When we found out we were expecting a son, I told my husband I wanted to name him “Cash.” His response was, “No way, that’s the most hipster thing I’ve ever heard." So we compromised and named our son Jackson, mainly because we both loved the name and the diminutive Jack. And partly because that was the name of one of our favorite Johnny Cash songs. I really love music and it’s a huge part of my family’s lives. If you’re like us and always carry a song in your heart, there are plenty of baby names inspired by songs.
Our son’s room is decorated in a “rock and roll” theme with guitars and song lyrics in prints all over the place. And quite frankly, it’s one of my most favorite rooms in our whole house. I always knew I wanted our kid’s name to have something to do with music or literature, whether it came from a song name, a character’s name, a musician’s name, or part of a song lyric. Music means a lot to our family. Before I got pregnant, we went to a metal show at least a few times a month, and always went to see some kind of live music of some sort. Our favorite trip together so far has been Nashville, where we got to go to all the honky tonks, the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, and of course, the Johnny Cash Museum. My husband and I love all kinds of music, and I hope Jack does, too.
I love our son’s name Jackson, and every time I hear the song “Jackson,” on one of my Johnny Cash albums, I always sing it to him and it makes him smile. Maybe one of these song-inspired names will have you singing to your little one, too.
1. "Andy Warhol" – David Bowie
Whether you name your kid after the famous painter Andy Warhol, or after the song about him, your kid is guaranteed to be creative, eclectic, and cool, right? Andy Warhol was David Bowie's "greatest inspiration," according to songfacts.com. Andy is derivative of Andrew, which means "strong and courageous" in Greek, according to Baby Center.
2. "Rosalie" – Cole Porter
This classic song features the beautiful name Rosalie, and it was written for a 1937 comedy's opening number, according to songfacts.com. Even if you don't name your kid after this particular song, Rosalie is a gorgeous, classic name. According to Nameberry, Rosalie is French origin for the name "rose."
3. "Eleanor Rigby" – The Beatles
According to songfacts.com, Paul McCartney wrote the majority of this song. The website noted, "McCartney explained at the time that his songs came mostly from his imagination. Regarding this song, he said, 'It just came. When I started doing the melody I developed the lyric. It all came from the first line. I wonder if there are girls called Eleanor Rigby?'" Though the song may be about lonely people, your kid won't be lonely with a name from a Beatles song. That's quite the conversation starter. Plus, Eleanor is a beautiful name, and according to Baby Center, it's Greek for "bright shining one."
4. "Fancy" — Reba McEntire
This is my all-time favorite Reba song, and I know it's many others' favorite as well. A friend of mine even got a "Fancy" tattoo on her leg of Reba in those infamous sunglasses and "fancy hair-do." If you name your daughter Fancy, she'll be as fierce and strong as the Fancy in Reba's song. Fancy means "like, love, inclination, or ornamental," according to Behind the Name.
5. "Me & Bobby McGee" – Janis Joplin
According to songfacts.com, this song is about "two young lovers who travel together, but break up so they can discover the world on their own." Janis Joplin arguably made this song famous (even though others had sang it before her), and it was her only top 10 hit since her bluesy voice and style kept her off the pop charts, the website noted.
Originally inspired by a secretary at Combine Music (where musician and writer of this song Kris Kristofferson worked) named Bobbi McKee, they wanted to make sure this song could be about a man or a woman with the name "Bobby." So naming your child Bobby (or Bobbi) could ensure they are strong, free spirits in search of learning all they can about their world.
Bobby comes from "Bob," which comes from "Robert," which means "bright fame," according to Behind the Name.
6. "Daniel" — Elton John
Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics to this song and Elton John wrote the music. Taupin was inspired by a story in TIME magazine about the soldiers coming back from Vietnam and they were "down home country guys who were generally embarrassed by both the adulation and, depending on what part of the country you came from, the animosity that they were greeted by," according to songfacts.com. "Daniel" was written from the perspective of a younger brother.
Though the meaning is somber, the song is one of Elton John's most popular hits. According to Behind the Name, Daniel means "God is my judge."
7. "Eli's Coming" –Three Dog Night
According to songfacts.com, "Eli's Coming" finds "Three Dog Night breaking the 'bro-code' by warning their female friend that a heartbreaker named Eli is coming back to town. The song was actually written from a female perspective by Laura Nyro, a singer who found commercial success as a songwriter." This song is pretty cool because it speeds up, slows down, and speeds up again, which wasn't very common at the time for number one hit songs.
Behind the Name says Eli means "ascension." Hopefully your kid won't be a heartbreaker if you name them Eli, but will be unpredictable and fun like the song of his namesake.
8. "For Emma" – Bon Iver
This song comes from Bon Iver's stay for three months in a log cabin in a snowy northeast Wisconsin, according to songfacts.com. "I remember there was a day before I left that it was minus 20 degrees fahrenheit, but the sun was shining and it was sort of a brilliant contrast," Iver said in an interview with Weekend America. And that comes through in the song, with its dark quiet undertones and the brightness with the louder chorus.
Your baby will be a bright light in the dark if you name her Emma. Emma also means "whole or universal" according to Behind the Name.
9. "Gardenia" – Iggy Pop
I know, I know. This isn't an OG Iggy Pop song, but I still love it because it's still weird, crazy, and cool like Iggy Pop himself, plus that bass line is killer. It did hit number one on the Billboard Charts for the first time with Iggy as a solo act though.
The name "Gardenia" has some questionable roots, according to songfacts.com. "I was in San Francisco, with Allen Ginsberg, and there was this stripper, Gardenia. She was beautiful, a lot of body. We were both going after her but I ended up hooking up with her. But she just wanted drugs at the end of the day. She was amazing…" Iggy Pop recounted. If you have a weird sense of humor and love a good story, "Gardenia" may be a good name choice for you. Otherwise, Gardenia is a "tropical flower", according to Behind the Name. So there's that.
10. "Good Golly Miss Molly" — Little Richard
Isn't this video just adorable? According to songfacts.com, one of Little Richard's favorite DJs was Jimmy Pennick, and this song title came from his catchphrase, "Good golly miss Molly." Even though the song's origins are questionable (Is it about a whorehouse? Does balling mean dancing or something else?), it's still a catchy tune that everyone knows when they hear it.
Thinkbabynames.com says Molly means "star of the sea."
11. "Gracie" – Ben Folds
I love me some Ben Folds. I walked down the aisle to "The Luckiest" at my wedding. He's just so great with words, and Gracie is no different. It's about his daughter Gracie and I promise it will make you cry because it's so sweet. "Life flies by in seconds/You're not a baby Gracie, you're my friend/You'll be a lady soon but until then/You gotta do what I say." Cue all the tears. Gracie means "eloquence or beauty of form, kindness, mercy, and favor," according to babynamewizard.com, making the song (and the name) even sweeter.
12. "Guinnevere" – Crosby, Stills & Nash
David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash says Guinnevere "may be [his] best song," according to songfacts.com. "It's about three women that I loved. One of whom was Christine Hinton, the girl who got killed who was my girlfriend, and one of whom was Joni Mitchell, and the other one is somebody that I can't tell," Crosby said. Your Guinnevere may even inspire someone to write a song about her. According to babynamewizard.com, Guinnevere means "fair and smooth."
13. "Helena" — My Chemical Romance
Any former emo kids out there? This song was about Gerard's grandmother and has an epic music video to boot. His grandmother taught him how to draw, paint and sing, acording to songfacts.com. "The song is dedicated to her, as is the CD," the website noted.
Everyone loved this song back in 2004 — especially those of us with swoopy bangs, thick black eyeliner and black nail polish. But the name isn't so dark. Helena means "light, torch, bright," according to babynamewizard.com, and it derives from the Greek legend of the beautiful wife of the king of Sparta.
14. "Gabriel and Me" — Joan Baez
15. "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" — The Adverts
This song's title character may not be the best person on the planet, but the song sure is catchy and fun. Great reasons to name your kid after it, if you ask me. However according to songfacts.com, Gary Gilmore's "final act, and conceivably the only noble thing he ever did in his life, certainly the most noble, was to donate his corneas for transplant. Two people received them within hours of his execution; some of his other organs were also used for transplants, and what was left of his body was cremated." What a guy right?
According to Behind the Name, Gary means "spear." And that's pretty punk rock in and of itself.
16. "Happy Jack" — The Who
The Who is one of my favorite bands because it was my Dad's favorite band when I was growing up, and now it's my son Jack's favorite band. At least I think so. At 3 months old, he always smiles and laughs when I sing "Who Are You" to him. And even cooler? This song is about a guy named "Jack."
Songfacts.com said, "Pete Townshend based the 'Happy Jack' character on the strange and not-too-intelligent guys who used to hang around English beaches and play with the kids. Townshend would play on the Isle Of Man beach as a kid."
But according to Nameberry, Jack means "God is Gracious." So not necessarily unintelligent, thank you very much.
17. "Hey Jude" — The Beatles
This song came from a sad circumstance, but it has been one of The Beatles' most recognizable hits. Songfacts.com says Paul McCartney wrote this song to comfort John Lennon's 5-year-old son Julian while his parents were getting a divorce. The song was originally titled "Hey, Jules," and the name change to "Jude" was "inspired by the character 'Jud' in the musical Oklahoma" because McCartney loved showtunes apparently, according to the website.
Jude also means "praised" according to thinkbabynames.com.
18. "Dear Prudence" — The Beatles
Had to throw another Beatles favorite out there. I personally even love the rendition of this song in the movie Across the Universe, too. Songfacts.com says this song was inspired by Mia Farrow's sister Prudence, who left a mark on John Lennon. "Prudence met The Beatles on a spiritual retreat with their guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in India, which she attended with Mia. When Prudence, suffering depression, confined herself to her room, Lennon wrote this hoping to cheer her up. It did," the website noted. Now that scene in Across the Universe makes sense when Prudence locks herself in her room.
Prudence means "caution and discretion" according to thinkbabynames.com, which makes sense with the rest of the narrative.
19. "Come On Eileen" — Dexys Midnight Runners
Whenever this song comes on at a bar, you know every single drunk white person in there is going to scream and stand up to sing along. It's just facts. Kinda like when Journey comes on. It's inevitable.
Anyway, according to songfacts.com, this song is based on a girl lead singer Kevin Rowland grew up with and started dating when he was 13. "Rowland was expressing the feelings of that adolescent enjoying his first sexual relationship and dreaming of being free from the strictures of a buttoned-down society," the website noted. Nameberry says Eileen means "bright, shining one." Which is how the song sounds — bright and shining.
20. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" — The Beatles
Now this song has such a cool inspiration. John Lennon's son Julian came home with a picture he drew of a classmate named Lucy, and he had sketched some stars in the sky around her and called it "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Additionally "the images Lennon used in the song were inspired by the imagery in the book Alice in Wonderland," the website noted.
Lucy means "light" according to babynames.com. How precious is that?
21. "Oliver's Army" — Elvis Costello
This Elvis Costello song title is "a reference to Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentary army in the English Civil War against the Royalist army of Charles I," according to songfacts.com. It's an anti-military statement and "covers Northern Ireland's troubles, the end of the British empire, and life in the army," the website noted.
Want your kid to have strong political convictions and be a peace-loving kind of person? Naming them after this song may be a good choice. Sheknows.com says Oliver means "affectionate," so that definitely fits.
22. "Peter Piper" — Run-D.M.C.
This fun Run-D.M.C. song is based on popular nursery rhymes. "The beat is sampled from a song called Take Me To The Mardi Gras by Bob James, a jazz composer who combined elements of dance, funk, and pop in his music," according to songfacts.com. They of course used the tongue twister nursery rhyme "Peter Piper" to show off their vocal talents, the website added.
23. "Matilda's Mother" — Pink Floyd
What song by Pink Floyd isn't whimsy, weird, and psychedelic? "Matilda's Mother" is no different. Though I'm not 100 percent sure what the song is about, it sure sounds awesome. Plus, you could always name your kid Matilda after one of the best Roald Dahl books of all time, right?
Matilda also means "strength in battle," according to Behind the Name. And that's a pretty epic reason to name your child Matilda, right?
24. "Miss (Martha) King" — B.B. King
This was the very first record B.B. King cut, according to songfacts.com, and it was about his wife... at the time. "Most wives would be flattered for their husbands to immortalize them in vinyl, even on a blues record, alas, Martha divorced him in 1952. But at least that inspired him to write another song," the website noted. Sheknows.com says Martha means "lady."
25. "Mona Lisa" — Nat King Cole
Obviously, Mona Lisa is the name of the famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting, and that's just what Nat King Cole is comparing his love to in this song. He loved her smile and mystique. The song was written for the movie, Captain Carey, U.S.A, and the song spent eight weeks in the number one spot in the Billboard charts in 1950, songfacts.com noted. So whether you prefer Mona or Lisa, this is a sweet moniker for your little one.
26. "Ophelia" — The Lumineers
27. "Peggy Sue" — Buddy Holly
Sheknows.com says Peggy means "pearl," and Sue means "lily," so Peggy Sue is made up of two very beautiful things. Now the song Peggy Sue was based on a woman named Peggy Sue Gerron who was dating Buddy Holly's drummer with The Crickets, according to songfacts.com. He went on to create "one of the first sequels of the Rock Era," the website noted, with the song Peggy Sue Got Married.
28. "Walter's Walk" — Led Zeppelin
Songfacts.com said "The vocals to this song were added in 1982 and the song was remixed for Coda, an album of unreleased tracks." And Coda was a "requiem for late drummer John Bonham." It was originally an instrumental piece. Fun (and sad and sweet) fact: John's son Jason Bonham fills in on drums for this song during "the occasional Zep revival," the website noted.
Walter also means "ruler of the army," according to Behind the Name. Will your kid be a great leader? Perhaps, if you name them Walter.
No matter which name you choose, if your kid is named after a song, that's pretty rock and roll of you — and I bet your kid will be pretty rockin' and creative, too.