What turned Mandrill into a baby name in 1973?

Mandrill's album "Just Outside of Town" (1973)
Mandrill album

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.

Mandrill's self-titled debut album (1971)
Mandrill album

What are your thoughts on Mandrill as a baby name?

Source: Mandrill (band) – Wikipedia, Mandrill – AllMusic, Mandrill – Billboard

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