What gave the baby name Marylou a boost in 1927?

Abe Lyman's California Orchestra single "Mary Lou" (1926)
“Mary Lou” recording

The baby name Marylou was on the rise in the 1920s, but usage increased sharply for a couple of years in the middle of the decade:

  • 1929: 183 baby girls named Marylou [rank: 498th]
  • 1928: 183 baby girls named Marylou [rank: 512th]
  • 1927: 281 baby girls named Marylou [rank: 410th]
  • 1926: 146 baby girls named Marylou [rank: 588th]
  • 1925: 82 baby girls named Marylou [rank: 824th]

Here’s the popularity graph:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Marylou in the United States since 1880
Usage of the baby name Marylou


Because of the song “Mary Lou,” which was composed in early 1926 by Abe Lyman, George Waggner, and J. Russel Robinson.

The first recording of the song was released by Abe Lyman’s own California Orchestra.

Recordings by other orchestras soon followed. They were released during the remainder of 1926 and into early 1927.

The song became a hit for both Abe Lyman and the Ipana Troubadours, whose version was released in October of 1926. (The Troubadours had a radio show sponsored by Ipana Toothpaste, hence their name.)

Here’s the song:

(The company that published Abe Lyman’s rendition of the song, Brunswick Records, often included Spanish-language translations of song titles on their record labels. For name-title “Mary Lou,” they chose the translation “Maria Luisa.”)

Here’s a snippet of the lyrics (which seem to reference an upcoming wedding):

Why for miles around they’re waiting, to start their celebrating,
when you say “I do,” Mary Lou!

A baby girl born in Kentucky in early 1927 was given the radio-crowdsourced name Seroba Mary Lou Bartley. I still don’t know quite where Seroba came from, but it’s probable that Mary Lou was suggested by radio listeners familiar with the trendy song “Mary Lou.”


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Your email address will not be published.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.