Do you ever mishear song lyrics?
I do. All the time. (Though I’m not nearly as bad as my husband.)
I ask because I believe today’s baby names can be traced back to a specific set of lyrics misheard by dozens of parents a little more than 20 years ago.
Casara, Kasarah, Cassara, and Casarah all debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1987. The same year, Kasara returned after being listed only once before (in the mid-1970s). And in 1988, Cassarah made its first and only appearance.
At first I couldn’t figure them out. They didn’t look like alternative spellings of a more popular name. They all popped up at about the same time, pointing to a single pop culture source, but the origin wasn’t obvious (as it had been with names like Daughtry and Cheetara.)
Finally, months after discovering them, I came up with a decent theory.
Let’s set the scene. Artists on the radio back in 1987 included U2, George Michael, Whitney Houston, Tiffany, Billy Idol, Madonna, The Bangles, Bon Jovi, Kim Wilde, Los Lobos with “La Bamba,” Belinda Carlisle, Exposé, Atlantic Starr…and Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam.
In fact, 1987 was a great year for Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. Their second album, Spanish Fly, went platinum in August. Two songs from the album ended up becoming Billboard #1 singles — “Head to Toe” in June, “Lost In Emotion” in October.
I’m sure you’ve heard “Lost in Emotion” before, but here’s the video just in case. (How awesome are those outfits, btw?)
Pay special attention to the following lines [starting at 1:27]:
Que sera, que sera
Baby, whatever will be
Que sera, que sera
Between you and me
That “que sera, que sera” in the chorus is a corruption of the phrase “que sera, sera,” taken from the earlier song “Que Sera, Sera.” The phrase is commonly thought to mean “whatever will be, will be,” though that’s not quite true.
Anyway, to someone casually listening to “Lost in Emotion” on the radio, the words “que sera” blend together and sound just like Kasara, Casara, and the other names above.
Well, not “proof” exactly. But an enticing bit of evidence.
I did a search for anyone (a blogger, say) who’d written about mistaking “que sera” for a girl name. Just to see if anyone could back me up.
Check out this comment I found at song site Am I Right:
Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s, “Lost In Emotion”
The Misheard Lyrics:
The Real Lyrics:
Lost in emotion Que sera, que sera.
The Story: My sister named my niece Kassarah after this song. Ooops, oh well a beautifully unique name for a beautiful, unique girl! – Submitted by: Sandee
(Incidentally, the spelling Kassarah has never appeared on any of the SSA’s baby name lists.)
So that’s what I suspect — in the late ’80s, dozens of expectant parents heard Lisa Lisa’s “Lost in Emotion,” interpreted “que sera” as a female name, and used the misheard lyric as a baby name, spelling it various ways (e.g. Kasara, Casara, Kasarah).
But I’d love to hear other theories if anyone out there has a better explanation.