What gave the baby name Angelia a boost in 1990?

Richard Marx's single "Angelia" (1989)
Richard Marx single “Angelia”

The name Angelia was most popular during the 1960s and ’70s, but it also saw a distinct spike in usage several decades later:

  • 1992: 168 baby girls named Angelia
  • 1991: 239 baby girls named Angelia [ranking: 841st]
  • 1990: 484 baby girls named Angelia [ranking: 500th]
  • 1989: 174 baby girls named Angelia [ranking: 990th]
  • 1988: 94 baby girls named Angelia
Graph of the usage of the baby name Angelia in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Angelia

What was the cause?

The rock ballad “Angelia” (pronounced ayn-jah-lee-ah) by Richard Marx. The song was released as a single in September of 1989 and reached #4 on Billboard‘s “Hot 100” chart in December.

How did Marx come to use the name “Angelia” in a song? Here’s how he explained it:

[T]he name came from a flight attendant. The extent of my relationship with the actual Angelia is that she served me a ginger ale on the plane. […] The band and I were on a flight down in Dallas or somewhere in the south going to a gig, and this girl was smiling as she was coming up the aisle with the beverage cart, and I thought, Oh, she’s got to be new, because she was smiling and happy. (laughs) Really pretty girl. And when she got to my aisle, I noticed her name tag was Angelia. Actually, I thought it was ANG-e-lia, and I commented how much I thought her name was beautiful. And she said, “I actually pronounce it Ange-LI-a.”

Marx was working on a song at that time, and the only thing the song was missing was a four-syllable girl name. Angelia’s name happened to fit perfectly.

I knew I wanted a girls’ name, because I’d never written a song with a girls’ name, and every rock singer has to have one, at least. I think it’s the law somewhere. And I didn’t want, you know, Ethel Feinberg to be the four syllables. Nothing against any Ethel Feinbergs out there, but I wanted it to be a beautiful name. So it came just in time, because I was really trying to get that song finished, and we took that flight, and there was this gorgeous name.

What are your thoughts on the name Angelia?

Sources: Angelia (song) – Wikipedia, Richard Marx: Songwriter Interviews – Songfacts, SSA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.