What gave the baby name Scotty a boost in 1971?

Bobby Goldsboro's single "Watching Scotty Grow" (1970)
The single “Watching Scotty Grow”

According to the U.S. baby name data, the name Scotty saw its highest-ever usage in the early 1970s:

  • 1973: 696 baby boys named Scotty [rank: 268th]
  • 1972: 757 baby boys named Scotty [rank: 260th]
  • 1971: 1,118 baby boys named Scotty [rank: 210th]
  • 1970: 574 baby boys named Scotty [rank: 330th]
  • 1969: 607 baby boys named Scotty [rank: 308th]
Graph of the usage of the baby name Scotty in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Scotty


Because of the song “Watching Scotty Grow” [vid] by Bobby Goldsboro. It was released in October of 1970 and peaked at #11 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in February of 1971.

Songwriter Mac Davis wrote “Watching Scotty Grow” about his young son, Scotty. He’d taken Scotty to the office with him one day, and that’s when inspiration struck:

He was a typical 5-year-old and was in my hair with questions, “Daddy” this and “Daddy” that.

Finally, I gave him a yellow legal pad and a felt tip pen. I said, “Draw Daddy a picture.” So he started drawing, and I’m trying to write a song. All of a sudden he shows me this picture that he’d drawn. It was a crude little rocket ship, and on the side of it, it had “P-R-L-F-Q.” I said, “Well, what does that spell?” And he said “Mom and Dad.” Yikes!

The song (as Mac Davis sings it) starts with the lyrics:

There he sits with a pen and a yellow pad
He’s a handsome lad
That’s my boy
PRLFQ spells mom and dad
Well that ain’t too bad
‘Cause that’s my boy

Singer Bobby Goldsboro asked if he could change the name in the song from “Scotty” to “Danny” — the name of his own son — but Davis wouldn’t give him permission:

I said, “Nope.”


I said, “I just can’t do it.” He said, “Well, OK, then.” … I just couldn’t do that to my son. I wanted it to be his name.

The song also managed to nudge the name Scott (which we talked about in the Lancer post earlier this week) into the boys’ top 10 for the first and only time:

  • 1973: 18,982 baby boys named Scott [rank: 18th]
  • 1972: 22,857 baby boys named Scott [rank: 11th]
  • 1971: 30,919 baby boys named Scott [rank: 10th] (peak usage)
  • 1970: 28,588 baby boys named Scott [rank: 12th]
  • 1969: 28,668 baby boys named Scott [rank: 12th]
Graph of the usage of the baby name Scott in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Scott

What are your thoughts on the name Scotty? (How about Scott?)


2 thoughts on “What gave the baby name Scotty a boost in 1971?

  1. It mostly just makes me think of Star Trek when I hear the name Scotty, and the daughter of F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald (Frances Scott Fitzgerald, who went by Scottie). I don’t think I’ve ever known someone IRL who goes by Scotty, but I’ve known plenty of people named Scott, including my uncle. It’s not a favorite name for me, but I don’t mind it. I don’t have preconceived expectations of what a Scott will be like.

    I think it’s sad that a 5 year old could not spell ‘mom and dad’, but I like Mac Davis.

  2. I like the name Scott well enough, but Scotty makes me think of a Scottie aka a Scottish Terrier. Or, of course Star Trek and “Beam me up, Scotty”, but mostly the dogs.

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.