10 Names that Mean You Were Born in the 1980s

Apr 20th 2017


You know the '80s, right? Big hair, shoulder pads, acid-wash jeans...and in baby names, Ashley, Justin and Tiffany. But the '80s didn't really own those names. In fact, the majority of Ashleys you'll meet were born outside the decade of Ronald Reagan and Michael Jackson.

For pure '80s names, we have to dig deeper. I've identified 10 names with full 1980s bona fides: they mostly existed in that decade, and from our 21st-Century perch we can't miss their cultural links to it. Some of the names below were big hits, others were rarities, but all are loving tributes to their times.

In ascending order by "80s purity score," the percentage of all people with the name who were born during the decade:


Image:Wikimedia Commons

1. DeLorean (62%) -- The 1985 film Back to the Future cemented the ill-fated DeLorean sports car as THE emblematic '80s ride. No other vehicle so immediately summons the decade, from its style to its greed. Through the power of cinema and memory, the DeLorean truly has become a time machine.

2. Rambo (73%) -- First Blood and its sequels made muscular John Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone, an action-movie icon. The way Rambo kept (victoriously) re-fighting the Vietnam War anchors the films firmly to their time.

3. Sheena (74%) -- Not the purest of '80s names, but one of the very biggest. A smattering of girls were named Sheena in the 1940s-70s thanks to various incarnations of the pulp character "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle." But '80s pop princess Sheena Easton ushered in a decade of over 16,000 little Sheenas, with a notoriously bad 1984 jungle-Sheena movie pitching in.

4. Jarreau (76%) -- Can you hum the chorus of "We're in This Love Together"? How about the theme song from the tv series Moonlighting? If so, you're in the capable '80s hands of singer Al Jarreau.

5. Jenilee (82%) -- Actress Jenilee Harrison ushered in the decade by replacing Suzanne Somers on the sitcom Three's Company in 1980. She later boosted her '80s cred with a stint on Dallas, where her character had the distinction of being killed off twice: once before and once after the series' notorious "it was all a dream" rewind.


Image: tvguidemagazine.com

6. Krystle (84%) -- Every spelling of Crystal was a hit in the '80s, but this version hit the decade bullseye in the prime-time soap Dynasty. Linda Evans played Krystle Carrington, the innocent blond secretary who married into a nest of millionaire vipers.

7. Jon-Erik (85%) -- Actor Jon-Erik Hexum was a rising '80s star and heartthrob. He died suddenly and tragically on the set of his tv series Cover Up via a self-inflicted wound from a prop gun.

8. Travanti (86%) -- Looking for that elusive "Hill Street Blues" baby name trend? You could go with Kiel, after actor Kiel Martin, but my vote goes to this less likely name. Actor Daniel J. Travanti played stalwart Captain Frank Furillo on the seminal cop drama.

9. Toccara (89%) -- Avon introduced a perfume named Toccara in 1981, and a one-decade name was born. Model Toccara Jones was among the Toccaras born in 1981.

And finally, a bonus: a 3-way tie at 100% '80s: 

10a. Cheetara (100%) -- One word: ThunderCats. The syndicated cartoon series chronicled the adventures of a group of vaguely feline alien heroes, including Tygra, Jaga, Lion-O, and the token female ThunderCat Cheetara.

10b. Yentl (100%) -- In 1983, Barbara Streisand turned Isaac Bashevis Singer's story about a girl who posed as a boy to study Talmud into a hit musical film. The title character's Yiddish name made its one and only impact on American baby names.

10c. Jordache (100%) -- Once upon a time, in the early '80s, Jordache jeans were totally a thing. Baby names never forget.

 

Comments

1
April 20, 2017 9:25 AM

Well, I know a Sheena...

I would love to see if these names were localised in pockets or scattered around because none of them fit in with the 1980s name culture that I grew up in.

2
April 20, 2017 9:41 AM

"Baby names never forget."

 

You made my day with this comment.

 

--elbowin

3
April 20, 2017 12:43 PM

I went to elemantary school with a Toccarra but never knew where the name came from. 

4
April 20, 2017 4:07 PM

I do wonder what names will be the 20-teens names.

 

Nevaeh?  Creatively spelled names?  -ayden names?

5
April 20, 2017 11:18 PM

I'm Sheena born in 1988! my mother said she loved the name from the 1st grade and my father consented only because of the comic book hero.

That Sheena movie is so incredibly bad.

6
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