Where did the baby name Rosalita come from in 1943?

The Al Dexter song "Rosalita" (1942).
“Rosalita” sheet music

The baby name Rosalita first popped up in the U.S. baby name data in 1943:

  • 1945: 21 baby girls named Rosalita
  • 1944: 36 baby girls named Rosalita [peak]
  • 1943: 19 baby girls named Rosalita [debut]
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted

Where did it come from?

A country song called “Rosalita” by Al Dexter and His Troopers. Dexter wrote the song in 1942, but the release was delayed until 1943 due to the wartime musicians’ strike.

Here’s the song:

The lyrics (Rosalita, my little rose of the rancho) suggest that the name means “little rose” in Spanish, and this is somewhat true. Rosalita is a diminutive of the name Rosalía, which is based on the Latin word for “rose,” rosa. The actual word for “little rose” in Spanish, though, is rosita (the diminutive of rosa).

Thinking “Rosalita” would be a big hit, Dexter offhandedly wrote and recorded a song called “Pistol Packin’ Mama” for the reverse side of the record. “Rosalita” did well, but not nearly as well as “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” which ended up becoming Dexter’s best-known song. That said, “Rosalita” did reach #1 on Billboard’s country music chart — at that time called the “Most Played Juke Box Folk Records” chart — in March of 1944.

What do you think of the name Rosalita?

P.S. Al Dexter’s birth name was Clarence Albert Poindexter.

Source: Meet the Artist: Biographical Sketches of Leading Performing Artists with Listings of Their Recordings of BMI-licensed Songs. New York: Broadcast Music, Inc., 1952.

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Your email address will not be published.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.