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.
"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
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
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
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
…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.
In September of 1957, the classic rock and roll song “Peggy Sue” by Buddy Holly came out. (This was just a few months after the doo wop song “Deserie” was released.)
“Peggy Sue” was on the Billboard Top 100 for 22 weeks in late 1957 and early 1958, reaching as high as the #3 spot.
Right on cue, the compound baby name Peggysue debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1958:
1962: 6 baby girls named Peggysue
1961: 6 baby girls named Peggysue
1959: 6 baby girls named Peggysue
1958: 7 baby girls named Peggysue [debut]
The name Peggy by itself also saw a significant increase in usage that year:
1961: 6,434 baby girls named Peggy [rank: 69th]
1959: 7,408 baby girls named Peggy [rank: 57th]
1958: 10,072 baby girls named Peggy [rank: 42nd]
1957: 7,379 baby girls named Peggy [rank: 62nd]
1956: 7,487 baby girls named Peggy [rank: 63rd]
No doubt many of these Peggys had the middle name Sue.
So how did Buddy Holly chose the name “Peggy Sue” for the song? He didn’t — he wrote a song called “Cindy Lou,” taking the names from his newborn baby niece, Cindy Carol, and Cindy’s mom (Buddy’s sister) Patricia Lou.
But the original song wasn’t working out, so the band experimented with it in the summer of ’57. One of the changes they made was to the name. The rhythmically identical “Peggy Sue” was suggested by drummer Jerry Allison, who was dating a girl named Peggy Sue at the time.
At the end of 1958, Buddy Holly started working on “Peggy Sue Got Married,” one of rock and roll’s first sequel songs. Sadly he didn’t finish the song before February 3, 1959 — the day that he, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa.
If you were having a baby girl, and you had to name her either Peggy Sue or Cindy Lou, which combination would you choose?