Songs That Made a Difference

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In essence, our conclusions are the result of a little reverse engineering. First we considered songs that were hugely popular in their day, and then we looked at the growth (or lack thereof) of the name involved in the song. If we saw anything "statistically" significant, we recorded it. Our results are not exactly scientific, but there is a fair amount of logic behind our rankings. 
 
Here are the Top 10 songs which have greatly influenced the usage of a baby name:
 
SONG ARTIST YEAR % DIF
Aubrey Bread 1972 610%
Mandy Barry Manilow 1974 507%
Jolene Dolly Parton 1973 260%
Hey There Delilah Plain White T’s 2006 223%
Amanda Don Williams / Waylon Jennings 1973-1974 203%
Layla Eric Clapton 1971 198%
Rosanna Toto 1982 154%
Linda Jack Lawrence 1946 89%
Hey Jude The Beatles 1968 69%
Michelle The Beatles 1965 67%
 
Some interesting facts uncovered in our research:
 
  • Aubrey was considered a masculine given name before Bread’s 1972 hit "Aubrey". The song basically put the name on the map for little girls, and since then it’s usage for baby boys diminished into non-existence.
  • The names highlighted in red above represent the names which saw the greatest number of babies given the name year-over-year (rather than the greatest change in percentage). For instance, from 1946 to 1947, Linda was bestowed on 46,978 additional baby girls compared to the previous year. The larger numbers also support the fact that these names were already quite fashionable, but the song still had a major influence.
  • Jude is the only masculine name on our list. The Beatles "Hey Jude" was also the #1 pop song for the entire 1968 year.
  • Jolene and Amanda are our only country-music inspired song names.
  • Parents were obviously overly-sentimental in the early 1970s. The time appeared ripe for naming one’s baby after some gushy song. 50% of these songs come from that decade alone.
  • Deliliah is the only 21st century song thanks to The Plain White T’s "Hey There Delilah".
  • Layla gets double-credit, because the name saw another 93% jump from 1992 to 1993 when Clapton released an award-winning acoustic version of "Layla".
  • Honorable Mentions include:  "My Sharona" by The Knack (1979), "Angie" by The Rolling Stones (1973), "Dolores" popularized by Bing Crosby (1941), "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls (1998), "Roxanne" by The Police (1978), "Cecilia" by Simon & Garfunkel (1970) and "Help Me, Rhonda" by the Beach Boys (1965).
  • Songs we were surprised did NOT have any material impact? Veronica (Elvis Costello), Athena (The Who), Alison (Elvis Costello), Sweet Virginia (The Rolling Stones), Cassidy (The Grateful Dead), Dear Prudence and Lovely Rita (both by The Beatles).
 
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