Category: rock star baby names
2011 was quite a year for celebrity baby names, but then again, you could say that for every recent year. Some stars this year mined new old-fashioned sources of inspiration, while others went wild with inventions of their own. Here, the Nameberry Awards for the best, the worst, the weirdest, and the wildest celebrity baby names of 2011.
Rather than being tributes to bygone stars, these seem to be lucky—or unlucky—accidents. Celine Dion appears to have inadvertently saluted stiff 1930’s operetta star Nelson Eddy with the combined names of her twin boys, while Niki Taylor (possibly unknowingly) paid tribute to Rex Harrison, the star of My Fair Lady.
Newest celebrity gender bender
Knoxville and Collette picked this conventionally male (but unconventional) name for different gender children in the same year. Other gender boundary breakers: Martha Stewart’s granddaughter Jude, Mariah Carey’s daughter Monroe, and quarterback Peyton Manning’s little girl Mosley Thompson.
Over the past week soccer player Gabriel Zakuani named his son Trendy and actor Dylan Walsh welcomed a daughter called Amelie Belle. Both were newsworthy. Trendy has already grabbed a few headlines, and seems likely to appear on year-end lists of the wackiest baby names of 2011, while the French Amelie has met with applause.
November also marks the nationwide opening of rockumentary The Other F Word, a tale of punk rock parenting told from the perspectives of the dads. All of the fathers started out as young and rebellious. A few of them, including former Pennywise frontman and movie developer Jim Lindberg decline to share their kids’ names, but most do reveal what an anarchist names his baby.
For the most part, the names are stylish but far from outlandish – more Amelie than Trendy. None of them are as outrageous as, say, Frank Zappa’s Moon Unit and Dweezil. Some of the names might feel almost ordinary by today’s standards, but half of these kids are in their teens and twenties, putting them ahead of the curve.
“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.
Rock musicians have gotten the rap of being the most extreme baby namers, which certainly is true for some but by no means all. This led me to wonder if their choices bore any relationship to the kind of music they played: would the Dixie Chicks, for example, pick names with a countryish flavor, Atomic Kitten more edgy?
And how about within the groups– were their choices in sync? Since they functioned basically as families on the road, how did their kids’ names work as sibsets? In the examples listed below, you can see certain similarities—such as a Beatles theme running through the Oasis offspring, and several other musical references, including Jagger, Les Paul, Elvis, Madonna, Bebop and even Rock .