Where did the baby name Caramia come from in 1966?

Jay and the Americans performing the song "Cara Mia" on the TV show "Shindig!" in 1965
Jay and the Americans performing “Cara Mia”

The name Caramia first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1966:

  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: 6 baby girls name Caramia [debut]
  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: unlisted

The names Cara and Mia also saw boosts in usage that year.

So what turned the Italian phrase cara mia, meaning “my beloved,” into a U.S. baby name in the mid-1960s?

The song “Cara Mia” by Jay and the Americans, which peaked at #4 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 in July of 1965. Here are Jay and The Americans performing “Cara Mia” on the musical variety series Shindig! in 1965:

The song was originally recorded in 1954 by British singer David Whitfield. His rather operatic version [vid] sold well in the U.S, but not well enough for the name to emerge in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1950s. (A name needs to be given to at least five U.S. babies per year to be included in the data.) That said, I have come across records for a couple dozen U.S. babies named Caramia/Cara Mia during that time period.

What are your thoughts on the name Caramia?

P.S. The original lead singer of Jay and the Americans was not named “Jay,” but John. His replacement — who is singing “Cara Mia” in the video above — was also not a “Jay,” but a David.

Sources: Cara Mia by Jay & the Americans, SSA

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Caramia come from in 1966?

  1. I remember it from Addams Family reruns. Gomez would call Morticia that as he kissed her arm.

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