What turned Suave into a baby name in 1988?

The single "My Girl" (1988) by Suavé.
Suavé single

When I first spotted Suave in the U.S. baby name data, I immediately thought of the Gerardo song “Rico Suave” (1990). But that wasn’t the explanation, because the song was released two years after the name first appeared:

  • 1990: 6 baby boys named Suave
  • 1989: 7 baby boys named Suave
  • 1988: 17 baby boys named Suave [debut/peak]
  • 1987: unlisted
  • 1986: unlisted

So where did Suave come from?

The inspiration was singer Suavé (pronounced swah-VAY), born Waymond Anderson. His cover of the Temptations’ 1964 song “My Girl” reached #20 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in 1988.

The English word suave means “charming, confident.” (It comes from the Latin word suavis, meaning “sweet, pleasant.”) Here’s how Ebony magazine defined Suavé’s name in a late 1988 article about up-and-coming singers:

Suave means sophisticated and urbane, but it is also the name of one of Los Angeles’ hottest solo artists.

What are your thoughts on the name Suave/Suavé?


P.S. The 1991 movie My Girl, which takes its title from the same Temptations song, gave a boost to the name Vada

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