Where did the baby name Decca come from?

Decca advert from the of 1955.

In the mid-1950s, the name Decca was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: 5 baby girls named Decca [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

The reason?

My guess is the famous record company Decca. I don’t have a specific reason why it would have emerged in the data in that particular year, but around that time they were putting out popular artists like Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Darin, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Tex Williams, Buddy Holly, and Bill Haley (of “Rock Around the Clock” fame).

The American branch of the British record company Decca was launched in 1934. The British company was created in 1929, but not from scratch — it began as a piece of a much older music company that had been sold off.

The older company was called Barnett Samuel and Sons (est. 1832). It was a family business that originally made musical instruments like banjos and pianos. Only in 1914 did the company begin making portable gramophones under the trade name “Decca,” which one of the Samuels had coined by taking the easy-to-pronounce word Mecca and changing it to Decca, using the “D” from Dulcephone (another of the company’s disk-playing products).

The Decca label is still around today — it’s part of Universal Music Group — but it’s nowhere near as prevalent as it used to be.

What do you think of “Decca” as a baby name?

Sources: Decca Records – Wikipedia, Barnett Samuel and Sons – Grace’s Guide, Explanation of the Word “Decca” – G&S Discography
Image from the Dec. 31, 1955, issue of Billboard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.