How popular is the baby name Roland in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Roland and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Roland.

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Roland

Number of Babies Named Roland

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Roland

Korla, the “Godfather of Exotica” Baby Name

television, music, history, 1950s, korla pandit,
Korla Pandit, early 1950s

Behind today’s name is a fascinating story involving early television, exotic music, racial identity, and clever deception.

The name is Korla, which, along with variant Corla, first appeared in the SSA’s baby name data in 1951:

Year Korla usage Corla usage
1953 . .
1952 6 baby girls (5 in Calif.) .
1951 6 baby girls [debut] 8 baby girls [debut]
1950 . .

A bit of research reveals that most of these early ’50s Korlas and Corlas — mainly females, but also a few males — were born in California specifically. This location is already pretty telling, but the smoking gun is this middle name:

  • Karlo Pandit Lindsay, male, born in November, 1950, in Los Angeles
  • Korla Ponda Williams, female, born in March, 1951, in Los Angeles
  • Korla Pandit Lord, male, born in September, 1953, in San Francisco

So what’s the influence here?

Korla Pandit, the mystical musician whose Los Angeles-based TV show Adventures in Music made him famous, particularly on the West Coast, in the early ’50s.

Pandit first appeared on TV in the spring of 1949. In each episode of Adventures in Music, Pandit wore a jeweled turban and gazed hypnotically at the camera, never speaking — just playing otherworldly music on a Hammond organ. His show, which aired on KTLA, was soon picked up by other California stations.

Some early recordings of Korla prominently feature his name, but I’m not sure if the live show Adventures in Music did. (If not, this could account for why “Corla” debuted higher than “Korla” in the data.)

korla pandit, organ, 1950s, television, name

Korla Pandit was an immediate hit, particularly among suburban housewives. He received an impressive amount of fan mail.

He also started putting out albums, eventually releasing well over a dozen on various labels.

In 1951, after shooting hundreds of shows for KTLA, he left to film a series of short musical performances for Snader Telescriptions. These Snader clips introduced Pandit to a national audience.

But Pandit didn’t stay with Snader long, instead leaving to do other things (including start a new live TV show).

According to the 1952 ad below, his songs were “bringing dollars to the cash register and wild acclaim from feminine hearts.”

music, 1950s, korla pandit, advertisement
Korla Pandit ad in Billboard magazine, 1952

His music helped set the stage for the late ’50s Exotica craze. In fact, some people have since dubbed Korla the “Godfather of Exotica,” though the title has also been given to other musicians (including Les Baxter).

As the decade wore on, Pandit’s fame began to wane. But he did spend the rest of his life recording and performing — and always wearing that bejeweled turban.

He passed away in 1998, leaving behind his American wife Beryl and their two sons, Shari and Koram.

…But the story doesn’t end there.

Because, a few years after that, a Los Angeles journalist discovered that Korla Pandit was not the half-Indian, half-French man from New Delhi he had claimed to be. Instead, he was an African-American man named John Roland Redd from Columbia, Missouri.

Adopting a non-black identity had allowed Redd to have advantages that he couldn’t have had otherwise in 1950s America. He was one of the first African-Americans with a television show, but, ironically, if the public had known he was black, it’s highly unlikely that audiences (especially those entranced housewives) would have responded as enthusiastically as they did.

Redd took his adopted identity to the grave. Not even his sons were aware of their father’s true origin. (His wife must have known the secret, but she never openly admitted it.)

Notably, “Korla Pandit” was Redd’s second adopted persona. In the ’40s he had assumed the name “Juan Rolando,” which helped him get gigs during the Latin music craze of the time and, more importantly, allowed him to join the white L.A. musicians union as opposed to the black one, which afforded him more career opportunities.

It’s not hard to see how he got Juan from John, but I do wonder how he came up with Korla.

What are your thoughts on the name Korla? And on the story of Korla Pandit?

Sources:

P.S. After Pandit left Snader Telescriptions, the company found a replacement: a young Las Vegas pianist, originally from Wisconsin, by the name of Władziu Valentino Liberace


Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2015

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2015!

Quick disclaimer: Some of these names were already on the rise. Others were likely influenced by multiple pop culture events/people (not just the one listed). So I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence for yourself.

Adaline, +737 [ranked 11th on the list of raw-number increases for girl names]

  • Up from 164 baby girls in 2014 to 901 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Age of Adaline (2015).

Abel, +659 [ranked 12th on the list of raw-number increases for boy names]

  • Up from 2,557 baby boys in 2014 to 3,216 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Abęl Makkonen Tesfaye (stage name The Weeknd).

Finn, +301 [ranked 47th on the list of raw-number increases for boy names]

  • Up from 1,580 baby boys in 2014 to 1,881 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Taya, +180

  • Up from 93 baby girls in 2014 to 273 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie American Sniper (2014).

Lucille, +142

  • Up from 970 baby girls in 2014 to 1,112 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of B. B. King (whose guitars were all called “Lucille”).

Margot, +126

  • Up from 377 baby girls in 2014 to 503 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: actress Margot Robbie.

Atticus, +106

  • Up from 852 baby boys in 2014 to 958 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the book Go Set a Watchman (2015).

Canaan, +104

  • Up from 179 baby girls in 2014 to 283 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the news of Oprah Winfrey’s son, Canaan.

Hakeem, +87

  • Up from 72 baby boys in 2014 to 159 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Annalise, +78

  • Up from 699 baby boys in 2014 to 777 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show How to Get Away with Murder (2014-).

Lola, +57

  • Up from 1,386 baby girls in 2014 to 1,443 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Arlo, +54

  • Up from 518 baby boys in 2014 to 572 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Carter, +53

  • Up from 10,674 baby boys in 2014 to 10,727 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: unsure (suggested in the comments).

Carli, +36

  • Up from 110 baby girls in 2014 to 146 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Carli Lloyd.

Margo, +36

  • Up from 152 baby girls in 2014 to 188 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Paper Towns (2015).

Bjorn, +35

  • Up from 63 baby boys in 2014 to 98 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Vikings.

Roland, +32

  • Up from 437 baby boys in 2014 to 469 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie By The Sea (2015).

Taraji, +30

  • Up from 200 baby girls in 2014 to 230 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Adonis, +29

  • Up from 327 baby boys in 2014 to 356 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Creed (2015).

Sullivan (as a boy name), +29

  • Up from 631 baby boys in 2014 to 660 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: actor Sullivan Stapleton.

Joy, +28

  • Up from 692 baby girls in 2014 to 720 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Inside Out (2015).

Kylo, +27

  • Up from 8 baby boys in 2014 to 35 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Alex (as a girl name), +25

  • Up from 160 baby girls in 2014 to 185 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Alex Morgan.

Rebel, +25 (as a girl name), -3 (as a boy name)

  • Up from 58 baby girls in 2014 to 83 in 2015.
  • Down from 48 baby boys in 2014 to 45 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the Confederate flag debate.
  • Update, 5/12/16: The state-by-state data was just released. Of the 83 baby girls named Rebel, 12 were born in Texas, 9 in California, 8 in Arkansas and 6 in Oklahoma. Of the 45 boys, 7 were born in Texas and 5 in Tennessee.

Meghan, +24

  • Up from 214 baby girls in 2014 to 238 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Meghan Klingenberg.

Lucious, +18

  • Up from 19 baby boys in 2014 to 37 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Christie, +15

  • Up from 31 baby girls in 2014 to 46 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Christie Rampone.

Tobin (as a girl name), re-entered with 14

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 14 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Tobin Heath.

Alessia, +13

  • Up from 200 baby girls in 2014 to 213 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Alessia Cara.

Lyon, +13

  • Up from 29 baby boys in 2014 to 42 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Kelsea, +12

  • Up from 35 baby girls in 2014 to 47 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: country singer Kelsea Ballerini.

Gigi, +11

  • Up from 27 baby girls in 2014 to 38 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: model Gigi Hadid.

Ragnar, +11

  • Up from 19 baby boys in 2014 to 30 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Vikings.

Rollo, re-entered with 10

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 10 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Vikings.

Max (as a girl name), +9

  • Up from 14 baby girls in 2014 to 23 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: Maxima “Max” Chan Zuckerberg, daughter of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

Poe, re-entered with 9

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 9 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Denali, +8 (as a boy name) and +7 (as a girl name)

  • Up from 20 baby boys in 2014 to 28 in 2015.
  • Up from 55 baby girls in 2014 to 62 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the renaming of Denali.

Bindi, re-entered with 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 8 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: Dancing with the Stars contestant Bindi Irwin.

Eilis, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Brooklyn (2015).

Trai, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Becky, +5

  • Up from 53 baby girls in 2014 to 58 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Becky Sauerbrunn.

Bernie, +5

  • Up from 6 baby boys in 2014 to 11 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Saint, +5

  • Up from 32 baby boys in 2014 to 37 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: Saint West, son of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Serra, +5

  • Up from 12 baby girls in 2014 to 17 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the canonization of Junipero Serra.

Taron, +4

  • Up from 31 baby girls in 2014 to 35 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: actor Taron Egerton.

Names that went down:

Names not on the SSA’s list in 2015:

  • Aslaug
  • Bryshere
  • Cookie
  • Dameron
  • DuVernay
  • Empire
  • Furiosa
  • Halsey
  • Jeralean
  • Junipero
  • Jussie
  • Lagertha
  • Rey (as a girl name)
  • Sonoya
  • Trump

Did any of these surprise you?

P.S. Some of the names from the 2014 game that have started/continued to do well: Hazel, Amal, Tauriel, and Wyatt (as a girl name). Elsa and Anna, on the other hand, both saw drops in usage.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2015

pop culture baby name game 2015

Two momentous things happen every year on December 2. First, Britney Spears celebrates her birthday. (Happy b-day, Brit-Brit!) Second, NBN kicks off another round of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game.

Which baby names will see significant movement on the baby name charts in 2015 thanks to popular culture (television, music, movies, sports, current events, products/advertising, video games, etc.)? Comment below with your guesses. Don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence.

Here are a few to start us off:

  • Adaline – the movie The Age of Adaline was released in April
  • Arlo – the movie The Good Dinosaur was released in November
  • Atticus – the book Go Set a Watchman was released in July
  • Bernie – Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign in May
  • Bryshere, Cookie, Empire, Hakeem, Jussie, Lola, Lucious, Lyon, Taraji, Trai – the show Empire debuted in January
  • Denali – the mountain was renamed in August
  • Furiosa – the movie Mad Max was released in May (suggested by Megan)
  • Jeralean – supercentenarian Jeralean Talley died in June (suggested by elbowin)
  • Junipero, Serra – 18th-century priest Junipero Serra was canonized in September
  • Lucille – musician B. B. King died in May (suggested by elbowin)
  • Margo, Quentin – the movie Paper Towns was released in July
  • Misty – ballerina Misty Copeland became the ABT’s first-ever African-American female principal dancer in June
  • Roland, Vanessa – the movie By the Sea was released in November
  • Trump – Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign in June

I’ll post the results in mid-May, after the SSA releases the 2015 baby name data. If you don’t want to miss the results post, subscribe!

Previous rounds of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011: #1 & #2, 2010.

Goodbye, Gertrude…Again

Last month I spotted an article about the decline of certain old-fashioned baby names in the UK.

(The first two words in the title were “Goodbye Gertrude.” Wait a minute, I thought. Hasn’t the UK already said goodbye to Gertrude? Hm.)

Anyway…

The article, drawing from a recent Ancestry.co.uk study, listed baby names that are now “extinct,” “endangered,” and “at risk” in the UK.

  • Extinct Baby Names (no longer on the England & Wales baby name list)
    • Cecil, Rowland, Willie
    • Bertha, Blodwen*, Fanny, Gertrude, Gladys, Margery, Marjorie, Muriel
  • Endangered Baby Names (fallen in prevalence by 99% since 1905)
    • Clifford, Horace, Harold, Leslie, Norman
    • Doris, Edna, Ethel, Hilda, Marion, Phyllis
  • At-Risk Baby Names (fallen in prevalence by 98% since 1905)
    • Arnold, Bernard, Clarence, Cyril, Ernest, Fred, Herbert, Percy, Roland, Sydney, Trevor, Walter
    • Ann, Dorothy, Eveline, Freda, Gwendoline, Irene, Jane, Janet, Jennie, Lilian, Lizzie, Margaret, Mary, Maud, Mildred, Nellie, Rhoda, Winifred

I wonder how Derek fared in their study.

The article also mentioned that, over the years, some names have been outpaced by their diminutive forms — Alfred by Alfie, Frederick by Freddie, Archibald by Archie, Charles by Charlie, Alexandra by Lexi, Sophia by Sophie, Eleanor by Ellie, and so forth.

*Blodwen is Welsh for “white flowers.” The Breton form is Bleuzen, in case you were wondering.

Sources: Goodbye Gertrude, hello Lexi: records show UK demise of some baby names, Cecil, Bertha and Gertrude — Britain’s ‘Endangered’ Names Revealed

What Would You Name the Two Frenchmen?

The image below, of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, was captured in early 1838 by Louis Daguerre, inventor of the daguerreotype.

It may be the earliest surviving photograph of a person. Two people, actually. Both are in the lower left:

Daguerreotype: Boulevard du Temple

Here’s a close-up:

Boulevard du Temple, detail

The standing man is getting his shoe shined, and the other man (partially obscured) is doing the shoe-shining.

Of all the people on the sidewalk that day, these were the only two to stay still long enough (about 10 minutes) to be captured in the image.

Now for the fun part!

What would you name these two Frenchmen?

Let’s pretend you’re writing a book set in Paris in the 1830s, and these are two of your characters. What names would you give them?

Here’s a long list of traditional French male names, to get you started:

Abel
Absolon
Achille
Adam
Adolphe
Adrien
Aimé
Alain
Alban
Albert
Alexandre
Alfred
Alphonse
Amaury
Amroise
Amédée
Anatole
André
Anselme
Antoine
Antonin
Apollinaire
Ariel
Aristide
Armand
Arnaud
Arsène
Arthur
Aubert
Aubin
Auguste
Augustin
Aurèle
Aurélien
Baptiste
Barnabé
Barthélémy
Basile
Bastien
Benjamin
Benoit
Bernard
Bertrand
Blaise
Boniface
Bruno
Calixte
Camille
Céleste
Célestin
Césaire
César
Charles
Christian
Christophe
Clair
Claude
Clément
Clovis
Constant
Constantin
Corentin
Corin
Corneille
Cosme
Cyril
Damien
Daniel
David
Denis
Déodat
Désiré
Didier
Dieudonné
Dimitri
Diodore
Dominique
Donat
Donatien
Edgar
Edgard
Edmé
Edmond
Édouard
Élie
Eloi
Émeric
Émile
Émilien
Emmanuel
Enzo
Éric
Ermenegilde
Ernest
Ethan
Étienne
Eugène
Eustache
Évariste
Évrard
Fabien
Fabrice
Félicien
Félix
Ferdinand
Fernand
Fiacre
Firmin
Florence
Florent
Florentin
Florian
Francis
François
Frédéric
Gabriel
Gaël
Gaëtan
Gaspard
Gaston
Gaubert
Geoffroy
Georges
Gérard
Géraud
Germain
Gervais
Ghislain
Gilbert
Gilles
Gratien
Grégoire
Guatier
Guillaume
Gustave
Guy
Hector
Henri
Herbert
Hercule
Hervé
Hilaire
Hippolyte
Honoré
Horace
Hubert
Hugues
Humbert
Hyacinthe
Ignace
Irénée
Isidore
Jacques
Jason
Jean
Jérémie
Jérôme
Joachim
Jocelyn
Joël
Jonathan
Joseph
Josse
Josué
Jourdain
Jules
Julien
Juste
Justin
Laurent
Laurentin
Lazare
Léandre
Léo
Léon
Léonard
Léonce
Léonide
Léopold
Lionel
Loïc
Lothaire
Louis
Loup
Luc
Lucas
Lucien
Lucrèce
Ludovic
Maël
Marc
Marcel
Marcellin
Marin
Marius
Martin
Mathieu
Mathis
Matthias
Maurice
Maxence
Maxime
Maximilien
Michaël
Michel
Modeste
Narcisse
Nathan
Nathanaël
Nazaire
Nicéphore
Nicodème
Nicolas
Noé
Noël
Norbert
Odilon
Olivier
Onésime
Pascal
Patrice
Paul
Philippe
Pierre
Placide
Pons
Prosper
Quentin
Rainier
Raoul
Raphaël
Raymond
Régis
Rémy
René
Reynaud
Richard
Robert
Roch
Rodolphe
Rodrigue
Roger
Roland
Romain
Rosaire
Ruben
Salomon
Samuel
Sébastien
Séraphin
Serge
Sévère
Séverin
Simon
Sylvain
Sylvestre
Télesphore
Théodore
Théophile
Thibault
Thierry
Thomas
Timothée
Toussaint
Urbain
Valentin
Valère
Valéry
Vespasien
Victor
Vincent
Vivien
Xavier
Yves
Zacharie

For some real-life inspiration, here are lists of famous 19th century and 20th century French people, courtesy of Wikipedia. Notice that many of the Frenchman have double-barreled, triple-barreled, even quadruple-barreled given names. (Daguerre himself was named Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre.)

Source: The First Photograph of a Human