There are many places to turn to for baby name inspiration with family names and names of good friends always being popular. You might be a literary buff and choose to name your child after your favorite writer or book character or perhaps you are a foodie who wished to honor their favorite chef or dish.
For many people, a special song from a meaningful moment in their relationship might spring a suitable name or maybe the moniker of a band or lead singer. However, it has recently become fashionable to name your child using the surname of a celebrity so we are being overrun by throngs of Bowie's, Jagger's, and the like with the parents having little if any idea about the music behind the name.
It is totally understandable if you want a baby name that tips a nod to some classic rock, a guitarist with nimble fingers, or a drummer that you idolize but do not want to look like a fashion victim who chose a name because someone on a reality TV show used it for their child. Nobody wants to be that person now, do they?
So, in an attempt to throw out a few names with a musical link here are 25 names from the title of rock songs for you to consider. They may not all be the most original or unique names but the story you have to tell when someone asks "what made you choose that name" will knock their socks off.
A number one single for The Rolling Stones in the United States and around the world, Angie was released in August 1973. Written predominately by Keith Richards, with contributions from Mick Jagger, there was much speculation at the time over who the meaning of the song was for.
In an interview in 1993 Keith Richards said the title was inspired by his then newborn daughter Dandelion Angela, but in his 2010 autobiography he said he picked the name at random and that in fact, he did not even know if his child was a boy or a girl at the time the song was written.
Pronounced AN-jee, it's a shortened version of Angela which in turn is the Feminine form of Angelus, meaning Angel. The name had a surge of popularity in the US during the 1970’s, probably as a result of the Rolling Stones record, but has steadily dropped out of fashion since then.
Taken from the title of “My Name Is Jonas,” the first track on the 1994 album Weezer, (this album is also sometimes known as The Blue Album) this song was inspired by singer Rivers Cuomo's brother, who was having insurance problems after a car crash.
While the subject matter isn’t very rock, the track itself is a rockin’ one and is considered one of the top ten Weezer songs because of its mood-setting power.
The name Jonas is the Greek form of Jonah which is, in turn, a form of the Hebrew name יוֹנָה (Yonah) meaning ‘dove.' This form of Jonah is popular in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and The Netherlands where it is pronounced YO-nahs. Popularity in the United States made a surge in the mid-2000’s but is steadily dropping year on year to the levels seen before the time The Jonas Brothers were a thing.
Written by Pixies frontman Black Francis Velouria is a love song written about a girl who is named after a piece of fabric. Yes, they made up the name Veloria, basing it on the velvet like fabric, velour.
Released in July 1990 the single featured on the album Bossanova was the first single to be released from the album and was the band's first UK number one single.
The song itself is a basic love song and when asked what the lyrics meant, Francis Black (he changed his name when the band broke up) said that it was folklore based and that “the Rosicrucians of 1920's San Jose California had some pretty interesting ideas.”
Pronounced ve-LAWR-ee-ə, you are pretty much guaranteed to have a one of a kind name if you choose this for your little bundle of joy. You will also be giving her a unique collection to a band that Kurt Cobain and David Bowie listed as a favorite or influence.
While not one of the world's most original names, Charlie is the name of a song by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers that Singer Anthony Kiedis has said, is about a person's imaginative spark or inspiration.
The song itself was never released as a single, but the band did hold a competition for someone to direct a video of the song. The video showed the band as kids, traveling through California and was dedicated to Hillel Slovak, the Chilli Peppers founding member and guitarist who died in 1988.
The name Charlie is a shortened version of Charles which is, in turn, the English version of Karl. There is some dispute over the meaning of the name Karl with one theory being that it comes from the Germanic word for ‘man’ and a second theory suggests it originates from a common Germanic name element that means ‘army’ or ‘warrior.' Although its popularity has declined, it still consistently makes top 50 boys names lists.
Lyla was the first single released from the 1990 Oasis album Don’t Believe The Truth, originally a demo track called sing that had been all but forgotten until just before the album was published. Noel Gallagher said in an interview that he didn’t realize how good the song was until he played it live. He has described it as both “specifically made for pogoing” and “annoyingly catchy.”
The name Lyla is a variant of Leila which in turn is a form of Layla which means ‘night’ in Arabic. It is pronounced LIE-lə and was rarely used up until 1945 when it fell out of the top 1000 US names altogether for the next 60 years. Since 2005 Lyla has crept back into the rankings but has never made the top 100 girls name list, so it is unlikely your little one will bump into another Lyla at school.
Rock legend Alice Cooper wrote this song about Dwight Frye, an actor who appeared in multiple Universal horror films during the 1930’s. Cooper had to drop the e at the end of Frye's name to prevent a lawsuit.
When he performed Ballad Of Dwight Fry in concert, Cooper would begin the song tied up in a straight jacket. During the performance, he would escape from the straight jacket and strangle a nurse. Of course, they were the earlier concerts; later the song finished with the fake beheading of Alice Cooper on stage.
The name itself was an English surname that traces its roots back through many steps to DIONYSOS the Greek god of revelry, wine, dance, and fertility. Dwight became popularized in the US as a first name in honor of the Yale president Timothy Dwight (1752-1817).
The name saw a brief resurgence in the 1940’s and 1950’s as a result of Eisenhower’s popularity but since then has gradually tailed off to the point it is rarely used today.
In an interview in 1989 vocalist and writer, Ian Astbury said the song was inspired by his time in New York when some friends showed him the movie Ciao Manhattan! prompting him to become interested in The Velvet Underground and the Warhol period.
The Edie in question was Edie Sedgwick an American heiress, socialite, actress, and fashion model who acted in many of Andy Warhol's movies in the 1960’s. Famous for her trademark look black leotards, mini dresses, and large chandelier earrings Sedgwick died in 1972 after a long struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.
Edie is the shortened version of Edith which is a combination of the Old English words for ‘wealth, fortune’ and ‘war’ and has been declining in use in the United States since 1920. However, since 2005 Edith has seen a resurgence of popularity in England and Wales with the name being used more and more each year.
Written as a letter from a mother to her child who has been shipped off to war, Dear Avery is a ballad sung by Colin Meloy who is accompanied by an acoustic guitar. In an interview with Time, Meloy said "They're kids, if you're a parent of one of these people, you just want to grab them by the scruff of their neck and yank them out of it. When they're that far out of arm's reach that must be devastating."
Avery pronounced AY-vər-ee is another surname turned forename from England. Originally a form of Alfred or Alberich, meaning King of the Elves, Avery is most popular as a girl’s name in the United States but is also a popular boy's name, as used in the song. It has climbed the popular name charts since it first emerged in the top 1,000 in 1989 and is now one of the top 20 girls names in the country.
Janie's Got A Gun was released in 1989 and was the second single from the Pump Album. Aerosmith is not known for tackling social issues in their songs, but Steven Tyler had been working on the song for some time before he read a Newsweek article on gunshot victims and tied the song into a girl shooting her abusive father.
Janie was originally a diminutive form of Jane but now stands well on its own. Jane is an old English name derived from the French Jehanne which in turn in the feminine form of Johnass. All of these names lead back to the Hebrew name e יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) which means “Yahweh is Gracious” or “God is Gracious.”
Never the most common form of the Jane group of names, 167 baby girls were named Janie in 2015, the latest year for which full figures are available. One word of caution, most people, named Janie love the name, but many of them say that they often get called Jamie which can be quite annoying.
Oh, George is a track from the first Foo Fighters album Foo Fighters. Written and performed entirely by Dave Grohl, except for one a guitar part on "X-Static" provided by Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs who was in the recording studios as Grohl rushed from room to room recording the various musical tracks.
It was Grohl's first recording project after the death of Kurt Cobain, and the entire album was laid down in only one week. Much speculation has taken place over the meaning of the lyrics, but Dave Grohl had said each of the songs on the album were written as gibberish at the time, about 20 minutes before the tracks were recorded. Since then he has said that, on reflection, perhaps some of them do have a subconscious meaning.
The George in the title is George Harrison, Grohl's favorite Beatle because the guitar riff in this one sounds like that of Harrisons riff in Something.
The name George has the very unglamourous meaning of ‘earth worker.’
The two guitar riffs define this song, Mandy, Fly Me from 10CC, and the story behind it changes according to which band member you ask. The earliest, most consistent, and most logical explanation is that of Eric Stewart who said in an interview with the BBC that he came up with the idea.
“National Airlines used to have this beautiful poster that they displayed of this gorgeous stewardess inviting you onto the plane. Now her name wasn't Mandy. It was something like, er, oh gosh knows, "I'm Cindy," a very American name. "I'm Cindy, fly me" which was a quite sexual connotation as well, but I remember seeing in Manchester this beautiful poster and just below it was this tramp, I mean a serious tramp, quite a raggedy guy, looking up at this girl, and I thought God, do you know, there's a song there. Look at that guy looking up at Cindy-fly-me and I know he's never gonna get on an airplane, I don't think, except in his dreams.”
Short for Amanda, meaning loveable, Mandy was briefly popular in the mid-seventies, possibly due to this song, but seldom heard today.
Curtis is another of those names that began as an Old English surname. Meaning courteous in Old French the English form has been used for centuries. Adapted as a first name Curtis has hovered consistently around the end of the top 100 boys names in the United States for over 150 years so if you choose this name it will be uncommon but not so out there that nobody has ever heard of it before.
The original line-up of Lynyrd Skynyrd only played “The Ballad Of Curtis Loew” once on stage, but it has become a fan favorite that appears on many of the compilation and best of albums.
The song is about a boy who collects soda bottles for money so he can pay a man called Curtis Loew to play the guitar. Everyone in the town thinks Leow is worthless and the boy's mother beats him for going back over and over to listen to Curtis play, and when Curtis dies nobody grieves for him. The character Curtis Loew in based on some people in Ronni Van Zant’s neighborhood.
Lola, meaning ‘sorrow.' Is the shortened version of Dolores, an English and Spanish name taken from the Spanish title for the Virgin Mary “María de Los Dolores, meaning "Mary of Sorrows." Very popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s, Dolores is not popular today, but Lola has seen a bit of a revival. In fact, it was very nearly our youngest daughters name because of this song, but at the last minute she was named after a character in a graphic novel - perhaps 25 graphic novel baby names will be next for me.
The Kinks' title, Lola, is famous for having an ambiguous gender identity and writer; Ray Davies has refused to pin down whether Lola is male or female although the consensus is that Lola is a transvestite.
Davies wrote the song after the Kinks manager spent the night in a Paris nightclub dancing with a beautiful transgender woman. At about 6 am the group were leaving the club, and Davies asked their manager, Robert Wace if he had noticed the woman's facial stubble. Their manager said yes, and went home with her. From this incident, a classic song was born.
Lullaby for Wyatt was written by Sheryl Crow for her son Wyatt, the little boy that she adopted in 2007. However, Wyatt himself was not a huge fan of the song when he was a baby. Crow said in an interview in USA Today:
"We went out on the road when he was around four months old. And whenever he would get a little fussy, we would just put on 'Shine Over Babylon, ' and he'd go straight down. He wasn't interested in hearing the quieter 'Lullaby for Wyatt,' instead "he wanted to hear something loud and boisterous!"
Wyatt has steadily been gaining in popularity in the United States and Canada since the beginning of the 1990’s. However, in the rest of the world, it is rarely used and is definitely seen as a North American name. Meaning “Brave in battle” it is another name on this list that has moved from being an Old English surname to a forename.
Beth was originally called Beck, is the highest charting Kiss single to date in the United States and is one of only two gold records for the band. Named one of the “25 Greatest Power Ballads” by VH1 Beth is sung by Kiss drummer Peter Criss and has none of the other members of the band playing. Instead, Criss is backed by a piano and a full string orchestra.
Criss and Stan Penridge came up with the song in their pre-Kiss days in response to their drummers' wife calling him at the studio all the time. Pennridge said in an interview:
"'Beck' was written, almost word for word, from Mike Brand's responses to his wife's constant calls that interrupted our rehearsals. It got to the point where I wrote down his remarks over a period of three or four days in what I called my 'wizard book.' It was merely a small notebook I carried to jot down silly sayings, sketch in, to save ideas. If you look at the lyrics and view them as a hen-pecked hubby's remarks to his nagging wife you'll see what I mean. Just pause after every sentence and pretend there's a bitch at the other end of the line. You'll catch it - I'm sure.”
The name Beth is short for Elizabeth meaning “my God is an oath” or Bethany meaning “house of figs.”
One of Iron Maiden's longer songs, Alexander the Great chronicles the life of the legendary King of Macedonia. Written by Steve Harris it is the last track on, Somewhere in Time and is considered by many as the best song on the album. It is generally very difficult to write an accurate song about a historical figure but Harris makes an excellent job of it, keeping to the story of Alexander the Great with only the last line “He died of fever in Babylon” in dispute. That is not because of his writing but because there are a number of differing theories about Alexander's death.
Alexander means “to defend men” and has been popular since 1986 when it broke into the top 50 boy's name list for the United States. It was originally a Greek name but due to the fame of Alexander the Great, its use spread across the world.
Polly is Nirvana's only song on Nevermind to feature drummer, Chad Channing who was with the band from 1988 until he was asked to leave and was replaced with Dave Grohl in 1990. The recoding of the song took place in 1989 for an album called Blew and was a feature of the band's live performances until their end in 1994.
At one point in the song Cobain sings “Polly says…” and pauses before starting over again. The band and the recording team liked the sound of it so much they left it on the album and incorporated it into their live performance.
The name Polly is actually a medieval variation of Molly and nobody knows how or why the first letter was changed. Molly is a form of Mary which has a wide range of theories about its origins. Some say it means “sea of bitterness”, “wished for child” or “rebellious” the last meaning being perfect for a rock song inspired name.
Written by The Who's bassist John Entwistle, Boris the Spider came into being because Pete Townsend ordered Entwistle to write a song for their second album A Quick One, which was named Happy Jack in the US.
Stories tell of John being in a pub with Rolling Stones bass guitarist Bill Wyman, getting drunk and talking about his childhood fear of spiders. They had been making up names for animals and Entwistle came up with ‘Boris the spider’. He then knocked out the entire song in just over five minutes. Townsend wanted everyone to write because the record company had offered the band a $1,000 advance if each member of the band wrote a song for the album.
A fan favorite, Boris was the only song on the album The Who continued to play live throughout their career and it prompted Entwistle to begin wearing a spider necklace at concerts.
Boris is from Turkic name Bogoris, meaning either "short" or "wolf" or "snow leopard".
From a much different version of The Foo Fighters than the one that recorded ‘Oh George’, ‘Dear Rosemary’ had Bob Mould from Husker Du playing guitar and singing vocals after Dave Grohl recruited him, especially for the song.
Theories abound about the meaning of the song and everything from ‘a husband getting ready to murder his wife’, ‘leaving an unhealthy relationship’, and ‘a reference to an F Scott Fitzgerald novel’ have been floated. However the most popular seem to be that it is about Rosemary Carroll, friend, and attorney of both Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love and alludes to information Rosemary has about Cobain's death but cannot reveal because of attorney-client privilege.
The name Rosemary is an English name that resulted when someone decided to squish together the names Rose and Mary in the 17th century. It was relatively popular in the US until the 1940’s when it fell out of fashion
Geno was written by Dexys Kevin ‘Al’ Archer and Kevin Rowland as a tribute to Geno Washington, a US soul singer the band looked up to. Washington was never really successful in the states but was popular in the UK, releasing hit records and playing with both Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd.
In an interview with the Guardian, Rowland said “I saw Geno Washington in '68 at the Railway Hotel in Harrow. I was 15 years old and out with all the older kids – you had to be 18 to get in – short-haired, cool-looking mods-turning-into-skinhead types. Looking back, it's probably not the best gig I've ever been to, but I didn't have anything to compare it to."
The name Geno is a diminutive of the English name Eugine meaning ‘well born’ which was popular in the United States from the turn of the 20th Century until the mid 1940’s from where it gradually declined.
Bob Young, never an official member of the band, was the Status Quo road manager and often contributed to the songwriting. Young and frontman Francis Rossi wrote the music first and then the lyrics to fit the tune. The original lyric was “England made a fool out of me” but when Rossi and Young were playing around with the words, they made up the name Claudie to fit in place of England.
Many of Status Quo's songs are about the breakup of relationships and many of Rossi's songs feature women. Although Claudie was not an actual person but a device to fit with the rhythm, she was based on real people. In an interview with Songfacts Rossi said "In my mind, it was my ex-wife, and in Bob's mind, it was his wife. And in the middle ground here is this relationship between two people who we imagined as just two people."
Most people know that the Jeremy in the title of Pearl Jam's song is Jeremy Wade Delle from Texas. Eddie Vedder had read a small piece at the bottom of a newspaper page about Jeremy who was bullied at school and one day shot himself in front of his English class and teacher.
What is less well known is that there is a second person on whom the song is based. Vedder revealed in a 1991 interview: “I actually knew somebody in junior high school, in San Diego, California, that did the same thing, just about, didn't take his life but ended up shooting up an oceanography room. I remember being in the halls and hearing it and I had actually had altercations with this kid in the past. I was kind of a rebellious fifth-grader and I think we got in fights and stuff. So it's a bit about this kid named Jeremy and it's also a bit about a kid named Brian that I knew and I don't know...the song, I think it says a lot. I think it goes somewhere...and a lot of people interpret it different ways and it's just been recently that I've been talking about the true meaning behind it and I hope no one's offended and believe me, I think of Jeremy when I sing it.”
Jeremy is a medieval English version of Jeremiah from the Hebrew name יִרְמְיָהוּ (Yirmiyahu) which means "God has uplifted.” A top 50 name in the US from 1971 until 1995, the use of Jeremy has slowly declined since the mid-1990s making it a less common but not that unusual choice for your little fella.
Being of Gaelic stock I still remember my aunts' disgust at my cousin choosing this name for her daughter. “Kayleigh?” said my aunt “You want to name my grand-daughter after a rowdy boozy drunken blowout?” That is pretty much the meaning of the word - an Anglicized form of the Gaelic word ceilidh, a traditional social gathering, and dance.
The name Kayleigh in the song was from an ex-girlfriend of writer and lead singer Fish, her name was Kay Lee. Although Marillian's song is not exclusively about her many references such as the old textiles college, 'dawn escapes from moonwashed college halls', and 'do you remember cherry blossom in the market square?', it also refers to times they spent together while at a textile college in Galashiels, Scotland. The Galashiels local authority inscribed some of the lyrics into the surface of the market square when it was redeveloped in 2012.
Many people assume that the Rudie in the title of The Clash's Rudie Can't Fail is short for Rudolph but it has a very different influence.
One of the high points from the iconic Clash album London Calling, Rudie Can’t Fail was written by Joe Strummer about the “Rude Boys”, the first generation of children born in England to Jamaican immigrants. The fun loving young man at the centre of the song is criticised by the older generation for being irresponsible and for drinking beer before breakfast. In the song the elders tell him he is "so crude and feckless", to which he responds "I know that my life make you nervous, but I tell you I can't live in service."
Rudy is used on occasion as both a boy’s and a girl's name and can be the affectionate nickname for Rudolph, so Rudie doesn’t leap out as odd but you are likely to be unique if you use this one.
1 Jack & Diane
Chosen by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as one of the Songs of the Century, Jack and Diane was recorded by John Mellencamp while performing under the name John Cougar. The track was was based on the 1962 Tennessee Williams film Sweet Bird of Youth
And Mellencamp himself has spoken of the weird stopping and starting arrangement. He tells of playing the song to himself on the guitar and having it sound great but he feels he could never get the band to play along with him in quite the way he wanted.
Even the clapping is accidental, used during recording to try and keep time they became so used to it the record began to sound strange without it, so they left it on the track.
Jack is a form of John that is now considered a name in its own right. Meaning ‘man’ it was often used in fairy tales and folklore and while it was extremely popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s, even being used as a girl's name at that point, it fell out of fashion until the mid 1990’s.
Diane is the French form of Diana who was the Roman goddess of the moon, hunting, forests, and childbirth. It means heavenly or divine and was a staple of the girls name charts throughout the second half of the last century.
Sources: SongFacts.com, SongMeanings.com, Rolling Stone Magazine, BehindTheName.com, TeamRock.com, LoudWire.com