70s Names Ready for Revival? Baby Brandon, anyone?

Nameberry’s Question of the Week: What 70s to 80s name or names do you consider ready for revival?

Looking back over the popular names of two and three decades ago, are there any whose comeback time has come?

As a reminder:

The top girls’ names of the 1970s were Jennifer, Amy, Melissa, Michelle, Kimberly, Lisa, Angela, Heather, Stephanie and Nicole.

They were joined in the 1980s by Jessica, Amanda, Ashley, Sarah, and Elizabeth.

Seventies boys’ names—most of which are perennials– were Michael, Christopher, Jason, David, James, John, Robert, Brian, William and Matthew, joined in the next decade by Daniel, Joshua and Joseph.

The extended list can be seen, of course, at the Social Security site.

What do you think?  Do any of those names sound fresh enough to be reborn?

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58 Responses to “70s Names Ready for Revival? Baby Brandon, anyone?”

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Cassandra Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 1:38 am

It’s too soon! Or basically it will be like a generation of parents will have the same name as their kids!

Other Carolyn Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 2:14 am

Some of the 1970s perennials for boys can still be used well enough. David virtually never goes out of style, for example, and James is similar. Further down the girls list, Elizabeth makes an appearance, and that one is still OK too, for the same reason.

The other names in the top 10 seem too dated, probably because they weren’t really in widespread use before they became mega-trendy. I think Michelle is probably the safest, but it’s still a little more young-woman than baby-girl (really cute built in Beatles lullaby, though!). Most of the 80s names are only just dying down, so I can’t see them being revived any time soon.

LJandRL Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 5:43 am

I wouldn’t use them personally, but I happen to think Amy and Jessica are lovely names and wouldn’t be at all out of place in the playgrounds of today. Both are still very popular here in the UK and to me haven’t dated as much as names like Michelle, Amanda and Jennifer. I can’t picture Michelle and Amanda particularly on children, it seems like an adults name not a childs. Jessica and Amy still sound sweet and young though, even if they’re not that fresh anymore. And of course Elizabeth is timeless.

Nic Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 7:09 am

In the UK some of those 80s names took another decade or two to hit, so Joshua and Daniel are still top 10. I think, Jason aside, boys names are much less subject to fluctuations in popularity the ways girl’s names are. Melissa, Michelle, Allison, Nicole are mum’s names these days the way Isabella and Amelia will be mums in 30 years time. A James could be 6 months, or just as easily 30 years old or even 60.

izzyyyy Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 7:21 am

Not for the girls. Nothing except for Sarah and Elizabeth.

For the boys more are timeless classics. The ones that sound dated to me are Jason and Joshua, but those are both biblical names that probably aren’t going anywhere.

Tracy Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 7:37 am

I think Nicole is a beautiful name, especially if it’s not shortened to Nikki. Sarah and Elizabeth are also timeless.

hteniso Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 7:42 am

The girls’ names, with the exceptions of the classics like Sarah and Elizabeth, are absolutely not ready to be revived. Even the girls’ names from the 60s and 50s still sound too dated and used.

namelover12 Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 7:45 am

I think that Nicole is still pretty popular, mostly for middle names. I dont expect to see any baby Lisas or Amys though.
out of the boys I think that most of them are still popular. I do not think that Brian and Robert are very popular though.

Lola Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 8:13 am

John, James, Elizabeth & Jessica are the only ones I’d consider, but then, only if I *had* to. And even then, only with a gun to my head. These 70’s names were popular when I was a kid; it’s far, far too early for them to come back!

Claire Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 8:53 am

I didn’t realize they went out of style. I’m not quite 30 and the only one that isn’t all that popular is Joseph. I know lots of younger people with those names as well….

Kate Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 10:29 am

When I was at the park with my little girl, we met another little girl. Her mom said her daughter’s name was Amy. The name was common when I was growing up. But, it sounded so nice and fresh to hear it the other day on a 1 year old.

Megan Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 10:31 am

I think that many of the boys names are classics that suit someone of any age – James, Michael, Christopher, John, Robert, William, Matthew. Of the girls names, the only ones I consider classics are Sarah and Elizabeth. The other girls names definitely seem too dated to make a comeback now!

Andrea Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 10:50 am

All of them are still in use to some extent.

msmoll91 Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 11:11 am

Please no! I have too many Lisas in my life as it is! These days, I find the names a bit simple and dated. Of course, as a Mollie, I would have given anything to be named Amy or Jennifer in the 6th grade 🙂

Jennifer Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 11:27 am

My 3yo niece is named Amy. It suits her perfectly. 🙂 I think the boys names are more usable off this list than the girls names. I wouldn’t name my daughter Jennifer Jr.

Boston Girl Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Andrea is right, all these names are still being used, especially Sarah (which I hate, but obviously I’m in the minority there). Zachary and Amanda are the name of a brother-sister duo I’ve known since their early childhoods, and they’re both 90s babies. It might be time to let them rest a few decades; Amanda in particular used to complain that there were so many girls out there with her name that she could never find personalized gewgaws with her name on them; they were always sold out! I think that’s the problem with trendy names; so many babies get them, they fail to be unique or even interesting, and just start to sound overexposed and boring. I think plenty of 70s names could stand up to a revival, even if it’s “too soon”. How soon is too soon, anyway? Do the 70s babies who received these names have to be on their deathbeds before their names come back into style, or what? I’m only wondering because I really prefer most 60s and 70s, and some 80s, names to almost everything that’s popular now.

suzanne Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Jennifer, Amy, Melissa, Lisa, Angela, Heather, Nicole, Jessica, Sarah, and Elizabeth seem like perfectly fine baby girls to me as do ALL of the boys names. My 3 year old is Jason and I LOVE his name. I know it’s somewhere around 60 on the popularity list but I’ve never met another kid with his name, it’s easily identifiable, and solidly in the boys department.

For some reason, I’ve always strongly disliked Stephanie, Michelle, and Kimberly. Amanda and Ashley are names I’d never use but I could see others using.

pdxlibrarian Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I’m an 80s child. There are a few names from my generation that I love, but that I probably won’t use because I don’t want my child’s name to come across as parental and tone deaf.

I love Vanessa, Lisa, Monica, and Danielle for girls, and Kyle, Joel, and Eric and for boys.

Linelei Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 12:26 pm

A lot of those names were the names of my “preppy” peers, the kids who were snooty and mean to everyone not in their clique. So… No. I don’t think they’re ready for a comeback. 😉 Except the classic ones, of course, which never really go away and can overcome generational stereotypes.

I am seeing a few of these as middle names right now, because parents are giving their children their own names as middles. That makes sense, to me!

linzybindi Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I think it is WAY too soon! I agree that even the names that were popular in the 60’s still feel too close. Lisa, Karen, Donna, Michelle, Tammy, Lori, Brenda…if it is too soon for these it is certainly too soon for names from the 70’s.

Gina Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I have a four-year-old cousin named Stephanie Nicole (named after her grandfathers Stephen and Nicholas). Although her name does make her sound like a 30-year-old, I prefer ’70s names to the current -ella and -ayden type of names. Most ’70s names aren’t tacky or ugly or anything like that, just out of style.

Sasha Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 1:12 pm

This made me laugh! I was born in the mid-eighties and my full name (first, middle, last) is Sarah Elizabeth Ashley. Eighties girl to the core!

anniebee Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I think all the Amys, Amandas, Kimberleys, Jennifers, Stephanies, etc are too dated sounding, though I may be biased by my extreme dislike of them. They all sound like Barbie’s friends to me. I have a bit of a soft spot for Heather, though, because it is a type of flower and I was sort of hoping it would fit in with the flower trend like Lily, Rose, Dahlia, etc. I don’t think it sounds as precious as the others. I do think I’d avoid using it because of the dated thing. I wouldn’t want my daughter to grow up having people think she’s 30 years older than she is because of her name.

Boys names seem to be more timeless for me, especially John, James, David, William. These names have been used for centuries, so I don’t associate them with the 70s. On the other hand, Brian, Christopher, and Jason all sound incredibly dated to me now, as I grew up with more ‘Chris’es than I can count.

namefan Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 3:55 pm

My name (Kelly) is also one that could also qualify for the 70s/80s list (although I am a guy). I think that it’s one of those names that sounds dated for a girl but fresher for a boy.

izzyyyy Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 4:32 pm

@msmoll91 i LOVE your name! I just did a school project on Animal Farm, and fell in love with Mollie with the ie spelling. It’s so cute!

Leslie Owen Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 4:47 pm

There are still plenty of Jessicas and Amandas around in high schools, along with Tiffanys and Briannas (not Brians). Brandon is still a popular boys name, high school and younger. The names I grew up with in the 60s were awful for girls — Debbie, Donna, Lisa, Cathy…I don’t think we’re ready for those. Best to stick with classics.

jpruitt76 Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I think Amy and Lisa have some fresh appeal on the girls’ side. Most of the boy names listed never really went “out” in my opinion.

Nora Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I think we should wait a little while to revive most of these names, seeing as every other 40 year old woman I know is named Kimberly or Michelle, but I think that a couple of these names, Angela, Amy, and maybe even Stephanie could have a comeback any time now!

Linnie Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 5:35 pm

It’s not time yet. All of the boys names (minus maybe Brian and Jason) are still pretty popular in use. As a high school senior I know at least 2 people with each of those names, many of them in grade school.

As far as the girls goes, they sound like mom names for the most part. I hear a Jennifer now and then but they are usually 13 or older. That said, I wouldn’t really think twice if I met a baby Nicole, Heather, Michelle, Amy or Stephanie. Some of these didn’t taper off until the end of the 80s. My 34 yro cousin’s name is Jennifer and her husband’s name is Jason. I don’t think the 70’s names ever went stale like Maude and Beulah did.

Besides, my mom’s name is Lisa and my dad’s name is Brian (both born early 60’s).

Jennie Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Noooo! It’s way too soon. If I met a little baby Jennifer, I would be very upset (barring namesakes). Parents, if nothing else, need to be aware of when/if names were insanely popular. If I had been born Debra, a popular name from my parents’ generation, everyone would have thought I was at least 20 years older than I am. No thank you.

Ellie’smom Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I think William and Elisabeth are two that never go out of style. To a lesser extent, Robert & James have that classic feel too.

Andrea Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 8:17 pm

They all sound simply modern to me. I went to school with several Lisas, all born ca. 1970 to 1972. My dad’s cousin has a daughter named Lisa who is probably about middle school age. His youngest is named Carrie, also a name that was pretty common for kdis in the 1970s. I’ve also run into the occasional elementary age Michelle or Melissa or Kimberly, etc. The only thing I think is that you don’t hear them as much anymore, not that they’re old fashioned or out of style. If anything, they sound better because there aren’t quite as many of them any longer.

andreachristine Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 8:46 pm

oh i love this topic. i keep trying to get my pregnant friends to consider some of these names. mostly because i think they do sound fresh next to all the current trendy names. my favorites are Heather, Jason, Eric, and Adam. and a little girl named Lisa would be adorable next to all those Emma, Maddie and Chloe’s. SOME are ready for a comeback, definitely not all. i think Amber and Tiffany can stay in the 70s/80s…

Calle Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I think the key is to pick a 70’s name that wasn’t too popular. I recently met little girls named Suzanne and Patricia, I thought both names sounded very vintage chic.

Calle Says:

March 23rd, 2011 at 10:53 pm

And I have always loved the name Erica, I hope that makes a comeback soon

Andrea Says:

March 24th, 2011 at 7:49 am

Erica is the oldest sister of Lisa and Carrie. The second girl in the family is Emily, which I always thought sounded a bit out of place, though not overly so.

Macy Says:

March 24th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Fresh? Lol you’ve got to be kidding. Especially those boy names, they need to retire for a very long time.

steph Says:

March 24th, 2011 at 9:08 pm

@ gina–haha you hit the nail on the head–i am a Stephanie Nichole. And I’m 30 exactly 🙂

brannon Says:

March 25th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Some maybe … Sara and Elizabeth don’t count – classic and timeless. Amy could sound fresh and both Heather and Melissa are pretty names that are not often heard on babies. Susannah is making a huge comeback but I consider it “older” than the other names on these lists. Did meet a baby named Deborah the other day and it was kind of cute … especially with her adorable two year old brother – Bob.

citymouse Says:

March 25th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I am a huge fan of the less popular, but still obviously “70s” style names for boys…Joel, Jamie, Cory, Lee, Jesse, Eric etc. Basically, mining the names of all the guys I went to school with 😀

Nichole Says:

March 27th, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I don’t understand the extreme dislike for names sometimes. I love my name, and actually never met another Nicole/Nichole until I was in my teens. I think Nic(h)ole didn’t peak until the mid 80’s though, and I was born in ’79. I know lots of Nicoles now though! But I still think it’s pretty and classic. Not quite Sara or Elizabeth, but I still love it. I also think Amy sounds adorable on a little girl now. The more I think about it, the more I love it!!

taqah Says:

March 27th, 2011 at 7:31 pm

maybe nicole and angela—maybe.

Jen Says:

March 30th, 2011 at 8:42 am

I don’t think these names are ‘dated’ at all. I would not think twice if a met a baby Amber or Michelle or Sarah. Maybe I’m biased but considering I love my name (shortened) and its one of the most popular from the 70s/80s I don’t think naming kids these names would sound ‘mumish’ at all.

Liz Says:

April 6th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I definitely plan on using Joseph. I don’t think it’s out of style.

I’d love to use Nicole, Kimberly or Jessica, but it’s way too soon. Oh well =(

H8myname Says:

April 9th, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Actually, some of these do sound fresh to me. The others sound bratty and snobbish. However, I’m closer to the Kayden and Brayleigh generation, so I’m not sick of these like the rest of you are.

Lucky*Clover Says:

April 10th, 2011 at 11:35 am

Many of the boy names are still being used but as always, boy name popularity changes much slower than the girls. It’s funny because I always thought Natalie was a 70’s name because I had three Natalies in my class and knew of a few more in the other classes. I was shocked to see Natalie so high on the popularity charts now. So, if Natalie is considered a 70’s name, it’s defintely back in style. I think most of the girl names from the 70’s and 80’s aren’t quite ready to come back in style yet.

brandy Says:

April 10th, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Not yet! Many of the boys’ names are non-trendy types that never really go out of style, but the ones that were trendier (like Justin and Jason) sound as dated now as Tiffany and Jennifer. At least give them a generation to cool off – those of us who were born then don’t want to use them on our own kids!

Jennifer Says:

April 11th, 2011 at 4:59 am

I was always one of several Jennifers in my classes, and sometimes I really hated my name. However, as an adult, I’ve come to really love it because of its very interesting history as well as its unusual sound combination. (I think it became interesting to me in college when three Jennifers pledged my sorority at the same time while there was also an active Jennifer. They called the active Jen; I was Jennifer; the others were Jenny and Fur.)

I love that it’s a variation of an ancient name: Gwenfrewi/ Guinevere that has survived at least 1000 years. So many of my classmates names still sound dated to me (Jodi, Christie, Holly, Renee, Lisa, Ashley, Leslie, etc.) my own name has emerged as one of my favorites.

“Jennifer” has lurked for centuries and enjoyed a brief explosion of popularity in the latter half of the twentieth century, but etymologically speaking, it stands out from other names popular during that time period. (As does Jessica, which was coined by Shakespeare in _A Merchant of Venice_.)

So, Jennifers…be proud of your name! I am! (And after I was born, my parents even found out that Jennifer was actuall a family name, my great-great grandmother’s, making it even better. However, my middle name, Michelle, is simply filler to me.)

Liz, a child of the 70s Says:

April 25th, 2011 at 11:37 am

On the girl’s list, I do love the name Amy. Short and sweet and in consistent use since the 1880s.

I know young children with many of these names – Amy, Jennifer, Jessica, even a Lori (which is more of a 1960s name but still common in the 70s). The first time I heard them I did a bit of a double-take, because they are so rare now, but soon the name is associated with the child and it’s simply charming.

The lovely thing is that because they are uncommon, each one is the only child in her grade with that name, not one of several named Abby or Kate or all those oh-so-common names ending in “a”. But at the same time, they are not uncommon in the sense that the child has to spell their name whenever introduced.

Jennifer Says:

June 5th, 2011 at 10:53 pm

well being named jennifer in 1979 in Mass led me to hear nothing but Jennifer being called during lunch break at school so I was sick of hearing it…but I do have to say as an adult I like my name and I like being called jenny as well(by certain people)I Have also worked in childcare for 15 years and I have yet to have ONE Jennifer and I feel as though it is time for a small revival..not an explosion like back in my day but I wouldnt mind meeting a cute toddler being called Jenny once in a blue moon..as not once have I met one..:) just my personal opinion!!! Jen

Nancy Says:

July 4th, 2011 at 5:43 am

Our daughter, who just turned two, is named Amy. I initially balked at it – I know a million women named Amy – but its sweet simplicity grew on me. Amy is not really a 70s name, as a pp mentioned it has been in use since at least the Civil War era (think Little Women). We have not met another little girl named Amy, so for her generation, the name will seem unusual but recognizable. We love it, and it fits her – she is sassy, loving, and full of mischief!

gingerkid Says:

July 20th, 2011 at 10:39 pm

To the Jennifer who posted on June 5th: I have an almost two year old who we call Genny. I love it! Her name is Genevieve, and we were planning to call her Evie when I was still pregnant with her. My husband and I had a mutual friend named Evie who was instrumental in our sticking it out after a bad third date (we didn’t realize until after the fact that we both knew her from different times and places in our lives…it was really bizarre). So, Evie seemed to be the perfect nickname. It paid homage to a friend and it was sassy and slightly unexpected coming from Genevieve (at least, it seemed to me to be so at the time). Well, I started to realize just how popular the name Evie was becoming, especially in the UK (we’re in NYC, but I still care), and as a Heather born in the 70s I decided we just couldn’t call her Evie. It’s her choice what nickname she goes by later on, but for now I wanted something not insanely popular. And thus, Genny was born. I’ve always loved the sound of Jenny, and people seem surprised if I introduce my daughter as a Genny. (When I introduce her as Genevieve, the response is much more like, “oh, okay.”) She calls herself Genny now, and it’s so cute. I’m really quite happy we ended up with Genny, and my husband seems to be too, even though he thinks we should be spelling it Jenny.

I also wanted to add a couple of other thoughts in response to this post. First, my first choice name for my daughter was Amelia, vetoed by the husband. I had wanted to nickname her Amy, actually. And secondly, I hated the popularity of my name growing up, but I really like my name now. I’ve been very surprised to see a few preschoolers named Heather…weird! Both times, it was on the TV channel Sprout, where they show kids names at the bottom of the screen on their birthday. Two little Heathers. I was shocked!

catmcroy Says:

September 22nd, 2011 at 2:45 am

As the mother of a 10 year old Stephanie, I’ve been following the comments with interest. My favourite singer in the entire world is Stevie Nicks. Her songs have been my soundtrack in so many hard circumstances and they give me hope so I always knew I was going to name my first daughter after her but my ex vetoed Stevie as full name so we compromised with Stephanie (Stevie’s legal name anyways). The fact that it is medieval French but still sounds familiar to English ears AND the meaning of “crowned with light” sealed the deal. She was born with carrot hair and she just looks like a Stephanie. She loves her name too 🙂 It’s also not super common in our area which also helps.

shinysarah11 Says:

November 8th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

My name is Sarah Elizabeth, so I’m right on trend for being born in 1981. However, Sarah and Elizabeth are both bible names that have been consistently popular for decades. I may dislike being one of millions of Sarahs, but it’s a pretty classic.

Many of the names of people my age, like Amandas, Heathers, Kimberlys, Angelas and Stephanies (all names of people I’m friends with or work with) won’t be classic again until 100 years from now.

I’m convinced of the validity of the 100 year name theory. That’s why every one loves Adelaide, Charlotte, Florence and my personal favorite, Hazel nowadays. But it seems to work. I despise too trendy names like Khloe or Nevaeh or Mercedes. 100 year old names all the way!! 🙂

Cairo32 Says:

February 23rd, 2012 at 1:41 am

I think the names from the 80’s it’s probably too soon, for the most part.
I have a friend who was born in 1986 and her name is Cheryl, her sister was born a few years later and her name is Cindy. Both names took me by surprise when I met them because those are MOM names.

As for the list of girl names that I think we MAY be ready for:
Amy (that’s the name of the baby on Christina Applegate’s sitcom “Up All Night”) and Lisa. I think I’d also be OK with Jennifer coming back, so long as she stayed Jennifer or Jen – everyone I knew growing up seemed to be called Jenny!!! Elizabeth and Sarah are classics, both I considered for my daughters. My 2nd daughter (born Sept 2011) we considered naming Amanda, but ended up going for the less used Miranda.

It is WAY too soon to bring back Ashley and I could probably live with Jessica coming back.

Pretty much ALL of the boy names I’d consider still OK to use.
The ones that are iffy in my head are Christopher, Jason, John, Brian and Daniel. Those seem slightly dated, though not unusable.

I’ve heard talk about the 100 year revival and I think it’s pretty accurate though some names will probably jump up sooner. For the most part…. let’s stick with the 100 year revival.
That said, my first daughter is named Allison, a name that was QUITE popular in the 80’s! (Reason we went with Allison was that my sister used Alex and Alexis for 2 of her children so my husband said Alexandra was out of the question! I much prefer Alexandra or Alexandria to Allison. Oh well.)

Oh, and I still vote for naming away from the popular crowd! I love the names Isabella and Aiden but like a song played too much on the radio, I cringe when I hear them!!!

KateM91 Says:

May 29th, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Michael and Jason have always been in my top boys names. I plan on using them. Simple, you can’t go wrong with either of them 🙂

Castles Says:

January 10th, 2013 at 12:38 am

I absolutely love 70s-80s names. Maybe it’s a little too soon for revival, but I have no problems with using some of the names from those decades. I definitely prefer these names than the more recent and trendy baby names. 🙂

natasha8 Says:

March 8th, 2016 at 5:48 pm

all of these names are better than a lot of the names being used now. and it’s a good time to use them as everyone else seems to be giving their children ugly names. if you’re a ‘heather’ or an ‘amanda’ and don’t want to be pigeon-holed into a generation, use these names for the upcoming generation,

if you think it’s too soon for these names, consider that girls born in the ’50’s were named, Pam and Linda and Susan and Cheryl and Patty and Nancy …. and these names have never come back as people kept saying it was too soon. and really, they too are perfectly acceptable names.

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