70’s Baby Names: Beyond Tiffany & Todd

When we talk about vintage names, we’re usually harking back to the Gay ’90s or the Roaring  ’20s at the latest. But what about more recent vintage vintages? Are there any names that were popular just a couple of decades ago that are already ready for revival?–or are they all still too me, mom, or grandpa-ish?

The leading  five girls’ names across the decade 0f the 70s were Jennifer, Amy, Melissa, Michelle and Kimberly, and among the boys’ Top 20–mostly dominated by classics–were Jason, Brian, Kevin, Jeffrey and Scott.  I’m not suggesting that we’re quite ready for another generation of little Lisas (#6), any more than I’d suggest hanging a disco ball in your living room, but there are some buried possibilities further down in the mix that just might be getting ripe enough to pick again.

The names below were all in the top half of the popularity list throughout the Swinging 70s, and have either slid off the current list entirely or are very near the the bottom of the Top 1000. Most of them don’t particularly scream 70’s–some are semi-classics that were fading away at that time, a few are the kind of nickname names that are coming back into style.

GIRLS

ALMA

BERNADETTE

BILLIE

CONSTANCE

DEBORAH

DORA

DOROTHY

EDITH

ELLEN

FELICIA

GINGER

JILL

JO

LIZA

LORETTA

LORRAINE

MARIBEL

MARJORIE

MARCIA/MARSHA

MELINDA

PAMELA

PATRICE

PAULINE

PENNY

RAMONA

ROCHELLE

ROXANNE

SALLY

SHEILA

SONJA

TAMARA

TINA

BOYS

CHESTER

CLAUDE

CLAY

CLINT

CLYDE

CORNELIUS

DION

FLOYD

FRED/FREDDIE

GENE

GLENN

GORDON

KENT

KIRK

MICKEY

MORRIS

NEIL/NEAL

OTIS

PERRY

PETE

RALPH

REX

STEWART

TED

THADDEUS

TIM

TY

VIRGIL

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14 Responses to “70’s Baby Names: Beyond Tiffany & Todd”

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Boston Girl Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 12:26 am

Well, no wonder I ran into so many other girls with my name (the #5 70s choice above). My parents actually thought they were being unique when they named me! I’m told that I was named for the diamond mines in South Africa, and that my middle name comes from my paternal grandmother (who’s still alive at 92, bless her heart). However, I guess they were being unusual if not unique in choosing my grandmother’s middle name as mine. After a huge move when I was 8, my new third-grade teacher was filling out some forms and automatically assumed that my middle name was Anne. I had to explain that in fact it’s Elizabeth. I think it fits better with my very short, one-syllable surname.

But I still like the popular 70s names better than the ones that are trendy now…and if I’m the only one who does, then any kids I might have certainly wouldn’t encounter my problem with being one in a sea of kids with the same name! 😉

susan Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 2:20 am

Love Ginger. My husband’s name is Kent. I think Audra could go on the list, but maybe Audra is from the ’60’s.

Abby Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 6:13 am

Maybe it’s because I’ve worked so hard to shuck my 70s first name (Amy), maybe it’s because I know plenty of Tamaras, Melindas and Sallys, but the girls’ list doesn’t do much for me. They’re fine names, but seem far from interesting.

The boys’ list, on the other hand, has some appealing choices. I love Chester and Rex, and even Clyde is growing on me – though it is a popular local chain of bar/restaurants in DC, so I don’t think it is very wearable here.

JNE Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 9:20 am

There are a few names up there that appeal, but they are the ‘classics that were fading at the time’ rather than the true 70s style names.

I can see some of those names coming back 50 years from now, but for now, I really only see the classic faders as ready for revival. Abby said it, I know far too many Pamela, Lorraine, Roxanne, Jill, Sheila, and Tinas – and lots of the other names up there too. And some of the names have seriously strong 70s/80s associations that my contemporaries would probably find just as overwhelming as I do (Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Oh Micky you’re so fine!) Don’t think I could do that to my kid, even if her/his playmates might be oblivious to all that.

I’ll sya I do like Marjorie, Fred, and Glen (that’s my grandpa though).

Filipa Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Love Alma. Means Soul, in portuguese. It’s a very peaceful name, too bad it’s not allowed to use in this country!! 🙁 stupid rules!

linda Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Filipa, are you in Portugal? Curious as to the specific rule that would eliminate Alma?

Andrea Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

I went to school with some of the above. Tina was a very nice, quiet girl with the neatest handwriting in the class; Marsha was a pretty girl with a great smile and good grades; Billie was the bad girl who was always smoking behind the building and getting in cat fights with other girls; Pam sat next to me in band and got straight A’s and was a little bit prissy; Sheila’s twin sister was Sandra; Tamara went by Tammy and was also a little wild. Pauline was my best friend’s middle name. It’s funny how the names seemed to suit them.

Other girls in my grade were Wendi, Lisa, Jane and Joan (twins), Carol, Shannon, Melanie, Catherine (always known as Cathy), Shareen (probably a “creative” version of Sharon, her mom’s name), Julie and two Angelas. The boys were Darren, Mark, Gregory (Greg), Damon, Michael (Mike), Matthew (Matt), Robert, Scott, and Thomas (two of them.) The class behind me had three girls named Amy and the class ahead of me had two girls named Melissa, both called Missy. For some reason, Amy usually had a sister named Lisa.

Andrea Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I’d also say that most of the above strike me more as “modern classics” than anything else. There are still a lot of Kimberlys, Amandas, Melissas and Nicoles and Lisa seems like a perfectly nice name after hearing of tons of Kaylees.

My sister-in-law and a first cousin are both pregnant. Brandon is on my sister-in-law’s list and Leopold is on my cousin’s. I think Brandon would have a much easier life. Leopold made my mother burst out laughing in sheer horror and surprise.

Em Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

We just named our son Kevin. We liked that it’s not an out-there unusual name but it isn’t at the top of the popularity lists right now. Everyone has liked it so far!

teabee Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I like Alma, Felicia, Tamara, Sonja (I prefer the Sonia spelling) and Rochelle (I’m Rachelle and I’ve been happy with this name–the one difficulty was pronunciation, which would be easier with the o). I think I like a lot of 70’s names because they’re familiar but underused now, and I didn’t grow up with too many in my classes ’cause I’m an 80’s kid. I take that back–there were a ton of kids with the top 70’s names in my classes but very few with the lower-ranking 70’s names. I like less of the boys’ names here but Glen, Kirk, and Neil are alright. Out of these lists, I knew a couple Tims and a ton of Tinas but that’s pretty much it.

Kate Says:

June 17th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

We have a 10 month old named Pete and we love the name! Everyone else seems to be a big fan of his name too! Now I am pregnant with number 2 and we are trying to find a name with the same guy-next-door feel to it.

Filipa Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 4:50 am

To Linda:

There are specific rules regarding names here. The names must be portuguese, and must follow portuguese Onomastics. We could never use Maçã (Apple) or Giovanna (because it’s Italian). Even combinations can or cannot be approved!!
Luckily we are a small country, otherwise we would all have the same names.. 😀
At least our kids won’t be embarrassed by weird names (and names aren’t usually misspelled)…

Emmy Jo Says:

June 18th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

My husband and I have Sonia on our shortlist for this baby (due in January). He saw it on someone else’s list and really liked it. Even though its popularity peaked in the 70’s, it sounds very current. It’s a two-syllable A-ender, plus it’s a variant of the highly-ranked Sophia, and it has the popular long O sound. It doesn’t quite fit with the usual Victorian style of the other names we’re considering (e.g., Clara, Eleanor, Adeline, Celia), but I think it’s sweet.

I don’t think it’s fair to classify names as 70’s names unless they peaked in the 70’s. Names like Marjorie and Dorothy might be ready for a style revival, but they belong on a list of 20’s names, not 70’s names.

Michelle Renee Says:

June 20th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I think “Michelle” is a 70’s name that is ready for a revival! Maybe Michelle Obama can help us out! If the name doesn’t make a comeback, then when I’m an old lady, Michelle will be an “old lady” name … like Martha or Gertrude. 😛

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