Born To Rock

Music baby names are perfect for musicians, like this father letting his baby touch his guitar.
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55 Music Baby Names For Your Newest Little Bandmate

Instant cool points.

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When it’s time to choose your baby’s name, it’s natural to turn to the things you love most for inspiration. And for so many people, that means you’re considering a long list of music baby names inspired by the artists, bands, and standout songs that you play again and again. Whether you’re a devoted musician who is playing a live gig this weekend, or a typical music lover who just loves to crank up the stereo and scream-sing in the car, music baby names are 100% an option for you. You don’t have to be a composer or songwriter to name your baby after something meaningful to you.

The list of potential music baby names is neverending — of course, you could easily snag the first or last name of any artist you’re obsessed with and call it done. There are also countless bands you could pull inspiration from (you’ll read all about Santana and The Ramones here). And there’s certainly no shortage of songs with names in the title that you could borrow for your baby (lookin’ at you, Layla and Rhiannon). You could also avoid naming your child after a person, band, or song, and focus on the elements of music composition, too.

So, without further ado, let’s let these music baby names — from timeless to utterly too cool — take center stage.



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Of course the Queen of Soul tops the list of music baby names. Rolling Stone recognizes Aretha Franklin as the best singer of all time, and she has sold more than 75 million records in her career. She has always been a champion for equal rights, supporting civil rights and indigenous rights groups monetarily and using her platform to call out oppression. So, if you want your daughter to make the world a better place, name her Aretha.



An aria is a vocal solo, sometimes sung with instrumental backing and sometimes without, as part of a larger performance (arias are usually associated with opera). As a baby name, Aria can also mean air, but it has strong associations with music, and of course, a link to Arya Stark from Game of Thrones.



This Irish name is traditionally given to boys, and means “singer-poet.” Throughout history, bards were professional storytellers and lyricists who entertained crowds. If you think your baby will have a big personality and a flair for the dramatic, perhaps this spunky-sounding name will be the perfect fit.



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Bo Diddley (whose birth name was Ellas, also a great baby name) was an American singer and guitarist, and the world owes him a big thank you for making rock and roll what it is. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Blues Hall of Fame, Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame, and won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. So, you know, kind of a big deal, our guy Bo.



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David Bowie is considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, and since he first gained popularity, an icon for LGBTQ+ communities. His costuming and larger-than-life performances changed how live music is presented today. As a baby name, Bowie is a unisex option that just oozes cool.



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You know those glasses. Buddy Holly played a big role in shaping rock and roll’s sound during the 1950s, meshing together country, gospel, and rhythm and blues. As far as music baby names go, Buddy is definitely on the casual side, but is has a “this guy will be your new best friend” vibe that’s hard not to love.



A cadence is a string of notes or chords that mark the close of a musical “phrase.” It’s derived from the Italian word cadenza, which is part of a concerto. Cadence has never broken into the top 1,000 most popular baby names in the U.S. so it’ll feel unique, but is familiar enough that everyone will know how to pronounce it.



This baby name with Greek roots means “beautiful-voiced.” In Greek mythology, Calliope was the eldest of the nine muses, a group responsible for inspiring creativity in musicians, artists, poets, and the like. If you want your little one’s life to be awash in creativity, giving them a name like Calliope might help.



Yes, a carol is a song (technically, any song you stand around and sing in a circle with others). Then there’s Carole King, an American singer and arguably the most successful female songwriter of the 20th century. She wrote hundreds of chart-topping pop hits for other artists, and recording 25 albums of her own, including her most well-known, Tapestry. Want your little girl to blaze a trail for herself? Perhaps Carole can inspire her.



Ba ba baaaaa. Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” was released in 1969 and has become another “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Don’t Stop Believin’” — without knowing for certain when you learned it, you know it by heart. The lyrics will hit home for future parents, too. “And when I hurt, hurting runs off my shoulders. How can I hurt when holding you?”



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Not that you want your child to behave badly, but a name like Cash will suggest they have a little edge. Johnny Cash is one of country music’s most influential artists. He’s remembered for his deep voice, rebellious attitude, and all-black stage attire, hence the title “the Man in Black.”



“Cecilia,” a song by Simon & Garfunkel, was released in April of 1970 and became one of their Billboard chart toppers. The name of the song was inspired by St. Cecilia, the Catholic patron saint of music. Whether you’re a big fan of the song, the band, or the sound of the name, Cecilia is a beautiful girl’s name.



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Like Buddy, Chuck is a nickname-turned-first-name that may not be for everyone, but is seriously charming nonetheless. Chuck Berry is called “the Father of Rock and Roll” not only because he developed the rock sounds we know and love today, but because his music took a stance, something not many artists tried to do at the time.



Whether you fell in love with Demi Lovato’s vocals as a kid watching a Disney Channel original movie, or later in life hearing one of their singles on the radio, you have to admit — they can sing. Demi has one of the biggest, most recognizable voices of their generation. While Demi is usually a nickname for the longer Demetria, it is recognizable enough to stand on its own.



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You know her, you love her, you wish she could give you a big ol’ hug when you’re down. Dolly Parton is America’s sweetheart, a country music icon, and philanthropist who has captured the hearts of generations with her big hair (closer to Jesus) and glam wardrobe (patterning her look after the “town tramp,” in her own words). Naming your baby Dolly is a feminine, happy choice that will instantly call to mind this iconic woman.



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Gender-neutral name lovers, gather ‘round: Dylan is a Welsh name that means “son of the sea,” though today it’s used just as often for girls as it is for boys. It’s an obvious candidate when shopping for music baby names thanks to Bob Dylan, whose career as a singer-songwriter spanned 60 years and is still considered one of the greatest artists and writers of all time.



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Yes, you should name your tiny dancer Elton. The British singer and pianist (and his incredible fashion, including those iconic glasses) made musical history during the 1970s. He is one of the best-selling artists of all time, and is one of the most successful solo artists in history according to Billboard.



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Elvis and his pelvis really shook up the music scene in the 1950s, both with his sexy dance numbers and the fact that, like Black musicians (who he covered regularly), he made the guitar the central instrument of his sound. Elvis is a bold choice for a baby name — it will never not belong to “the King” — but it’s an obvious nod to musical history.



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Looking for a name with a Southern feel and lots of femininity? Why not Emmylou? Emmylou Harris is an accomplished singer-songwriter who has won 14 Grammys (as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award) and is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, one of the country music genre’s highest honors.



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Whether you know her voice because of her hit “At Last,” “Tell Mama,” or “Sunday Kind of Love,” you have undoubtedly heard Etta James sing. Her first name was Jamesetta, but on its own, Etta means “ruler of the house.” If you’re a first-time parent, you should know now, this is exactly what your newborn baby will be.



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For music lovers who are also considering Western baby names, what about Hank? Hiram “Hank” Williams learned to play guitar from blues musician Rufus Payne while growing up in Alabama, and went on to record more than 50 Billboard chart-topping singles. And he must have thought Hank made a fine baby name, because he passed it down to his own son, who went on to have his own massively successful country music career (“A Country Boy Can Survive,” anyone?).



Harmonies refer to how musical sounds are joined into one composition. Harmony was the 198th most popular name given to baby girls in the U.S. in 2021, according to the Social Security Administration. But for true music lovers, the beautiful sound of the name and its ties to music composition will probably outweigh any worries about it becoming too common.



Now Harper, Harper is a popular name — it was the 10th most common name for baby girls in 2021. It has Old English origins and means “harp player,” which calls to mind one of the most beautiful instruments ever, which is somehow always being played by a very elegant lady.



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Jimi Hendrix’s time in the spotlight really only lasted around four years, but while the world was watching, he solidified his position as one of the greatest guitar players of all time. As The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame points out, he was self-taught, and still became “the greatest instrumentalist in rock music.” If you hope your child follows their passions just as ardently, why not call them Hendrix?



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That voice — there’s just no one else who sounds like Janis Joplin. She captivated audiences with her live performances and remains one of the highest selling artists in the U.S. today. If you want your little one to have a big voice and an undeniable presence about them, Janis might be just the name they need.



OK, yes, to some of us, he’ll always be the big dummy who almost fumbled Beyoncé. But Jay-Z is also considered one of the most influential rappers of all time. Not only has he sold millions of records and won 24 Grammys, but he has been central to the creative journeys of artists like Kanye West and Rihanna. It’s a short and sweet J name worth considering.



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Jett will always be the coolest person in the room, whether it’s a lunchroom in second grade or the board room. It’s a killer unisex name inspired by Joan Jett, who started her band The Runaways at age 16 with drummer Sandy West. She might’ve sung about her “Bad Reputation,” but your Jett will be far too cute to ever have one of those.



If you love Johnny Cash but his last name just doesn’t do it for you, you could always use Johnny for your bouncing baby boy. It also harkens back to a famous Chuck Berry song, “Johnny B. Goode.” You’ll have to choose whether you opt for John and use Johnny as a nickname, or go straight for Johnny. Either way, both names feel like American classics (but one is wearing a leather jacket, you know?).



“Jolene” might be Dolly Parton’s most famous song, in which she sings about a green-eyed beauty who might just steal away her man. There’s no telling how many artists have covered it since its release in 1973 (including Parton’s goddaughter, Miley Cyrus). It even made Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.



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“Big Yellow Taxi” singer Joni Mitchell was a 1960s folk music icon, and her career has earned her 10 Grammys and a spot in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joni is most commonly used as a nickname for Joan, which is a derivative of John, meaning “God is gracious.”



Would this be a legitimate list of music baby names without The Beatles? The song was written by Paul McCartney for John Lennon’s son Julian (is began as “Hey Jules”) to encourage him after his parents’ separation. The name Jude itself means “praised.” If you choose this moniker, prepare to sing “Hey Jude” every time you yell for your child.



In music composition, the key refers to a group of pitches that make up the basis of the song. There is a similar name with British origins — Keyes — that means “living near the quay” or “happy.” If you’re hoping your little one loves music as much as you do, and experiences lots of happiness in their life, why not name them Key?



If you’ve never heard Eric Clapton’s “Layla,” you need to do yourself a favor, open your music streaming app, and absolutely blare it. The name has roots in Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian languages and means “night.” If you like a little darkness to your names, that might make you love Layla even more.



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John Lennon was one of the four members of The Beatles, arguably the most influential, successful, history-making band ever. Lennon is an ultra-cool unisex name that happens to mean “lover,” though its association with rock music will probably come to mind first for most people who hear it (which is perfect for music lovers).



If you like Harper but want something a little less common, consider Lyra. A lyre is a smaller, harp-like instrument. In Greek mythology, Orpheus played his lyre so beautifully, a constellation was organized in its shape to remember it forever. If you want your little girl to be an out-of-this-world musician, Lyra might be just the name.



You know what lyrics are, and probably have countless favorites that speak to you. Your baby could be your new favorite. The word lyric is derived from the lyre, just like Lyra, but it’s a more unisex option without that feminine -a ending. It’s a great music baby name if you don’t want to attach your child’s image to specific person or artist.



Rod Stewart fans, this one’s for you. “Maggie May” was released in 1971, and is ranked among Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Stewart wrote the song based on his brief encounter with a woman, and borrowed the name from a sex worker in a traditional tune from Liverpool. If that’s off-putting to you, fair enough, but Maggie is also just a timeless girls’ name (that happens to mean “pearl”).



Remember keys? Well, there are major and minor keys and scales in music composition. If you like more modern, high-status names (think celeb babies like Reign, Kulture, and True), Major might be the music baby name you’re looking for. It’s very subtly connected to songwriting, but has major I’m-in-charge attitude.



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The man who made the world fall in love with reggae: Bob Marley. He had a voice like no one else’s, and he used it to bring countless new fans into the world of Jamaican music and songwriting. He became the face of the Rastafari movement. His middle name, Nesta, would also make an incredible baby name.



A song’s melody is the combination of its pitch and rhythm, though sometimes it includes other technical elements. For composers, that’s probably the most basic description possible, but for music lovers who just listen to enjoy, the idea of having a little baby named Melody might just be music to your ears.



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Nat King Cole began his career in the 1930s playing piano and singing jazz. Three decades later, he had recorded more than 100 songs, risen through the charts, and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After his death, he amassed a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and many more accolades. Short for Nathaniel in Cole’s case, Nat can also be a girl’s name, meaning “gift of God.”



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OK, no one is saying your baby should live Ozzy Osbourne’s lifestyle, but you have to admit, Ozzy is somehow the cutest and coolest name. Ozzy is known as “the Prince of Darkness” thanks to his time in the ‘70s as the frontman for heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Your baby boy will sound like a rambunctious little dude from day one with this moniker.



A lot happened in the world of rock and roll in the 1990s, so to stand out, you had to be something special. Pearl Jam is considered one of the decade’s most successful and influential bands. The name Pearl also has a vintage feel to it, and some subtle ties to cowboy culture, if a name like that draws you in, too.



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This one is a deep cut for classic rock fans, and probably the best Aerosmith-inspired name without going literal and naming your baby Steven Tyler. Joe Perry is a founding member of Aerosmith, formed in 1968, and is still their lead guitarist today. A little girl named Perry, with Joe as her namesake? It doesn’t get any cooler than that.



If you love Elvis but think using his first name is a little too much, consider Presley. It’s a standout gender-neutral option for fans of unisex names. But Presley actually has history prior to Elvis — it means “Priest’s meadow,” which conjures images of blooming, peaceful fields and holy ground.



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This artist needs no introduction. If you’re a diehard Prince fan, whether for his music or his fashion, you need no convincing about why his name would be perfect for your baby. Of course, having a new baby is kind of like bringing home royalty (in that they’ll be running your house for the foreseeable future), so calling them Prince will feel pretty natural anyway.



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Yes, like The Ramones, the iconic American punk rock band born in New York City. They were inspired by Paul McCartney, who often checked into hotels under the fake name Paul Ramon, and they all adopted the last name Ramone, too. Before disbanding, they toured for more than 20 years, performing thousands of live shows, and are one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.



Want a music baby name that also has earthy connections? Reeds are a grassland plant, yes, but reed instruments (like clarinets and saxophones) use a player’s breath to vibrate a thin piece of wood or metal inside to create a sound. Naming your baby Reed feels like the first step in making sure they know their way around an instrument or two.



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Wouldn’t you instantly want to be friends with someone named Santana? It’s a Spanish name meaning “holy” or “follower of St. Anne,” who happens to be the patron saint of unmarried women, working women, and housewives. It’s also the surname of rock legend Carlos Santana, who founded a band by the same name. It would work well for a boy or girl, and either way, they’re sure to grow into a little feminist icon.



Sly and the Family Stone was an American funk band that played a big role in putting soul, psychedelic, and funk music on the map. Musical ties aside, the word sly is derived from the Latin word silva, meaning “forest,” so it has earthy baby name vibes. It’s also a solid short unisex name — perhaps the coolest one ever.



A sonnet is a poem with 14 lines, each with 10 syllables. It also has some history of being used as a name in Italian tradition, where it is derived from the word sonnetto, which means “little song.” There probably isn’t a music baby name more fitting for a wiggly, sweet newborn than that.



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Stevie Nicks is known for her singing and songwriting for her band Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist, as well as her swoon-worthy, borderline witchy wardrobe. Rolling Stone has heralded her the “Reigning Queen of Rock and Roll” and one of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time. In her case, Stevie was short for Stephanie, but why not just make Stevie your girl’s official first name?



She rings like a bell through the night, and wouldn’t you love to love her? While you probably wish your baby would sleep all night through, you have to admit, this music baby name inspired by the Fleetwood Mac song is truly beautiful. It’s a Welsh name meaning “goddess,” which also doesn’t hurt its case.



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Ray is an excellent gender-neutral name choice that calls to mind a ray of light. The name is also known to mean “wise protector.” For music aficionados, Ray will always remind them of Ray Charles, a pioneer of soul music known by his peers as “The Genius.” He was blinded as a child but went on to become one of the world’s most beloved pianists, singers, and songwriters.



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The name Roy has roots in Ireland and Scotland, where the word ruadh means “red.” Roy is the Anglicized version, which is also similar to the French roi, meaning “king.” Aside from these associations, consider Roy Orbison: a singer from Texas who was all about dark, emotional tunes. He brought a big dose of vulnerability to the genre when his peers were not ready to do so. Plus, he’s the picture of cool, with his signature black hair and sunglasses combo.

Whether you’re a dedicated musician or just an avid scream singer on long drives, your love of music is the perfect place to draw inspiration for your baby’s name. The only hard part will be choosing from so many incredible options.

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