Alt-rock baby names of the 1990s

Pearl Jam held a festival over Labor Day weekend to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut album, Ten.

The news reminded me that I’ve seen the name Vedder (the surname of Pearl Jam vocalist Eddie Vedder) in the U.S. baby name data.

But I didn’t see it in the SSA data of the early ’90s, which was when grunge band Pearl Jam was at the height of its fame. Nope — Vedder didn’t start popping up until more than a decade later, surprisingly:

  • 2010: 7 baby boys named Vedder
  • 2009: 6 baby boys named Vedder
  • 2008: not listed
  • 2007: 6 baby boys named Vedder
  • 2006: not listed
  • 2005: 5 baby boys named Vedder [debut]
  • 2004: not listed
  • 2003: not listed

The same thing happened to Cobain, surname of Nirvana vocalist Kurt Cobain:

  • 2010: 8 baby boys named Cobain
  • 2009: 5 baby boys named Cobain
  • 2008: 7 baby boys named Cobain
  • 2007: 5 baby boys named Cobain
  • 2006: not listed
  • 2005: 6 baby boys named Cobain
  • 2004: 5 baby boys named Cobain [debut]
  • 2003: not listed

And to Reznor, surname of Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails:

  • 2010: 6 baby boys named Reznor
  • 2009: 9 baby boys named Reznor
  • 2008: 8 baby boys named Reznor
  • 2007: not listed
  • 2006: 6 baby boys named Reznor
  • 2005: not listed
  • 2004: 5 baby boys named Reznor [debut]
  • 2003: not listed

Interesting, isn’t it? These names didn’t become trendy while the associated alt-rock acts were big, but they’ve begun trickling in years after the fact. As if the teens of the ’90s needed a few years to grow up and start having their own kids first.

Contrast this with names like Rihanna, Beyonce, Kanye, and Shania. These names became popular on a much larger scale while the corresponding pop stars were hitting it big. Quite a difference.

Sources: Pearl Jam Fest Wows With Chris Cornell/Temple of The Dog, Multiple Guests – Billboard, SSA

4 thoughts on “Alt-rock baby names of the 1990s

  1. I named my son Cobain in 2001, his middle name is Hendrix. I had no idea there is other kids out there with his name.

  2. Two updates:

    1. I forgot to mention the baby name Weiland, possibly inspired by Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots. Debuted in 2002.

    2. Usage for all three names went up a bit in 2011:

    Vedder: 12 baby boys
    Cobain: 12 baby boys
    Reznor: 14 baby boys

  3. Usage in 2012:

    Vedder: 13 baby boys
    Cobain: 6 baby boys
    Reznor: 11 baby boys

    Just a few days ago was the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Do you think usage of the name Cobain could spike in 2014 because of this?

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