20 Names that Mean You Were Born in the 1970s

Apr 11th 2018

The top baby name of the 1970s was Michael, but meeting a man named Mike doesn't immediately conjure up the "Me Decade." Michael was too diffuse of a hit, encompassing half a century in its popularity wave. For a pure, potent dose of the '70s, you need names concentrated in that decade.

We've identified 20 names with pure '70s power. If you meet someone named Kojak, Chakakhan, or any of the other names on this list, you can be pretty confident they were born in the 1970s—and that their parents were steeped in the events of their time. Each name is listed with its "70s purity score," the percentage of all Americans with the name who were born from 1970 to 1979.

Mr. Drummond & friends of Diff'rent Strokes (Image: tvguidemagazine.com)

Kojak (M) '70s Purity Score: 100%. The police drama Kojak starred Telly Savalas as the titular NYC police detective. His trademark style of bald head and lollipop made such an impact in the '70s that the names Telly and Savalas could also qualify for this list…Telly for boys and girls alike.

Chakakhan (F) 100%. Once upon a time, a young aspiring singer named Yvette Stevens was dubbed Chaka by a Yoruba elder. She then married a man with the surname Khan, and under the bold new name Chaka Khan became the Queen of Funk. The name Chaka is heavily '70s in her honor, and the extended name Chakakhan is as pure '70s as they come.

Drummond (M) 75%. The most common memory of the sitcom Diff-rent Strokes is of young Arnold, played by Gary Coleman, saying "What you talkin bout, Willis?" But the character who sparked a '70s baby name wasn't Arnold or Willis but Mr. Drummond, the wealthy white man who took in the two orphaned African-American boys.

Sacheen (F) 95%. When the 1973 Academy awards announced Marlon Brando as Best Actor for The Godfather, Brando sent Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather to the stage on his behalf to refuse the award. Two lasting impacts: Oscar winners are no longer allowed to appoint proxies to receive their statuettes, and over a hundred American women were named Sacheen.

Travolta (M) 100%. A scattering of boys were named Travolta in the wake of John Travolta's star-making turn in polyester in Saturday Night Fever.

Ayatollah (M) 100%. There was a lot more to the '70s than sitcoms and disco. In 1979, when the Ayatollah Khomeini led the revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran—and before the extended Iran hostage crisis cemented Khomeini as a villain in the eyes of the American public—the name Ayatollah briefly caught on.

Darth (M) 100%. Yep, that would be the ultimate helmeted, hollow-voiced bad guy, Darth Vader. The name Darth popped up for a few years after the original Star Wars came out in 1977. Once the prequel trilogy appeared, parents opted for Vader's birth name, Anakin.

Shaft (M) 83%. The biggest name of the "blaxploitation" film genre, private detective Shaft was one tough dude with one catchy theme song.

Charo (F) 85%. Actress and flamenco guitarist Charo was a ubiquitous tv guest star in the '70s, known in the U.S. for her catch phrase "cuchi-cuchi."

Amitabh (M) 100%. Amitabh Bachchan was a towering superstar of 1970s Bollywood. Amitabh was one of the first Indian film star names to make a mark on U.S. name stats; today, top Bollywood stars and characters regularly register on the top-1000 name charts.

Starbuck (M) 100%. Before Seattle's Starbucks Coffee conquered the world (and long after chief mate Starbuck tried to counter mad Captain Ahab in Moby Dick), Starbuck was a swashbuckling space pilot in the 1970s tv series Battlestar Galactica.

Comaneci (F) 100%. Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci was a breakout star of the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Starsky (M) 85%. The police detectives of the action series Starsky & Hutch tore around the mean streets of Southern California in a flashy Ford Gran Torino.

Kizzy (F) 79%. The most popular name on this list, Kizzy was the daughter of Kunta Kinte in the 1977 miniseries Roots, a show which left behind a powerful legacy in American baby names. Kizzy was a nickname for Keziah, a biblical daughter of Job.

Benji (F) 77%. Why were girls suddenly named Benji in the '70s? The answer walks on four paws. The title dog of hit film Benji won hearts with his winsome manner and crime-fighting acumen.

Thalmus (M) 100%. Thalmus Rasulala may not be a well-known name today, but the actor was a staple of 1970s African-American productions from Blacula to Roots to What's Happening!!

Sossity (F) 100%. For a dose of the earnest, weighty folk-rock that helped define the spirit of the early '70s, cue up the Jethro Tull song "Sossity: You're a Woman."

Coffy (F) 100%. The 1973 film Coffy starred Pam Grier as a vigilante, "The baddest One-Chick Hit-Squad that ever hit town!" Grier's most famous role of the period, "Foxy Brown," also inspired a handful of Foxy namesakes.

Snapper (M) 100%. Heartthrob doctor Snapper Foster of the soap opera The Young and the Restless was played by a young David Hasselhoff, before he took on the mantle of Knight Rider.

Tennille (F) 71%. Songs like "Love Will Keep Us Together" and the rodent ode "Muskrat Love" made the duo Captain & Tennille one of the biggest musical acts of the mid' 70s.


Read More: Ten names that mean you were born in the 1980s




April 11, 2018 2:42 PM

Wait, Shaft is only 83% male? That name seems pretty overtly masculine, even before you add in the character associations...

April 11, 2018 4:01 PM

@nedibles  Yes indeed, as you would imagine (for so many reasons), Shaft is 100% male! The percentage next to each name is the "1970s purity" rating -- the percentage of all babies who have been given that name who were born in the '70s. Perhaps I'd better reformat make that clearer. :)

April 11, 2018 6:37 PM

Ah, that makes much more sense--guess I didn't read carefully enough. Some of the other names I could see easily going either way, but Shaft not so much. I can see why Shaft would have continued to appeal even after the 70s, though.

April 13, 2018 12:10 PM

Given the word's two definitions, it seems to be a perfect unisex name.

1) A long, narrow part or section forming the handle of a tool or club ( the body of a spear or arrow, or a similar implement) Synonyms: pole, shank, stick, rod, staff

2) A long, narrow, typically vertical hole (that gives access to a mine, accommodates an elevator in a building, or provides ventilation.) Synonyms: hole, tunnel, passage

April 15, 2018 3:43 PM

Hah! Yes, you are correct. I will henceforth keep Shaft on my list of "unisex names" to suggest to parents who want an alternative to Taylor and James-for-a-girl :).

May 3, 2018 10:41 AM

@Karyn, maybe I should add Shaft to my very short list of contronym names (e.g. Blake).

May 8, 2018 12:21 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Laura. It was a bit jarring to not see those three names on the list originally, because they are so consistently popular, and made me wary of the analysis. I did not realize you'd intentionally left them out in order to spotlight the other names. Thanks for the great site, kid need Best above ground pool in this summer!