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. babies, of either one gender or the other, 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, gender-specific, 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.”
In October of 1981, NBC began airing a sitcom called Love, Sidney. It was the first show on American TV with a gay lead character (although Sidney’s homosexuality was largely downplayed).
Actors Tony Randall, Swoosie Kurtz and 8-year-old Kaleena Kiff played the three main characters Sidney, Laurie and Patti. Despite the ground-breaking nature of Randall’s character, it was Kiff who made the biggest impression on TV viewers (if you go by the baby name charts, at least).
The baby name Kaleena went from being given to fewer than 5 baby girls in 1980 to being given to dozens, then hundreds, of baby girls over the next few years:
1986: 79 baby girls named Kaleena
1985: 82 baby girls named Kaleena
1984: 101 baby girls named Kaleena
1983: 341 baby girls named Kaleena
1982: 270 baby girls named Kaleena
1981: 41 baby girls named Kaleena [debut]
1980: unlisted (fewer than 5 baby girls)
The name Kalina also got a boost in the early ’80s.
Kaleena was fifth-highest debut of 1981, after Fallon, Toccara, Nastassia and Falon. Sixth through tenth were Yalitza, Natassia, Yuliana, Shiona, and a 5-way tie between Dynasty, Jadyn, Laiza, Shambrica and Tijwana.
What are your thoughts on the name Kaleena?
P.S. A name-related tweet from Kaleena Kiff herself: “Everyone on our set is called Fergus, Angus, or Fraser. I must be shooting in Glasgow. #LegendofBarney” That hashtag refers to the upcoming movie The Legend of Barney Thomson, which is set in Scotland and features a character by the name of Cemolina (played by Emma Thompson).