What gave baby name Ophelia a boost in the mid-2010s?

The Lumineers album "Cleopatra" (2016)
Lumineers album

The baby name Ophelia was already on the rise when, in 2016, it nearly doubled in usage:

  • 2018: 839 baby girls named Ophelia [rank: 373rd]
  • 2017: 764 baby girls named Ophelia [rank: 416th]
  • 2016: 532 baby girls named Ophelia [rank: 583rd]
  • 2015: 276 baby girls named Ophelia [rank: 979th]
  • 2014: 226 baby girls named Ophelia

What caused the acceleration?

My guess is the song “Ophelia” by folk-rock band The Lumineers. It was released in early 2016 and peaked at #66 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in April.

Oh, Ophelia
You’ve been on my mind, girl, since the flood

Here’s the music video:

The earliest versions of the song were inspired by the character Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet; the final version was more like “a vague reference to people falling in love with fame,” according to Lumineers songwriter Wesley Schultz.

For a time, Schultz tried to find a different name to feature in the song, because The Band already had a song called “Ophelia” (1975). He explained:

I felt like it was a parking spot that was already taken, you know? I didn’t want to encroach on this sacred space, that is their song called “Ophelia.”

But the more I started using other names, it just didn’t work. It wasn’t the right musicality to the word. I was trying to think of like a “Jo Jo” or something with the “O” and the “A” at the end, but it wasn’t working. Finally had no choice, but go with it.

What are your thoughts on the name Ophelia?


[Latest update: April 2023]

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Your email address will not be published.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.