Category: musical baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The connection to the haunting voice of a well known jazz or blues singer definitely adds an element of –well—rhythm and blues—to a name’s image, an extra infusion of richness and pizzazz. Boyish Billie takes on new depth when listening to Lady Day, Etta goes from fusty to soulful via the “At Last” singer James. Here then, the Nameberry Picks of the jazziest ‘girl’ jazz singer names.
Billie Holiday, one of the greatest and most tragic jazz singers of all time, was born with the name Eleanora and took her professional name from an actress she admired called Billie Dove—who was originally Bertha. Billie is a tomboyish nickname name that was in the Top 100 from 1928 to 1935, and now seems to be making a return—Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane have a young daughter named Billie Beatrice.
by Linda Rosenkrantz
Did you know that September happens to be Classical Music Month? Well neither did I, until just recently. This new knowledge inspired me to do a Nameberry Picks list of some of the most interesting classical composers’ first names. And no, turns out they’re not all Franz or Hans or Johann—there are a variety of unusual choices –unfortunately, most of them male.
Alban Maria Berg was an Austrian composer associated with Arnold Schoenberg’s 12-tone technique and the composer of the opera Lulu. Rarely heard in the US, the saint’s name Alban –one of the more unusual paths to Al–is currently Number 132 in France. With a variant spelling, Alben Barkley (born Willie Alben) was US Veep under Harry Truman.
Yes, middle names count—especially this one of Mozart’s that became the title of a movie that won a best picture Academy Award in 1985. In 2010, tennis champ showed that this classical Latin appellation was still wearable when he named his son Amadeus Benedict.
There’s no sweeter pleasure than serenading your baby with a lullaby, which can even be nicer if the song’s title references the sweetness of your daughter’s (or son’s) name. An amazing number of songs fit this bill, dating from the early days of the republic to the Golden Age of jazz and swing, right through to contemporary rock— from the barbershop quartet harmonies of Sweet Adeline to the Rolling Stones’ rendition of Sweet Virginia. Most of these songs have lyrics you can actually croon, while just a few are instrumentals you can set your own words to.
Here they are:
ADELINE—Sweet Adeline is an old standard that was a favorite of barbershop quartets. JFK’s grandfather John F. Fitzgerald, mayor of Boston, made it his theme song, and Mickey Mouse serenaded Minnie with it in a 1929 cartoon. Sweet name Adeline reappeared on the pop list in 1999, and is now Number 288.
We were admiring the name Calliope the other day (yes, after all these years, we still love names enough to sit around and think about how much we like them) and we started thinking: What a good name for a musician to choose for her child.
Whether or not you’d name a baby after your profession in real life, it’s a fun thing to consider.
There’s something undeniably cool and, well, jazzy, about many of the distinctive names of jazz musicians. Take the ultimate example, the personification of cool –Miles Davis– who imparted an eternally silky, seductive veneer to his name, as did Quincy Jones.
The inimitable Ella Fitzgerald gave her name a jazzy edge long before Ella was anywhere near the top of the pop lists. Names like Ray and Roy, Cecil and Percy and Dexter all take on an appealing funkiness and rise to another level when looked at in the context of jazz.
The surnames of jazz immortals can be considered as well, just as they have by a few celebs—model Helena Christensen’s Mingus, and Woody Allen’s Bechet, for example. The middle name of Wynton Marsalis’s son Jasper is Armstrong; Cynthia Nixon’s boy Max has Ellington as a middle.