Category: rock ‘n’ roll names
“Layla, you’ve got me on my knees.”
When your name is crooned by Eric Clapton, it takes on a whole new level of cool. Undoubtedly chosen for its lyrical, laid-back, la la la sound, Layla also sports an intriguing meaning that suits the song’s bluesy quality: “ night” in Arabic. Practically unknown before the song’s release, Layla first hit the U.S. Top 1000 in 1972, when Clapton’s rock ballad achieved chart success. There, it hovered for awhile, fell off the charts again, and then emerged anew upon the release of Layla’s Unplugged version in 1992, when it began a steady climb to baby name stardom. Today, Layla rests at an unquestionably popular Number 37, and is sure to climb even higher, given all its attractive characteristics.
Though it is probable that not all parents of little Laylas were inspired by the song, it is sure to have influenced at least some, and for those willing to dig a bit deeper into rock history for inspiration, past the dated “Roxanne” (The Police) and “Barbara Ann” (The Beach Boys), there are a number of likely gems á la Layla, just waiting to be discovered. While that list does tend to favor the girls, who tend to be more popular subjects of love songs than men, if one looks past the songs and toward the artists themselves, a whole treasure trove of possibilities can be found, and not all of them as far out as one would think.
Here are my favorite rock ‘n’ roll baby names for boys and girls, with the songs and artists referenced. (The Beatles, in particular, seem to have had their finger on the baby naming pulse!) Keep in mind that these lists are not comprehensive, but, rather, reflect those names that seem particularly relevant to the modern day crowd, have an intriguing sound, or simply have that rockin’ edge.
The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame inducted its 2011 class last week. Since 1986, more than 605 individuals have been added to their list of notables. Most are performers, and many are household names. Alice Cooper and Neil Diamond were among the most recent inductees.
Many a rock star was born plain old John or James, but scroll through the list, and plenty of possibilities emerge. They’re the kind of names that evoke late nights, loud sounds, and a certain unpredictable, fiercely creative spirit.
What could be a more fitting source of inspiration for baby names?
Cash – The Man in Black played to prisoners and sang about the perils of naming your son Sue. His surname has been racing up the charts since Joaquin Phoenix played the singer in 2005’s Walk the Line.
Floyd – Which one’s Pink? Among the most successful rock bands of our time, their name was inspired by blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. As a name, Floyd has been out of favor for decades, but could make for a daring choice.