What gave the baby name Fontella a boost in 1965?

Fontella Bass' single "Rescue Me" (1965).
Fontella Bass single

According to the U.S. baby name data, the name Fontella saw its highest-ever usage in the middle of the 1960s:

  • 1968: 24 baby girls named Fontella
  • 1967: 33 baby girls named Fontella
  • 1966: 104 baby girls named Fontella [peak]
  • 1965: 49 baby girls named Fontella
  • 1964: 5 baby girls named Fontella

Fontella was the fastest-rising baby name of 1965, and it nearly entered the top 1,000 in 1966. It even gave rise to a variant form, Fontilla, which was a one-hit wonder in 1966.

So what gave Fontella a boost in the mid-’60s?

Missouri-born R&B/soul singer Fontella Bass, best known for her 1965 hit song “Rescue Me” (which many people mistakenly assume was sung by Aretha Franklin).

The Grammy-nominated song reached #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in November of that year. Also around that time, Fontella could be seen performing “Rescue Me” (and other songs) on various TV shows, such as The Lloyd Thaxton Show, Shindig, and Top of the Pops.

Here’s Fontella singing “Rescue Me”:

What are your thoughts on the baby name Fontella?

Sources: Fontella Bass – Wikipedia, Fontella Bass – Billboard, Fontella Bass – IMDb, Fontella Bass – Grammy.com, Fontella Bass – AllMusic

P.S. I happened to spot a 3-year-old named Fontella in an August 1969 issue of Jet, incidentally.

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