Five of these renditions reached top-10 status on the pop charts during 1945; the one sung by Woodrow “Woody” Herman (below) ended up selling more than a million copies.

The song has since become a jazz standard.

Fifteen years later, in the summer of 1960, the teenage tragedy song “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ray Peterson reached #7 on Billboard‘s Hot 100. This second Laura-song gave the name an extra boost from 1959 to 1960.

And did you notice that intriguing dip in usage from 1965 to 1967? There’s a reason for that, too, but I’ll save the explanation for tomorrow’s post

Sources: Laura (1944) – TCM.com, Laura (1945) – Jazz Standards, Laura (1945 song) – Wikipedia, Laura movie review – Roger Ebert, Tell Laura I Love Her – Songfacts.com

Name Quotes 84: Al, Gene, Sonatine

Welcome to the monthly quote post! There are a lot of celebrities in this one, so let’s start with…

Actor Emilio Estevez — who pronounces his surname ESS-teh-vez, instead of the Spanish way, ess-TEH-vezdiscussing his name [vid] on Talk Soup with Nessa in 2019:

So I was born on 203rd Street in South Bronx. And, at the time, my father had this very Hispanic-sounding last name. […] A lot people, a lot of these agents, and folks said, if you wanna work in this business, you gotta have a more Anglo-sounding name. Of course times have changed, but there was that moment where he was finally on Broadway — 1965, ’66 — and his father came from Dayton (he was from Spain, of course) and looked up on the marquee, and saw the three names that were starring in the play, and one of them was “Martin Sheen” and not his real name, Ramón Estévez. And my grandfather just looked up, and he just shook his head, and he was so disappointed. And my father saw that. And so when I began to get into this business, we had that conversation. And he said, don’t make the same mistake I did.

…A few sentences later, Estevez added:

I can’t tell you how many people have stopped me on the street and said, you know, just seeing your name on a poster, just seeing your name on screen, meant so much to me, you have no idea.

(Martin Sheen’s stage name was created from the names of CBS casting director Robert Dale Martin and televangelist archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.)

Singer Billy Idol, born William Broad, discussing his stage name [vid] with Karyn Hay on the New Zealand TV show Radio with Pictures in 1984:

Q: Why did you choose the name Billy Idol, especially in a time when [there’s] Johnny Rotten, Ret Scabies, you know?

A: Exactly, I mean that’s the point. That’s exactly the point. […] I thought, first of all, of course, of I-D-L-E, you know, idle. Cause this chemistry teacher when I was at school — I got 8 out of 100 for chemistry, I hated chemistry — so he wrote, “William is idle,” right? And I thought that was great to get 8 out of 10 [sic] for chemistry, cause I hated the hell out of it. So I thought that was respectable, so I thought it was worthwhile being called I-D-O-L, idol. Also, it’s good fun making fun of show business. I’m not into show business, I’m into rock ‘n’ roll.

Composer Bear McCreary’s baby name announcement from mid-2014:

Raya and I are proud to announce our greatest collaboration is finally here. 

Sonatine Yarbrough McCreary was born 6/2/14 and is filling our lives with joy, music… and poop.

(The musical term sonatina means “small sonata” in Italian. A sonata refers to a piece that is played — as opposed to a cantata, a piece that is sung.)

From an article about Amy Schumer legally changing her son’s name:

The I Feel Pretty star revealed her decision to change her 11-month-old son’s name on the newest episode of her podcast 3 Girls, 1 Keith on Tuesday. Schumer and her husband Chris Fischer named their first child Gene Attell Fischer, born May 5, with his middle name serving as a tribute to their good friend comic Dave Attell.

“Do you guys know that Gene, our baby’s name, is officially changed? It’s now Gene David Fischer. It was Gene Attell Fischer, but we realized that we, by accident, named our son ‘genital,'” Schumer told cohosts Rachel Feinstein, Bridget Everett, and Keith Robinson.

…More to the point, from Amy’s Instagram:

Oh, like you never named your kid Genital fissure!!!!!!!

Three quotes from a fantastic article in the NYT about Weird Al Yankovic (discovered via Nancy Friedman).

…On his Alfred-ness:

Although Alfred’s grades were perfect, and he could solve any math problem you threw at him, his social life was agonizing. Imagine every nerd cliche: He was scrawny, pale, unathletic, nearsighted, awkward with girls — and his name was Alfred. And that’s all before you even factor in the accordion.

…On how his surname turned him into an accordion player:

[The accordion] came from a door-to-door salesman. The man was offering the gift of music, and he gave the Yankovics a simple choice: accordion or guitar. This was 1966, the golden age of rock, the year of the Beatles’ “Revolver” and the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” and Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde.” A guitar was like a magic amulet spraying sexual psychedelic magic all over the world. So Yankovic’s mother chose the accordion. This was at least partly because of coincidence: Frankie Yankovic, a world-famous polka player, happened to share the family’s last name. No relation. Just a wonderful coincidence that would help to define Alfred’s entire life.

…On his Alfred-ness again:

The nickname “Weird Al” started as an insult. It happened during his first year of college. This was a fresh start for Alfred — a chance to reinvent himself for a whole new set of people. He had no reputation to live down, no epic humiliations. And so he decided to implement a rebrand: He introduced himself to everyone not as Alfred but as “Al.” Alfred sounded like the kind of kid who might invent his own math problems for fun. Al sounded like the opposite of that: a guy who would hang out with the dudes, eating pizza, casually noodling on an electric guitar, tossing off jokes so unexpectedly hilarious they would send streams of light beer rocketing out of everyone’s noses.

The problem was that, even at college, even under the alias of Al, Yankovic was still himself. He was still, fundamentally, an Alfred.

Comedian Kevin Hart on choosing baby names:

I wish I could say that I am the main guru, [but] I am awful when it comes to the names. That is not my expertise. […] I say the same thing every time. It’s either Kevin or Kevina. I got two names. That’s it. So if you never go with either one of those then I’m no good to you.

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

The Names of Nat King Cole’s Kids

Casey & Timolin Cole in 1963
Casey & Timolin Cole in 1963 © Ebony

Jazz pianist and singer Nat King Cole (1919-1965) was born Nathaniel Adams Coles. He dropped the “s” from his surname early on, and acquired the “King” after forming a trio called the King Cole Trio (originally the King Cole Swingsters), which was a reference to “Old King Cole” from the nursery rhyme.

Maria, his second wife, originally went by Marie. She changed the name to Maria after she married Cole because, as she said, “[i]t sounded more lyrical.”

The two of them raised five children together:

  • Carole, nicknamed “Cookie” (adopted)
  • Natalie, nicknamed “Sweetie”
  • Nat Kelly (adopted)
  • Casey
  • Timolin

Nat, the only boy, was given the middle name Kelly in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, which was his father’s birthday.

Casey Eugenia and Timolin Elizabeth were identical twin girls born in September of 1961. (I mentioned them in the celebrity baby name debuts post.) Their middle names came from two of Maria’s sisters. Casey’s first name was inspired by Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel, the manager of the New York Yankees throughout the ’50s. Timolin’s first name was inspired by the youngest daughter of lyricist Johnny Burke*, whose song “Swinging on a Star” won an Oscar in the ’40s.

[*Burke’s four children were Reagan, Rory, Kevin, and Timolin. Reagan and Rory were female twins born in 1941 — long before the names Reagan and Rory were regularly given to baby girls. And Timolin, born in 1954, was very likely named after the Irish village of Timolin.]

Sources:

  • Grudens, Richard. The Music Men: The Guys who Sang with the Bands and Beyond. Stony Brook, NY: Celebrity Profiles Publishing, 1998.
  • The Nat King Cole Twins.” Ebony Aug. 1963: 106-114.

Numerology & Baby Names: Number 5

baby names that add up to 5, numerologically

Here are hundreds of baby names that have a numerological value of “5.”

I’ve sub-categorized them by overall totals, because I think that some of the intermediate numbers could have special significance to people as well.

Within each group, I’ve listed up to ten of the most popular “5” names per gender (according to the current U.S. rankings).

Beneath all the names are some ways you could interpret the numerological value of “5,” including descriptions from two different numerological systems.

5 via 14

The following baby names add up to 14, which reduces to five (1+4=5).

  • “14” girl names: Ida, Adah, Caia, Becca, Dia, Adi, Abbi, Ala, Edda, Kc
  • “14” boy names: Ahad, Adi, Kc, Dj, Dade, Jd, Jac, Bach, Dee, Acai

5 via 23

The following baby names add up to 23, which reduces to five (2+3=5).

  • “23” girl names: Mia, Alia, Cara, Aila, Adela, Addie, Edie, Laia, Jaci, Mai
  • “23” boy names: Caleb, Adem, Acen, Coda, Han, Adael, Cane, Emad, Mj, Aadhi

5 via 32

The following baby names add up to 32, which reduces to five (3+2=5).

  • “32” girl names: Emma, Bella, Lena, Sage, Eve, Avah, Lara, Rhea, Veda, Giana
  • “32” boy names: Leo, Lane, Reed, Sage, Dash, Aldo, Avi, Leif, Jakai, Elan

5 via 41

The following baby names add up to 41, which reduces to five (4+1=5).

  • “41” girl names: Amelia, Abigail, Isla, Amaya, Adelaide, Evie, Mira, Jayda, Dream, Saige
  • “41” boy names: Amir, King, Nico, Elian, Alijah, Duke, Clay, Kye, Madden, Jadiel

5 via 50

The following baby names add up to 50, which reduces to five (5+0=5).

  • “50” girl names: Sofia, Adeline, Lyla, Kayla, Elise, Mariah, June, Elsie, Haven, Lexi
  • “50” boy names: Ezra, Paul, Colt, Brady, Marco, Frank, Kasen, Drew, Landen, Donald

5 via 59

The following baby names add up to 59, which reduces to five (5+9=14; 1+4=5).

  • “59” girl names: Kaylee, Melanie, Brianna, Briella, Kendall, Makenna, Carly, Renata, Janelle, Lillie
  • “59” boy names: Jayden, Jason, Ismael, Zaiden, Bowen, Jonas, Mohamed, Rayan, Zaire, Kellen

5 via 68

The following baby names add up to 68, which reduces to five (6+8=14; 1+4=5).

  • “68” girl names: Olivia, Sophia, Valeria, Juliana, Morgan, Blakely, Izabella, Madeleine, Cataleya, Kaydence
  • “68” boy names: Benjamin, Brandon, Carlos, Kyrie, Zander, Killian, Ricardo, Eduardo, Cruz, Derrick

5 via 77

The following baby names add up to 77, which reduces to five (7+7=14; 1+4=5).

  • “77” girl names: Caroline, Samantha, Vivian, Alyssa, Molly, Juliet, Harlow, Kelsey, Coraline, Braelyn
  • “77” boy names: Jameson, Ryker, Ashton, Kenneth, Kameron, Fernando, Braylen, Scott, Marvin, Fletcher

5 via 86

The following baby names add up to 86, which reduces to five (8+6=14; 1+4=5).

  • “86” girl names: Skylar, Jordyn, Mckenzie, Paisleigh, Hunter, Saoirse, Alyson, Ellison, Bryleigh, Julianne
  • “86” boy names: Hunter, Santiago, Arthur, Johnny, Cyrus, Rodrigo, Tommy, Terry, Skylar, Jordyn

5 via 95

The following baby names add up to 95, which reduces to five (9+5=14; 1+4=5).

  • “95” girl names: Kinsley, Peyton, Kimberly, Bristol, Promise, Joslyn, Rowyn, Brynnlee, Yvonne, Estefany
  • “95” boy names: Everett, Peyton, Gregory, Huxley, Wesson, Viktor, Abdulrahman, Yousif, Hussein, Summit

5 via 104

The following baby names add up to 104, which reduces to five (1+0+4=5).

  • “104” girl names: Yaretzi, Tinsley, Rosalyn, Whitney, Sterling, Violetta, Emmylou, Huntleigh, Jesslyn, Giulietta
  • “104” boy names: Sterling, Marcellus, Quintin, Braxtyn, Truett, Shaquille, Michelangelo, Sebastion, Trevyn, Weylyn

5 via 113

The following baby names add up to 113, which reduces to five (1+1+3=5).

  • “113” girl names: Roselyne, Primrose, Brittney, Constanza, Sumayyah, Emersynn, Tziporah, Ivyrose, Augustina, Anavictoria
  • “113” boy names: Salvatore, Cristofer, Woodrow, Bryston, Alexandros, Jaxstyn, Greysyn, Athanasius, Braxston, Antonius

5 via 122

The following baby names add up to 122, which reduces to five (1+2+2=5).

  • “122” girl names: Roselynn, Zerenity, Krislynn, Rosslyn, Chrislynn, Scotlynn, Jacquelynn, Marylynn, Kaytlynn, Sincerity
  • “122” boy names: Chukwuemeka, Righteous, Dimitrius, Ebubechukwu, Xzayvian, Antavious, Kenechukwu, Ayomiposi, Joanthony, Stetsyn

5 via 131

The following baby names add up to 131, which reduces to five (1+3+1=5).

  • “131” girl names: Brookelynn, Brooklynne, Monserrath, Kerrington, Roosevelt, Temiloluwa, Oluwaseun, Amythyst
  • “131” boy names: Cristopher, Roosevelt, Wellington, Hutchinson, Maximillion, Tryston, Imisioluwa, Christoper, Temiloluwa

5 via 140

The following baby names add up to 140, which reduces to five (1+4+0=5).

  • “140” girl names: Marymargaret, Summerlyn, Marycatherine, Evelynrose, Maryevelyn, Quinnlynn, Testimony, Violetrose
  • “140” boy names: Dontavious, Markanthony, Fitzwilliam, Prometheus

5 via 149

The boy name Montavious adds up to 149, which reduces to five (1+4+9=14; 1+4=5).

What Does “5” Mean?

First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “5” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “5” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.

Numerological Attributes

“5” (the pentad) according to the Pythagoreans:

  • “They called the pentad ‘lack of strife,’ not only because aether, the fifth element, which is set apart on its own, remains unchanging, while there is strife and change among the things under it, from the moon to the Earth, but also because the primary two different and dissimilar kinds of number, even and odd, are as it were reconciled and knitted together by the pentad”
  • “The pentad is the first number to encompass the specific identity of all number[s], since it encompasses 2, the first even number, and 3, the first odd number. Hence it is called ‘marriage,’ since it is formed of male and female.”
  • “The pentad is highly expressive of justice, and justice comprehends all the other virtues […] it is a kind of justice, on the analogy of a weighing instrument.” (i.e., It is the central number in the row of numbers from 1 to 9.)
  • “Because it levels out inequality, they call it ‘Providence’ and ‘justice’ (division, as it were) […] Likewise, it is called ‘nuptial’ and ‘androgyny’ and ‘demigod’ – the latter not only because it is half of ten, which is divine, but also because in its special diagram it is assigned the central place. And it is called ‘twin’ because it divides in two the decad, which is otherwise indivisible […] and ‘heart-like’ because of the analogy of the heart being assigned the center in living creatures.”
  • “Nature separated each of the extremities of our bodily part (I mean, the extremities of our feet and hands) in a five-fold way, into fingers and toes.”

“5” according to Edgar Cayce:

  • “Five – a change imminent, ever, in the activities of whatever influence with which it may be associated” (reading 261-14).
  • “Five – as seen, a change” (reading 5751-1).
  • “Five always active – and double the two, and one – or three and two, which it is the sum of. Hence, as is questioned here, no factor is more active than would be that of a five…in any activity. Five being the active number” (reading 137-119).
Personal/Cultural Significance

Does “5” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 23, 50, 77, 131) — have any special significance to you?

Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. Maybe you like how “23” reminds you of chromosomes and genetics, for example.

Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.

If you have any interesting insights about the number 5, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!

Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).