How popular is the baby name Chantel in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Chantel.

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Popularity of the baby name Chantel

Posts that mention the name Chantel

Where did the baby name Shirelle come from in 1961?

The Shirelles
The Shirelles

The name Shirelle debuted impressively in the U.S. baby name data 1961:

  • 1963: 25 baby girls named Shirelle
  • 1962: 19 baby girls named Shirelle
  • 1961: 21 baby girls named Shirelle [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

The variant spelling Shirell debuted that year as well.

What influenced both of these names?

The Shirelles, a New Jersey-based girl group made up teenagers Shirley Owens, Doris Coley, Addie “Micki” Harris, and Beverly Lee.

Signed in the late 1950s, the foursome became famous in the early 1960s with a string of hits including “Tonight’s the Night,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (which ranked #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart for two weeks in early 1961), and “Mama Said.”

Here’s the audio of their biggest hit, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”:

The group’s name — likely inspired by that of The Chantels — was created by combining the initial syllable of Shirley’s name with the French feminine ending –elle.

Which name do you like better, Shirelle or Chantel?

Sources: The Shirelles – Wikipedia, SSA

Image: Clipping from the cover of The Cash Box magazine (15 Apr. 1961)

Where did the baby name Chantel come from in 1957?

chantels, music, 1950s, doowop

Though The Chantels were technically the second African-American girl-group (after the Bobbettes) to achieve chart success, they missed being first by just a matter of weeks.

The quintet of Catholic choir girls — Arlene, Lois, Renee, Jackie, and Sonia — hit the scene in the latter half of 1957 with two singles: “He’s Gone,” released in August, and “Maybe,” released in December.

“Maybe” ended up becoming a hit in early 1958, reaching #2 on the R&B charts and #15 on the Hot 100. Here are the Chantels singing (well, lip-syncing) “Maybe” on The Dick Clark Show in March:

The word “Chantels” never ended up in the U.S. baby name data, but the non-plural form Chantel started popping up in 1957:

  • 1959: 5 baby girls named Chantel
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 5 baby girls named Chantel [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted

The spelling Chantell debuted in 1958.

And look what happened in the early ’60s:


I’m not sure what caused that explosion of variants in 1963. The Chantels’ next-biggest hit, “Look In My Eyes” (1961), is probably too early to account for it. The answer might be the 1962 movie If a Man Answers, which featured a character named Chantal played by Sandra Dee.

So where did the Chantels get their name? From a Catholic parish in the Bronx — but not their own, St. Anthony of Padua. Here’s the story:

The girls were performing at a dance at St. Francis [sic] de Chantal parish in Throgs Neck, got a terrific hand from the audience, and had a brainstorm for the name of their group.

They simply altered Chantal — a French place name meaning “stony” — to create Chantel.

Do you like the name Chantel? Do you like it more or less than Chantal?


Where did the baby name Shondell come from in 1968?

The Tommy James and the Shondells single "I Think We're Alone Now" (1967)
Tommy James and the Shondells single

The unisex baby name Shondell first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the late 1960s:

  • 1971: 22 baby girls and 12 baby boys named Shondell
  • 1970: 13 baby girls and 8 baby boys named Shondell
  • 1969: 15 baby girls and 5 baby boys [debut] named Shondell
  • 1968: 7 baby girls [debut] named Shondell
  • 1967: unlisted

In fact, lots of Shondell-like names (such as Shondel, Shandell, Shandel, Shawndell, Shawndel, and Chandelle) debuted in the late ’60s.

What was the inspiration?

Rock band Tommy James and the Shondells. Their biggest hits — which include “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mony Mony,” and “Crimson and Clover” — came out during the last half of the 1960s.

The band name was coined by lead singer Tommy James (born Thomas Jackson). He’d borrowed “Shondell” from the name of a solo singer he admired, Troy Shondell.

Troy Shondell (born Gary Schelton) had this to say about his stage name:

I didn’t want to be associated with all the tracks that Mercury still hadn’t released on me so I changed Shelton to Shondell, but there was already a Chantels; and Troy Donahue was a popular actor. I figured I’d might as well go with the best.

Interesting that he was inspired in part by The Chantels, as they had influenced the baby name charts in a similar way a decade earlier.

Which name do you like better, Chantel or Shondell?