- 1960: 118 baby girls named Keely
- 1959: 119 baby girls named Keely
- 1958: 84 baby girls named Keely
- 1957: 7 baby girls named Keely [debut]
- 1956: unlisted
Keely debuted the year Virginia-born jazz vocalist Keely Smith had her first big solo hit, “I Wish You Love.” The next year, she and her duet partner/husband Louis Prima scored another hit with the song “That Old Black Magic.” In fact, the song won ‘Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus’ at the very first Grammy Awards, in May of 1959.
Keely Smith, born Dorothy Jacqueline Keely, had spent much of the ’50s performing in Vegas with Prima. He had originally wanted to call her Dottie Mae Smith (Smith being her stepfather’s name) but, as she later said: “I was no Dottie Mae.” They settled on using her Irish surname as her first name instead. (The surname means “descendant of Caollaidhe,” with “Caollaidhe” being a male personal name derived from caol, meaning “slender.”)
Which name do you prefer, Keely or Kelly?
- Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
- Selvin, Joel. “Keely Smith ’50s demure hippest kitten speaks freely now.” San Francisco Chronicle 20 Mar. 2008.