If we ignore all the 1989 names — which are only truncated spelling variants caused by the great baby name glitch of 1989 — the real #1 one-hit wonder becomes Meghaan.
Here’s what I can tell you about some of the above: Shastelyn, Jocell, Madelis and Raengel were inspired by Mexican beauty queens; Aidsa and Yaindhi were inspired by the TV show Objectivo Fama; Eshanti was inspired by singer Ashanti; Nykeba was inspired by a mention in Ebony magazine.
Can you come up with explanations for any of the others?
The Social Security Administration’s annual baby name list only includes names given to 5 or more U.S. baby girls (or baby boys) per year.
Most rare names never make the list, but a select group have appeared a single time. I like to call these the one-hit wonder baby names.
One-hit wonders tend to pop up with a relatively low number of babies — 5 or 6 — but a handful are given to dozens of babies…only to disappear again the next year! Intriguing, no?
Below are the highest-charting one-hit wonder names for every year on record before 2013. (We won’t know which 2013 names are one-hit wonders until later lists come out.) The format is: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.”
Both names had been mentioned in the April 1980 issue of Ebony in an article called “Sex and the Single Parent.” Kimario was the 4-year-old son of Aisha Nanji of Atlanta, and Nykeba was the 3-year-old daughter of Vicki Newsum of Memphis.
The name had been mentioned in two issues of Ebony — the March 1985 issue and the August 1986 issue. The first time, it was in an article about teenage parenthood. “Fifteen-year-old Lisa Robinson of Chicago cuddles her 10-month-old daughter, Cushena, while trying to concentrate on her homework.” (This quote goes with the image above.) The second time, it was in an article about black children.
The name had been mentioned in the January 1994 issue of Ebony, in an article about first-time mothers. “Joy of motherhood radiates from first-time mom DiAnna Toliver Muhammad of San Diego as she cuddles her 10-month-old daughter Ziyadah Iman.”
I’m sure there are more Ebony– and Jet-inspired baby names out there. If you own any old issues of either magazine, and one of your issues contains an uncommon name, please leave a comment with the name (and the month/year) so I can check it out!
Edelman, Marian Wright. “Save the Children.” Ebony Aug. 1986.
“First-Time Moms.” Ebony Jan. 1994.
Harris, Ron. “Sex and the Single Parent.” Ebony Apr. 1980.
Height, Dorothy I. “What Must Be Done About Children Having Children.” Ebony Mar. 1985.
Horton, Luci. “The Mystery of Crib Death.” Ebony July 1973.