How popular is the baby name Reannan 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 Reannan.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Reannan


Posts that Mention the Name Reannan

Interesting One-Hit Wonder Baby Names

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more. (Names that aren’t links yet have posts coming soon!)

1890s

1900s

  • (none yet)

1910s

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

2020s

  • (none yet)

As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. If this content looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen it before! I’ve just put it in a new spot. :)

The Baby Name Rhiannon

Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)

“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night, and wouldn’t you love to” …know a little more about her name?

The Welsh name Rhiannon comes to us via the Mabinogion, a famous collection of medieval Welsh tales that was written during the 1300s (or possibly earlier).

What’s the etymology? Here are two theories:

Rhiannon’s persona is much older than the medieval text, however. She appears to be derived from the pre-Christian goddess hypothesized as Rigantona and also Epona, the horse goddess. Her pedigree within the Mabinogi also implies supernatural status as she is thought to be the daughter of the king of Annwfn, the otherworld; her name may mean maid of Annwfn.

The reconstructed proto-Celtic name Rigantona means “divine goddess.” The definition “maid of Annwfn,” on the other hand, would come from combining the word rhiain, meaning “maid,” with the place name Annwfn.

Before the 1970s, the name Rhiannon was rarely used as a name for newborns. The few babies that got the name tended to have a direct connection to Wales (i.e., either they were born there or their parents were).

Song of Rhiannon (book)

Then two novels featuring the name came out: Song of Rhiannon (1972) by Evangeline Walton and Triad (1973) by Mary Leader. The first was based directly on the Mabinogion; the second was not.

Both books probably played a part in putting Rhiannon on the map in 1974:

  • 1975: 15 baby girls named Rhiannon
  • 1974: 5 baby girls named Rhiannon [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted

The first book might have been the one with the word “song” in the title, but it was the second book that inspired a young Stevie Nicks to write her hit song “Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win).” Here’s how Stevie tells the story:

I got the name from a novel, I think I bought in an airport just before a long flight; it was called Triad, and it was about a girl named Rhiannon and her sister and mother, or something like that. I just thought the name was so pretty that I wanted to write something about a girl named Rhiannon. I wrote it about three months before I joined Fleetwood Mac, in about 1974.

The song was first released on Fleetwood Mac’s album Fleetwood Mac in mid-1975. It was then re-released a single in February of 1976, and, four months later, peaked at #11 on the Billboard charts.

The single is what made an impact on the baby name charts. Hundreds of baby girls were named Rhiannon in 1976, and the name entered the top 1,000 for the first time at an impressive 593rd. A year later it peaked at 418th.

Here’s how many U.S. baby girls were named Rhiannon (or a variant) from 1973 to 1980, sorted by 1977 levels of usage:

Name19731974197519761977197819791980
Rhiannon5*15272491460422409
Rhianna56*97798993
Reanna76590878690
Riann76*372210
Rhiana33*38271624
Rheanna24*34233031
Rianne25*91712
Rheannon6*20161520
Rianna10*19292730
Rhianon7*1325916
Riannon11*88
Reannon12*1071617
Rhian9*77
Reannan6**
Rhia5*55
Reana88613
Reanne759
Rheanne5*
Rhiannan7*6
Rheana7*
Rhyan6*710
Reann610
Rhianne5*

*Debut
**One-hit wonder

Usage cooled off after that, but rose again in the late ’90s and early 2000s, probably thanks to Fleetwood Mac’s successful 1997 tour The Dance and resulting live album, which features an extended version of “Rhiannon.”

The song was voted one of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” by Rolling Stone in 2004, but by then the name Rhiannon was falling out of fashion. In 2008, it dropped out of the top 1,000. In 2013, only 106 baby girls got the name.

Regardless, Rhiannon will always be one of my favorite uniquely ’70s baby names. :)

Sources:

  • Bishop, Stephen. Songs in the Rough. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996.
  • MacKillop, James. Myths and Legends of the Celts. London: Penguin UK, 2005.
  • Rees, Dafydd and Luke Crampton. Rock Movers & Shakers. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1991.

Update, Feb. 2015: Here’s a quote from Stevie about how “Rhiannon” was nearly “Branwen”:

I’d read another novel about two sisters, Branwen and Rhiannon. I wrote the song about Rhiannon, and bought an Afghan hound and named her Branwen. So it could have been the other way around, you know.

Branwen was another central character in The Triad, and the baby name Branwen debuted in the data in 1975.

Source: Brown, Mick. “Stevie Nicks: a survivor’s story.” Telegraph 8 Sep. 2007.