1976: A Baby Name Time Capsule
I recently came across the girl's name Tennille in the name stats. Immediately, images of bicentennial quarters and Jimmy Carter campaign posters flashed before my eyes, to the strains of "Muskrat Love."
For a few brief years in the mid-'70s, the husband and wife duo Captain & Tennille was one of the hottest acts in pop music. If you meet a woman named Tennille, you can bet she was born sometime between "Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Do That to Me One More Time." The name peaked at #299 in 1976.
It's a moment in time, captured in a name. Can any other name compare in the power to take you straight back to 1976? I ran some stats, looking for more names with the same "Spirit of '76." Here are the contenders for a naming time capsule:
Direct Hit: Farrah
In 1976 the tv series "Charlie's Angels" debuted, and a poster of star Farrah Fawcett in a red swimsuit broke sales records. The next year Fawcett left the show. The name Farrah, previously virtually unknown, leapt to #276 in America in 1976, #177 in 1977, then quickly fell back to earth.
Bionically Assisted: Jaime, Lindsay
In 1975, the names Jaime and Lindsay were androgynous. In 1976, they were overwhelmingly female. (Jaime peaked at #29 in 1976; Lindsay leaped to #133 that year, then kept on rising.) The power behind both was tv's "Bionic Woman" Jaime Sommers, played by Lindsay Wagner.
Launched, but Stayed in Orbit: Nadia
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci made history in the 1976 Olympics with the first ever score of a perfect 10. Her previously obscure foreign name leapt to #360 in the U.S., and has been used here steadily ever since.
One Year Off: Kizzy, Kunta and LeVar
The miniseries "Roots," based on Alex Haley's novel of an African American family's multigenerational journey, was an overwhelming sensation in 1977. Character names Kizzy (#223 for girls) and Kunta (#572 for boys) came out of nowhere, along with the name of actor LeVar Burton (#343), who played Kunta Kinte.
And Just Because...: Travolta
In 1978, eleven American boys were named Travolta. Just thought you'd like to know.