How popular is the baby name Neil 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 Neil.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Neil


Posts that Mention the Name Neil

Mazikeen and Amenadiel

The baby name Mazikeen debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 2016.

Several Neil Gaiman characters (e.g., Coraline, Yvaine) have influenced baby names in the past, so here are several more that are influencing baby names right now.

These names come courtesy of the TV show Lucifer (2016-), which was loosely based on Gaiman’s comic book series The Sandman (1989-1996).

The premise of the show is that the main character, Lucifer (played by Tom Ellis), bored with Hell, has decided to move to Los Angeles and open a night club called “Lux.” (The Latin word lux, meaning “light,” comes directly from Lucifer’s name, meaning “light bearer.”)

In 2017, the baby name Lucifer saw its highest-ever usage so far — a fact that would no doubt alarm a large number of Americans.

Lucifer’s right-hand man is a lady: Mazikeen “Maze” Smith (played by Lesley-Ann Brandt). She’s a demon who followed Lucifer to Earth as his sworn protector. At the start of the series, she worked as a bartender at Lux.

The baby name Mazikeen debuted in the data in 2016, and Maze debuted for girls specifically the next year.

Lucifer’s eldest brother is Amenadiel (played by D. B. Woodside). He’s an archangel (still in God’s good graces) who has a contentious relationship with Lucifer, who he encourages to return to Hell.

The baby name Amenadiel debuted in the data in 2017.

MazikeenMazeAmenadiel
201727 girls15 boys &
9 girls [debut]
9 boys [debut]
2016
7 girls [debut]11 boys.
2015.14 boys.

Though Mazikeen and Amenadiel both sound biblical, neither one is found in the Bible. Mazikeen is based on the Hebrew word mazzikim, meaning “harmful spirits.” Amenadiel’s explanation has eluded me so far, but, like many Hebrew names, it ends with -el, which refers to “God.”

What are your thoughts on these two new names? How about on the rising usage of Lucifer?

Sources: List of Lucifer characters – Wikipedia, Jewish Concepts: Demons & Demonology

P.S. Also on TV right now is American Gods (2017-), based on the Neil Gaiman book of the same name. I thought the show might give the name Shadow a big boost, but so far this isn’t the case.

The Top Baby Name Drops, 1881 to Today

top baby name drops by year

We looked at the top baby name rises last month, so this month let’s look at the opposite: the top drops. That is, the baby names that decreased the most in usage, percentage-wise, from one year to the next in the Social Security Administration’s data.

Here’s the format: girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the percentages represent single-year slides in usage. (For example, from 1880 to 1881, usage of the girl name Clementine dropped 68% and usage of the boy name Neil dropped 76%.)

  • 1881: Clementine, -68%; Neil, -76%
  • 1882: Malissa, -56%; Verne, -67%
  • 1883: Minna, -67%; Morton, -74%
  • 1884: Roxy, -62%; Ellsworth & Newt, -60%
  • 1885: Sina, -68%; Clarance, -74%
  • 1886: Cordia, Dicie & Johnie, -64%; Adelbert, -69%
  • 1887: Faith, -69%; Hardy, -73%
  • 1888: Diana & Hope, -63%; Connie, -55%
  • 1889: Zilpha, -71%; Wendell, -71%
  • 1890: Buena, -60%; Alvie, -69%
  • 1891: Odie, -65%; Pierce, -76%
  • 1892: Eudora, -67%; Maude, -58%
  • 1893: Lollie, -65%; Levy, -64%
  • 1894: Macy, -64%; Lindsay, -76%
  • 1895: Gina, Laurel & Pennie, -69%; Alvie & Urban, -65%
  • 1896: Dagmar, -75%; Talmage, -67%
  • 1897: Myrta & Ouida, -75%; Benton, -68%
  • 1898: Fae, -71%; Fate, -74%
  • 1899: Rosia, -80%; Fitzhugh, -79%
  • 1900: Irva, -74%; Dora, -69%
  • 1901: Leonore, -75%; Judge, -81%
  • 1902: Veva, -74%; Davis, -72%
  • 1903: Littie & Samantha, -67%; Hunter, -67%
  • 1904: Genie, -71%; Bessie & Reynold, -67%
  • 1905: Luberta, -75%; Randall, -67%
  • 1906: Dulcie, -75%; Patsy, -69%
  • 1907: Libbie, -71%; Geo, -59%
  • 1908: Aurore, -75%; Elden & Minor, -67%
  • 1909: Arnetta, -68%; Tracy, -75%
  • 1910: Lollie, -67%; Hadley, -64%
  • 1911: Nada, -72%; Shelton, -73%
  • 1912: Carla, -71%; Rosendo, -67%
  • 1913: Vassie, -67%; Auburn, -67%
  • 1914: Coy & Maryelizabeth, -64%: Hosey, -78%
  • 1915: Thomasine, -67%; Giacomo, -67%
  • 1916: Zudora, -75%; Remus, -72%
  • 1917: Athalie, -78%; Tatsuo, -82%
  • 1918: Theta, -74%; Lennis, -72%
  • 1919: Liberty, -83%; Foch, -84%
  • 1920: Veatrice, -77%; Pershing, -73%
  • 1921: Fidela & Theone, -70%; Cleven, -71%
  • 1922: Angelyn & Renata, -75%; Dail, -73%
  • 1923: Odilia, -83%; Ugo & Waino, -74%
  • 1924: Gladine, -71%; Masayuki, -72%
  • 1925: Williemae, -72%; Emitt, -72%
  • 1926: Patrice, -75%; Ann, -78%
  • 1927: Vila, -75%; Boston, -76%
  • 1928: Kazue, -79%; Shoji, -93%
  • 1929: Livia, -81%; Tatsuo, -82%
  • 1930: Ivalee, -71%; Deforest, -72%
  • 1931: Emaline, -76%; Audley, -75%
  • 1932: Zulema, -80%; Hale, -77%
  • 1933: Dessa, -78%; Burleigh, -79%
  • 1934: Nira, -81%; Overton, -71%
  • 1935: Claudean, -73%; Hester, -74%
  • 1936: Norita, -79%; Kenley, -79%
  • 1937: Adel & Berdine, -71%; Grace, -78%

The SSA data isn’t perfect, but it does become more accurate in the late 1930s, because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data” (SSA). Now, back to the list…

  • 1938: Ever, -75%; Casimiro, -75%
  • 1939: Walda, -74%; Butler, -74%
  • 1940: Avalon & Ellouise, -75%; Jacque, -71%
  • 1941: Lassie, -71%; Faye & Lemar, -71%
  • 1942: Voncille, -75%; Meyer, -70%
  • 1943: Mahala, -76%; Ewing, -76%
  • 1944: Kyle, -77%; Griffith, -77%
  • 1945: Sherrianne, -74%; Ellwood, Kern & Pascal, -67%
  • 1946: Bettyjo, -71%; Adrien, -77%
  • 1947: Judye, -76%; Bernardino, -72%
  • 1948: Tilda, -78%; Saverio, -74%
  • 1949: Vickii, -77%; Alphonza, -75%
  • 1950: Ranelle, -78%; Agapito, -68%
  • 1951: Vallorie, -90%; Skippy, -72%
  • 1952: Laural, -76%; Edson, -74%
  • 1953: Annelle & Otilia, -72%; Gerrit, -70%
  • 1954: Trenace, -81%; Celso, -76%
  • 1955: Jyl, -79%; Garrie & Robet, -74%
  • 1956: Cerise, -79%; Orlin, -74%
  • 1957: Angelene, -77%; Ruby, -76%
  • 1958: Seneca, -80%; Darryel & Richerd, -72%
  • 1959: Elfrida, -82%; Dietrich, -75%
  • 1960: Jinny, -72%; Ardis, -74%
  • 1961: Perian, -91%; Cully, -84%
  • 1962: Chantay, -80%; Torin, -73%
  • 1963: Marnita, -82%; Isidore, -75%
  • 1964: Julann, -79%; Tandy, -75%
  • 1965: Tonjua, -90%; Jaimie, -86%
  • 1966: Charlet & Desi, -77%; Glennon, -74%
  • 1967: Jeryl, -83%; Haskell, -72%
  • 1968: Millette, -88%; Daneil, -77%
  • 1969: Lya, -81%; Athony, -73%
  • 1970: Cinamon, -77%; Aldrin, -77%
  • 1971: Chimene, -77%; Garet, -74%
  • 1972: Jurea, -83%; Rayvon, -77%
  • 1973: Dayatra, -86%; Keelan, -70%
  • 1974: Shondell, -78%; Efraim, -71%
  • 1975: Natonya, -78%; Imari, -76%
  • 1976: Okema, -87%; Nakia, -79%
  • 1977: Liberty, -79%; Tierre, -81%
  • 1978: Farrah, -78%; Quint, -77%
  • 1979: Danetta, -77%; Kinte, -84%
  • 1980: Vernee, -77%; Kendra, -75%
  • 1981: Santresa, -80%; Jerritt, -74%
  • 1982: Andres, -75%; Stavros, -78%
  • 1983: Tremaine, -81%; Nicanor, -75%
  • 1984: Tyechia, -81%; Jeris, -77%
  • 1985: Gricel, -89%; Duron, -76%
  • 1986: Celenia, -83%; Damiano, -76%
  • 1987: Tareva, -86%; Krystal, -75%
  • 1988: Jeree, -82%; Jammal, -80%
  • 1989: Neyva, -77%; Derrel, -76%
  • 1990: Catherin, -93%; Salvator, -88%
  • 1991: Tichina, -80%; Arsenio, -76%
  • 1992: Unnamed, -88%; Unnamed, -86% [2nd place: Emilce & Symba, -83%; Quayshaun, -80%]
  • 1993: Akeiba, -88%; Evelyn & Jawara, -71%
  • 1994: Kebrina, -86%; Farrell, -79%
  • 1995: Noheli, -84%; Ajee, -79%
  • 1996: Shatasha, -81%; Unknown, -77%
  • 1997: Hydia, -80%, Halston, -79%
  • 1998: Ajaysia, -77%; Jachai, -91%
  • 1999: Naidelyn, -86%; Denzil, -79%
  • 2000: Shanequa, -82%; Giovan, -75%
  • 2001: Berania, -78%; Devontre, -75%
  • 2002: Anallely, -86%; Nkosi, -72%
  • 2003: Jnaya, -88%; Tyheim, -81%
  • 2004: Nayzeth, -89%; Myzel, -75%
  • 2005: Nathaniel, -80%; Hannah, -87%
  • 2006: Babygirl, -86%; Infant, -91% [Counting legit names only: Mikalah, -82%; Jakyri, -79%]
  • 2007: Bethzy, -91%; Brasen, -83%
  • 2008: Lizania, -86%; Duvan, -79%
  • 2009: Aideliz, -88%; Kesan, -78%
  • 2010: Chastelyn, -95%; Yanixan, -87%
  • 2011: Samuel, -79%; Tiger, -80%
  • 2012: Thaily, -78%; Vadhir, -88%
  • 2013: Shanik, -88%; Oneil, -77%
  • 2014: Audris & Avalie, -80%; Sy, -73%
  • 2015: Rion, -83%; Rawley, -79%
  • 2016: Yazaira, -84%; Treysen, -79%
  • 2017: Brucha, -76%; Makana, -79%
  • 2018: Yuleimy, -85%; Neizan, -78%

(Did you catch the doubles? Alvie, Tatsuo, and Fae/Faye.)

Top drops aren’t quite as exciting as top rises, but certain ones become much more intriguing when you notice that they were also top rises:

  • Rose-then-dropped: Clarance, Lollie, Lindsay, Zudora, Tatsuo, Liberty, Norita, Vallorie, Krystal, Seneca, Nakia, Mikalah, Bethzy, Thaily
  • Dropped-then-rose: Clementine, Malissa, Diana, Alvie, Pierce, Judge, Rosendo

I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and I plan to write about a few of the others. In the meanwhile, though, feel free to beat me to it — leave a comment and let us know why you think any of these names saw dropped in usage when they did.

Name-Song Tournament: 1950s & 1960s (Round 1)

Time for another tournament!

A few years ago, we held a fun 1980s name-song tournament. (Come on, Eileen, you must remember!) This year, let’s go back even further — let’s check out songs with names in the titles from the early rock and roll era (late ’50s and early ’60s).

I’ll explain more about the tournament at the bottom of the post. For now, I’ll just forewarn you that each link opens a video in a new page so that you don’t lose your place on this page, which is pretty long.

Group 1

Match Song Song
#1 Denise” (1963) by Randy & the Rainbows vs. Deserie” (1957) by The Charts
#2 Carol” (1957) by Chuck Berry vs. Dede Dinah” (1958) by Frankie Avalon
#3 Fannie Mae” (1959) by Buster Brown vs. Eddie My Love” (1956) by The Teen Queens
#4 Diana” (1957) by Paul Anka vs. Anna (Go to Him)” (1962) by Arthur Alexander
#5 Barbara Ann” (1961) by The Regents vs. Dusty” (1964) by The Rag Dolls
#6 Claudette” (1958) by The Everly Brothers vs. Bobby’s Girl” (1962) by Marcie Blane
#7 Donna” (1958) by Ritchie Valens vs. Donna the Prima Donna” (1963) by Dion
#8 Be-Bop-A-Lula” (1956) by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps vs. Cathy’s Clown” (1960) by The Everly Brothers

Which song is better? (1 of 32)

  • "Denise" by Randy & the Rainbows (56%, 5 Votes)
  • "Deserie" by The Charts (44%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 9

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Which song is better? (2 of 32)

  • "Carol" by Chuck Berry (80%, 8 Votes)
  • "Dede Dinah" by Frankie Avalon (20%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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Which song is better? (3 of 32)

  • "Eddie My Love" by The Teen Queens (88%, 7 Votes)
  • "Fannie Mae" by Buster Brown (13%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 8

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Which song is better? (4 of 32)

  • "Anna (Go to Him)" by Arthur Alexander (56%, 5 Votes)
  • "Diana" by Paul Anka (44%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 8

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Which song is better? (5 of 32)

  • "Barbara Ann" by The Regents (63%, 5 Votes)
  • "Dusty" by The Rag Doll (38%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 8

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Which song is better? (6 of 32)

  • "Claudette" by The Everly Brothers (57%, 4 Votes)
  • "Bobby's Girl" by Marcie Blane (43%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (7 of 32)

  • "Donna" by Ritchie Valens (71%, 5 Votes)
  • "Donna the Prima Donna" by Dion (29%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (8 of 32)

  • "Cathy's Clown" by The Everly Brothers (56%, 5 Votes)
  • "Be-Bop-A-Lula" by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps (44%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 9

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Group 2

Match Song Song
#1 Good Golly Miss Molly” (1956) by Little Richard vs. Katy Too” (1961) by Johnny Cash
#2 Hit the Road Jack” (1961) by Ray Charles vs. Jimmy Boy” (1963) by The Girlfriends
#3 Jacqueline” (1958) by Bobby Helms vs. Just Like Eddie” (1963) by Heinz
#4 Lana” (1961) by The Velvets vs. Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie” (1958) by Eddie Cochran
#5 Hello Mary Lou” (1961) by Ricky Nelson vs. Jim Dandy” (1956) by LaVern Baker
#6 Johnny Angel” (1962) by Shelley Fabares vs. Judy’s Turn to Cry” (1963) by Lesley Gore
#7 Johnny B. Goode” (1958) by Chuck Berry vs. Hats off to Larry” (1961) by Del Shannon
#8 Hey Paula” (1962) by Paul & Paula vs. Jenny, Jenny” (1956) by Little Richard

Which song is better? (9 of 32)

  • "Good Golly Miss Molly" by Little Richard (100%, 6 Votes)
  • "Katy Too" by Johnny Cash (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (10 of 32)

  • "Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles (100%, 6 Votes)
  • "Jimmy Boy" by The Girlfriends (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (11 of 32)

  • "Just Like Eddie" by Heinz (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Jacqueline" by Bobby Helms (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (12 of 32)

  • "Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie" by Eddie Cochran (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Lana" by The Velvets (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (13 of 32)

  • "Hello Mary Lou" by Ricky Nelson (71%, 5 Votes)
  • "Jim Dandy" by LaVern Baker (29%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (14 of 32)

  • "Johnny Angel" by Shelley Fabares (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Judy's Turn to Cry" by Lesley Gore (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (15 of 32)

  • "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry (100%, 6 Votes)
  • "Hats off to Larry" by Del Shannon (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (16 of 32)

  • "Hey Paula" by Paul & Paula (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Jenny, Jenny" by Little Richard (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Group 3

Match Song Song
#1 Lucille” (1957) by Little Richard vs. Oh Rose Marie” (1959) by The Fascinators
#2 Mary Ann” (1956) by Ray Charles vs. Oh Julie” (1958) by The Crescendos
#3 Maybellene” (1955) by Chuck Berry vs. Little Latin Lupe Lu” (1963) by The Righteous Brothers
#4 Nadine” (1964) by Chuck Berry vs. Little Diane” (1962) by Dion
#5 Oh! Carol” (1959) by Neil Sedaka vs. Peggy Sue” (1957) by Buddy Holly and The Crickets
#6 Louie Louie” (1957) by Richard Berry vs. Mickey’s Monkey” (1963) by The Miracles
#7 Marlena” (1963) by The Four Seasons vs. My Girl Josephine” (1960) by Fats Domino
#8 (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame” (1961) by Elvis Presley vs. Long Tall Sally” (1956) by Little Richard

Which song is better? (17 of 32)

  • "Lucille" by Little Richard (100%, 7 Votes)
  • "Oh Rose Marie" by The Fascinators (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (18 of 32)

  • "Oh Julie" by The Crescendos (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "Mary Ann" by Ray Charles (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (19 of 32)

  • "Maybellene" by Chuck Berry (80%, 4 Votes)
  • "Little Latin Lupe Lu" by The Righteous Brothers (20%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (20 of 32)

  • "Nadine" by Chuck Berry (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "Little Diane" by Dion (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (21 of 32)

  • "Peggy Sue" by Buddy Holly and The Crickets (100%, 5 Votes)
  • "Oh! Carol" by Neil Sedaka (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (22 of 32)

  • "Louie Louie" by Richard Berry (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "Mickey's Monkey" by The Miracles (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (23 of 32)

  • "Marlena" by The Four Seasons (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "My Girl Josephine" by Fats Domino (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Which song is better? (24 of 32)

  • "(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame" by Elvis Presley (60%, 3 Votes)
  • "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard (40%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 5

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Group 4

Match Song Song
#1 Venus” (1959) by Frankie Avalon vs. Ride on Josephine” (1960) by Bo Diddley
#2 Sandy” (1959) by Larry Hall vs. Tall Paul” (1959) by Annette Funicello
#3 Sandy” (1963) by Dion vs. Ruby Baby” (1956) by The Drifters
#4 Ronnie” (1964) by The Four Seasons vs. Ruby Ann” (1962) by Marty Robbins
#5 Wake Up Little Susie” (1957) by The Everly Brothers vs. Sally, Go ‘Round the Roses” (1963) by The Jaynetts
#6 Sherry” (1962) by The Four Seasons vs. Susie Q” (1957) by Dale Hawkins
#7 Runaround Sue” (1961) by Dion vs. Venus in Blue Jeans” (1962) by Jimmy Clanton
#8 Sheila” (1962) by Tommy Roe vs. Susie Darlin’” (1958) by Robin Luke

Which song is better? (25 of 32)

  • "Ride on Josephine" by Bo Diddley (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Venus" by Frankie Avalon (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (26 of 32)

  • "Tall Paul" by Annette Funicello (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Sandy" by Larry Hall (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (27 of 32)

  • "Sandy" by Dion (57%, 4 Votes)
  • "Ruby Baby" by The Drifters (43%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (28 of 32)

  • "Ruby Ann" by Marty Robbins (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Ronnie" by The Four Seasons (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (29 of 32)

  • "Wake Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers (57%, 4 Votes)
  • "Sally, Go 'Round the Roses" by The Jaynetts (43%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (30 of 32)

  • "Susie Q" by Dale Hawkins (71%, 5 Votes)
  • "Sherry" by The Four Seasons (29%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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Which song is better? (31 of 32)

  • "Runaround Sue" by Dion (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Venus in Blue Jeans" by Jimmy Clanton (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Which song is better? (32 of 32)

  • "Sheila" by Tommy Roe (67%, 4 Votes)
  • "Susie Darlin'" by Robin Luke (33%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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…And that’s it for now! Round 2 will start on Friday.

Here’s the full tournament schedule:

  • Round 1 (64 songs to 32): Vote March 12-15
  • Round 2 (32 to 16): Vote March 16-19
  • Sweet 16 (16 to 8): Vote March 20-22
  • Elite Eight (8 to 4): Vote March 23-25
  • Final Four (4 to 2): Vote March 26-27
  • Championship (2 to 1): Vote March 28-29
  • Winner (1): Announced on March 30

Polls close at 11:59 PM (Mountain Time) on the last day of each round.

And finally, in case you’re wondering how I chose the groups and the pairings: The groups are alphabetical (A to F, G to L, L to P, and R to W). To rank the songs within each group, I used that “total” number of Google search results as a proxy for popularity. Then I created match-ups in true March Madness style: first vs. last, second vs. second-to-last, and so forth.

Name Quotes #54: Roella, Rumi, Tsh

splash, movie, quote, quotation, madison, 1980s

From the 1984 movie Splash, the character Allen (Tom Hanks) talking with his then-nameless lady friend (Daryl Hannah) as they walk around NYC:

Woman: “What are English names?”

Allen: “Well, there’s millions of them, I guess. Jennifer, Joanie, Hilary. (Careful, hey, those are hot!) See names, names… Linda, Kim– (Where are we? Madison.) Uh, Elizabeth, Samantha–”

Woman: “Madison…I like Madison!”

Allen: “Madison’s not a name… Well, all right, ok, Madison it is. Good thing we weren’t at 149th Street.”

Jay-Z on the names of his twins, Rumi and Sir, from a recent Rap Radar interview (via People):

“Rumi is our favorite poet, so it was for our daughter,” he shared. “Sir was like, man, come out the gate. He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir.”

From a 2016 interview with Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander in the Tampa Bay Times:

In the early ’90s, he and wife, Pam, who grew up in Pinellas County, settled down in the Sunshine State, drawn by family ties and the promise of a nice, safe community in which to raise their son, Robin Taylor, now 23, and daughter, Robin-Sailor, 15. (Zander’s go-to line about his kids’ quirky names: “My wife just calls us Robin, and we all come running.”)

From a 2009 review of the book Looking In, about photographer Robert Frank:

On November 7 1955, part-way through a two-year, Guggenheim-funded voyage around America, the photographer Robert Frank was arrested by Arkansas state police who suspected he was a communist. Their reasons: he was a shabbily dressed foreigner, he was Jewish, he had letters of reference from people with Russian-sounding names, he had photographed the Ford plant, possessed foreign whisky and his children had foreign names (Pablo and Andrea).

From an article called This Is The Biggest Influence On Baby Names:

[Neil] Burdess says most parents’ baby-name decisions are shaped by affluent, highly educated families who live near them, rather than prominent figures in pop culture.

[…]

He cites research conducted in California in the 1960s, which found that names adopted by high-income, highly educated parents are soon embraced by those lower down the socioeconomic ladder.

From a 2015 obituary of movie star Rex Reason:

Contrary to what one might think, Rex Reason was his birth name, not one dreamed up by a Hollywood executive. Universal Pictures, in fact, had billed him as “Bart Roberts” in a couple of films before he insisted on being credited with his real name.

From a 1998 obituary of surfer Rell Sunn:

There seemed to be a bit of destiny attached. Her middle name, Ka-polioka’ehukai, means Heart of the Sea.

“Most Hawaiian grandparents name you before you’re born,” she says. “They have a dream or something that tells them what the name will be.” Hawaiians also have a knack for giving people rhythmic, dead-on nicknames, and for young Rell they had a beauty: Rella Propella.

“My godmother called me that because I was always moving so fast,” says Rell. “To this day, people think my real name is Rella. Actually I was born Roella, a combination of my parents’ names: Roen and Elbert. But I hated it, and no one used it, so I changed it to Rell.”

From a blog post by Jason Fisher on naming practices in Nigeria:

When [Kelechi Eke] was born, his mother experienced dangerous complications, which his parents acknowledged in his naming. In Igbo, Kelechi means “thank God”, and Eke means “creation”. The usual Igbo name for God, Chineke, means literally, “God of Creation”, and you can see both elements (chi + eke) in his two names. When K.C.’s own son was born, it was in the wake of difficulties in bringing his wife to the United States; consequently, they chose the name Oluchi, meaning “God’s work”, suggesting their gratitude that the immigration problems were resolved before his mother went into labor.

From the about page of writer Tsh Oxenreider:

My name is Tsh Oxenreider, and no, my name is not a typo (one of the first things people ask). It’s pronounced “Tish.” No reason, really, except that my parents were experimental with their names choices in the 70s. Until my younger brother was born in the 80s, whom they named Josh, quite possibly one of the most common names for people his age. Who knows what they were thinking, really.

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.

Where Did the Baby Name Geddy Come From?

geddy lee, rush,
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2004

Last weekend, the Toronto Zoo announced that its three capybara pups would be named Geddy, Alex, and Neil in honor of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart — the three members of the legendary Canadian rock band Rush (known for songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight”).

Vocalist Geddy Lee was born Gary Lee in Toronto in 1953 to parents Morris and Manya Weinrib, Holocaust survivors from Poland. Here’s how the name “Gary” morphed into the name “Geddy”:

“Okay, it’s like the same story of Leave it to Beaver. The story goes: my mother is Polish and she has a very thick accent. When I was about twelve years old, I had a friend who, whenever he heard my mother pronounce my name, he thought she was calling me, ‘Geddy.’ He started calling me ‘Geddy,’ and eventually, all of my friends started calling me ‘Geddy,’ and eventually my mother started to call me ‘Geddy,’ for real. And eventually, I changed my name legally to ‘Geddy,’ so that’s the story and that’s my name, Geddy.”

So have any human pups ever been named for Geddy Lee? Yup–so many that we can see them in the data. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, when Rush was a fixture on the Billboard charts, the name Geddy started appearing on the U.S. baby name charts:

  • 1984: 9 baby boys named Geddy
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: 14 baby boys named Geddy
  • 1981: unlisted
  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 5 baby boys named Geddy [debut]
  • 1978: unlisted

Since then, at least 175 U.S. babies have been named Geddy.

And that’s how a Canadian prog rock band turned “Geddy” — a Polish mispronunciation of Gary — into an American baby name. :)

(Kinda reminds me of the mondegreen Kasara…)

If you were having a son, and you had to name him either Gary or Geddy, which would you choose? Why?

Sources: Toronto’s ‘capybaby’ triplets named after famous rock trio Rush, Geddy Lee: The Reluctant Rockstar (originally in Bass Frontiers Magazine)

P.S. Here’s that Leave it to Beaver story.