What gave the baby name Cyndi a boost in the 1980s?

Cyndi Lauper's debut album "She's So Unusual" (1983)
Cyndi Lauper album

The name Cyndi saw a steep rise in usage during the second half of the 1950s, thanks to a song featuring the name Cindy.

It saw another increase in the mid-1980s — though this second spike didn’t last as long, or reach as high. Here are the numbers, followed by the graph:

  • 1986: 58 baby girls named Cyndi
  • 1985: 88 baby girls named Cyndi
  • 1984: 61 baby girls named Cyndi
  • 1983: 28 baby girls named Cyndi
  • 1982: 25 baby girls named Cyndi
Graph of the usage of the baby name Cyndi in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Cyndi

What caused the smaller spike?

Music again — but this time it was a singer, not a song.

Eclectic pop star Cyndi Lauper released her debut album, She’s So Unusual, in October of 1983.

The album produced six singles, four of which became top-5 hits on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart during 1984:

  • “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (reached #2 in March)
  • “Time After Time” (#1 in June)
  • “She Bop” (#3 in September)
  • “All Through the Night” (#5 in December)

Also in 1984, the video for “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (below) won the inaugural MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video.

Cyndi Lauper was born Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper in 1953 — several years before the names Cynthia and Cindy reached peak trendiness.

At the age of eighteen, she started going by “Cyndi” instead of “Cindy” at the suggestion of a friend with whom she’d been hitchhiking:

So Richie and I headed to Massachusetts, and we would set up camp and sleep in the woods along the way. We were sitting by the fire one time and he said to me, “You know what? You shouldn’t spell your name ‘Cindy,’ you should spell it C-Y-N-D-I.” So I did.

What are your thoughts on the name Cyndi? Which spelling do you prefer?


2 thoughts on “What gave the baby name Cyndi a boost in the 1980s?

  1. I love her so much. My ex and I went to see her show about 10 years ago, and she stopped playing in the middle of a song to admonish some older women who were giving teen girls a hard time about dancing. She said [paraphrasing], “Weren’t you ever young? You’re supposed to dance at a concert.”

    I like Cynthia more than any spelling of Cyndi, but if I had to choose a spelling, Cyndi would be it, just because of Lauper.

  2. I saw her in concert once as well, maybe 12 or 13 years ago, and I was impressed by how much energy she had. (She was dancing, running up and down the aisles, etc.) And she still sounded great. Really fun show.

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