Where did the baby name Fanita come from in 1965?

Fanita James performing on the TV series "Shindig" (Dec. 1964)
Fanita James on Shindig

The pretty name Fanita first popped up in the U.S. baby name data in 1965, and it stuck around for just one more year before disappearing again.

  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: 12 baby girls were named Fanita
  • 1965: 21 baby girls were named Fanita [debut]
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted

What put it there?

The story begins with The Blossoms, a West Coast girl group that began recording in the mid-1950s. One of the members was teenager Fanita Barrett. (Two others were similarly named twins Annette and Nanette Williams.)

The group was around for decades, with various lineups. They provided backup vocals for many major stars and songs of the 1960s, including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, “Johnny Angel” and “Monster Mash.”

But they were most visible right in the middle of the ’60s. That’s when The Blossoms were appearing weekly on TV as part of the musical variety show Shindig!, which lasted from September of 1964 until January of 1966.

The photo above came from an episode in which Fanita sang lead on the song “Goin’ Out of My Head.” The segment began with “Fanita James” (her married name) in all-caps at the bottom of the screen.

I’m not sure how Fanita’s parents came up with her name, but it reminds somewhat of Epifanía and other epiphany-derived names (which were traditionally given to babies born on/near the Christian holiday of the Epiphany, on January 6).

Do you like the name Fanita?

Sources: The Blossoms – Wikipedia, SSA
Image: Screenshot of Shindig

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