Pharrell Williams had been a successful producer (as part of The Neptunes) since the mid-1990s, working with Jay Z, Britney Spears, Nelly, Justin Timberlake, Kelis, and others.
But he didn’t start getting attention as a solo artist until 2003. That’s when when he released the single “Frontin’,” which peaked at #5 on the Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in September. (Crazily enough, 2003 was also the year that 43% of songs played on U.S. radio were produced by The Neptunes.)
The same year, the baby name Pharrell debuted impressively in the SSA’s baby name data:
And Pharrell Williams — who has a dad named Pharaoh and a son named Rocket, incidentally — has been on the scene ever since. But 2013 and 2014 were particularly big years for him, with the success of the songs “Blurred Lines” and “Happy,” and his new gig as a judge on The Voice.
Usage of the name cooled off after 2003, but there was a slight increase in 2013. Do you think Williams’ ongoing exposure will boost the name even higher in 2014?
Jaleesa debuted with 116 baby girls in 1987. Inspired by Jaleesa Vinson, a character on the TV sitcom A Different World.
Turkessa debuted with 119 baby girls in 1975. Inspired by Turkessa (b. 1975), baby of Supremes singer Mary Wilson.
Azure debuted with 121 baby girls in 1975. Inspired by Azure Dee, a character on the TV detective series Kojak. (Or by the song “Azure Dee,” inspired by the character and sung by Telly Savalas for that particular episode.)
Sharde debuted with 124 baby girls in 1985. Inspired by singer Sade [shah-DAY].
The final two groups of ten are coming up tomorrow and Friday. Stay tuned!
Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)
I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!