A mandrill is a monkey native to western central Africa. So it’s very curious that Mandrill popped up in the U.S. baby name data for 4 years straight in the middle of the 1970s:
- 1977: unlisted
- 1976: 9 baby boys named Mandrill
- 1975: 8 baby boys named Mandrill
- 1974: 6 baby boys named Mandrill
- 1973: 6 baby boys named Mandrill [debut]
- 1972: unlisted
- 1971: unlisted
What put it there?
A Brooklyn-based funk band called Mandrill.
One of the most progressive funk bands, Mandrill brandish a jam-heavy form of funk liberally infused with Latin, Caribbean, and jazz influences, plus gospel, blues, psychedelia, African music, and straight-up rock.
Mandrill was formed by Panamanian-American brothers Ric, Lou, and Carlos Wilson in 1968. The band had seven members by the time the first album was released in 1971.
In total, three of Mandrill’s songs — one from their debut album, plus two more from their third album — ended up reaching Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart:
- “Mandrill,” which peaked at #94 in June of 1971
- “Fencewalk,” which peaked at #52 in June of 1973
- “Hang Loose,” which peaked at #83 in August of 1973
The brothers named their band after the mandrill “because of its distinctive, colorful face and well-developed, family-oriented social organization.” The covers of several of Mandrill’s albums (including the first, below) feature the face of a mandrill.
What are your thoughts on Mandrill as a baby name?