50 Baby Names Inspired By Songs
We can get our baby name inspiration from so many places — the books we read, the celebrities we follow, even the songs we listen to. From Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” to Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia,” a huge number of song titles may provide inspiration if you’re in a baby name rut.
These 50 songs with names in their titles are exactly what you need for that pregnancy playlist — and we guarantee you’ll be singing them to your child long after they’re born.
Jude – Hey Jude, The Beatles
Meaning “praised,” Jude may be short for Judah, Judith or Judy. The most famous bearer is actor Jude Law, but perhaps even his celebrity status is overshadowed by the Beatles’ song “Hey Jude.”
Released in the summer of 1968, it was written by Paul McCartney, to comfort John Lennon’s son Julian during his parents’ divorce.
Iris – Iris, The Goo Goo Dolls
Iris is a great choice if you want a flower name for your baby girl but want to steer clear of Rose, Violet or Lily. Meaning “rainbow,” it’s also the title of a Goo Goo Dolls track, which was inspired by a country singer named Iris DeMent.
It was originally written for the soundtrack of the 1998 film “City of Angels.” In an interview with Louder Sound, Google Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik revealed that he came across a mention of DeMent in a magazine and thought, “Wow! What a beautiful name.”
Stevie – Stevie Ray Blues, Stevie Wonder
Whether it’s short for Stephen or Stephanie or a name in its own right, the name Stevie has strong musical links.
Stevie Wonder (whose real name is Stevland Hardaway Morris, incidentally) paid tribute to another Stevie, the late blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn, in his 1995 song “Stevie Ray Blues.” Of course, there’s also Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks, who makes the name equally cool for girls.
Rosalie – Rosalie, Concrete Blonde
Rosalie, the French variation of the Latin Rosalia, means “rose.” And it’s a name with huge musical significance, from the French soprano Rosalie Levasseur (1749-1826) to the 2012 song “Rosalie” by Concrete Blonde.
In 1937, a film of the 1928 musical “Rosalie” was released, with songs by Cole Porter.
Louie – Louie Louie, Iggy Pop
A variation of Louis, with French and German roots, Louie is a fun, contemporary choice. It’s hugely popular in parts of the U.K. and re-entered the U.S. Social Security Administration’s (SSA) top 1,000 baby name chart in 2015.
The rhythm and blues song “Louie Louie” was written by Richard Berry in 1955 and best known for being covered by Iggy Pop in 1993.
Delilah – Delilah, Tom Jones
With Arabic and Hebrew roots, the name Delilah has a sweet meaning (“delicate”) and is the inspiration for many songs.
Perhaps the most well-known is the 1968 hit by Welsh crooner Tom Jones, whose adulterous Delilah was far from sweet and came to a bloody end when she was stabbed in a crime of passion. Of course, the Plain White T’s released their hit song, “Hey There Delilah,” more recently in 2006.
Quinn – Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn), Bob Dylan
Suitable for a boy or a girl, Quinn is an Irish descendant of Conn.
“Mighty Quinn,” written and recorded by Bob Dylan in 1967, was a hit for Manfred Mann the following year. It was later released by Bob Dylan and The Band on "The Basement Tapes Complete – The Bootleg Series Vol. 11" in 2014.
Clementine – Clementine, The Decemberists
An old-fashioned name that maintains a certain appeal, Clementine means “mild, merciful.” But forget Freddy Quinn’s "Oh, My Darling Clementine” — Elliot Smith’s 1995 “Clementine” brings an edge to this virtuous name.
In 2020, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Smith’s self-titled album, Bonny Light Horseman recorded their own version of the song.
Bennie – Bennie and the Jets, Elton John
Bennie, meaning “blessed,” is a name with lots of options. It could be a variation of Ben, or short for Benjamin or Benedict.
And if you’re an Elton John fan, it could be a tribute to his 1973 hit “Bennie and the Jets,” which is about a fictional band.
Cecilia – Cecilia, Simon & Garfunkel
Cecilia, which is derived from the Latin “caecus,” meaning "blind," is the patron saint of musicians in the Catholic church. She is believed to be the inspiration behind Simon & Garfunkel’s memorable 1970 hit, from their album “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
In 2014, British pop group The Vamps released “Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart)," with a chorus adapted from the Simon & Garfunkel hit.
Jeremy – Jeremy, Pearl Jam
The English form of Jeremiah, Jeremy means “appointed by God.” So, it’s one with high expectations then.
The Pearl Jam song of the same name was inspired by the tragic tale of a teenage boy who died by suicide in 1991.
Jolene – Jolene, Dolly Parton
No name says “country” more than Jolene, a fairly modern invention that is forever linked to Dolly Parton’s hit song of the same name. Parton revealed that the name came from an interaction with a young girl in the audience at one of her concerts.
When the child said her name was Jolene, Parton replied, “That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I'm going to write a song about that.”
Bobby – Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin
A good unisex option is Bobby, which means “bright fame.” People named Robert or Roberta often adopt this shortened form as a nickname, but it can also stand alone as a cute baby name.
Originally released by Roger Miller in 1969, "Me and Bobby McGee" has been a popular cover choice for many artists, including Janis Joplin, who went to No. 1 with it posthumously.
Lucy – Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles
Lucy, meaning “light,” is the English variation of Lucia. Since the late 1990s, it’s grown in popularity in the U.S., reaching No. 51 in 2018.
When it comes to the Beatles’ 1967 recording “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” there are a few possible meanings. Until the end of his life, John Lennon maintained that the song was inspired by a painting done by his 5-year-old son Julian of his school friend, Lucy. However, many people believe the title’s letters are a not-so-subtle reference to the psychedelic drug LSD.
Rhiannon – Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac
The Welsh name Rhiannon, meaning “divine queen,” is also the title of a haunting 1975 release by Fleetwood Mac.
Reportedly, Stevie Nicks wrote the lyrics in only 10 minutes in 1974, three months before joining the band. It was only after writing the song that Nicks learned about the Welsh goddess, whose birds sang sweeter than any others.
Virginia – Sweet Virginia, The Rolling Stones
Virginia, meaning “virginal, pure,” has strong roots in pop culture. As well as being a character in numerous books, movies and TV shows, several artists have dedicated songs to Virginia.
But we love “Sweet Virginia,” the sixth track on the Rolling Stones' 1972 double album “Exile On Main St.”
Eleanor – Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles
The Beatles wrote a lot of songs with names in their titles. The name Eleanor is the English variation of the French Provencal Alienor, and it doesn’t have a widely accepted meaning.
For music fans, all that matters is that it’s the title of another Beatles chart-topper. “Eleanor Rigby” spent four weeks at No. 1 in the U.K. charts and was nominated for three Grammys.
Daniel – Daniel, Elton John
Daniel, which means “God is my judge,” has been in the U.S. top 15 names for boys every year since 1972 and is the most popular baby boy name beginning with D. It’s also the title of Elton John’s 1973 song and possibly one of the most misunderstood of his hits.
Despite the lyrics (written by Bernie Taupen), John doesn’t have a brother named Daniel. The Daniel of the song was a Vietnam vet who couldn’t find peace after the war and decided to leave the U.S. – but John dropped the last verse, which would have made this clear.
Emma – For Emma, Bon Iver
Emma means “universal” — a fitting meaning, since it’s universally popular! It was No. 2 on the U.S. baby girl name chart in 2019 and claimed the top spot that year in Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. It’s also a favorite with the indie folk singer-songwriter Bon Iver (real name Justin Vernon), who named his 2007 debut album “For Emma, Forever Ago.” The album includes a track called “For Emma.”
"Emma doesn't really exist,” Vernon told The Times. “Well, she does, Emma is her middle name but we had split up long before I moved. I called her anyway, and she's pretty freaked out. But as I explained to her, it was never about her. The record was me finally stopping a terrible, slow spin that had been building for years. Me alleviating memories, confronting a lot of lost love, longing and mediocrity."
Molly – Good Golly Miss Molly, Little Richard
Molly, meaning “bitter,” was once the diminutive of Mary but is now a popular baby girl name choice in its own right. In 2019, it ranked at No. 161 in the SSA chart.
Apparently, one of Little Richard's favorite DJs was Jimmy Pennick, and his “Good Golly Miss Molly” song title came from Pennick’s catchphrase. The song does have questionable origins — it’s widely accepted that it’s about a whorehouse and balling doesn’t mean dancing — but it’s a super-catchy tune that everyone instantly recognizes.
Gracie – Gracie, Ben Folds
Ben Folds knows how to write songs that touch your heart, and “Gracie” is no exception. It’s about his daughter (born in 1999), and it will probably make you cry.
If you’re thinking about having your own little Gracie, it might help to know that it means “eloquence or beauty of form, kindness, mercy and favor.”
Helena – Helena, My Chemical Romance
Former emo kids will make the connection between the name Helena (meaning “light”) and the band My Chemical Romance. Their 2004 song was inspired by — and dedicated to — the Way brothers’ grandmother, who taught frontman Gerard how to draw, paint and sing.
Helena also has a rich history; it derives from the Greek legend of the king of Sparta’s beautiful wife.
Gabriel – Gabriel and Me, Joan Baez
Joan Baez’s whimsical song “Gabriel and Me” is about her son, Gabriel, and a horse only the two of them can see.
The Hebrew name means “God is my strength,” and is enormously popular in lots of places around the world. It ranked No. 1 in France in 2018 and reached No. 37 in the U.S. chart in 2019.
Emily – For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her, Simon & Garfunkel
A Latin name meaning “rival,” Emily comes from the Roman name Aemilia. Although it’s not as popular as Emma, it’s still a firm favorite in the U.S. and ranked No. 12 in 2019.
Simon & Garfunkel’s 1966 song “For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her,” is one of the duo’s most romantic ballads about a man searching for the love of his life.
Jack – Happy Jack, The Who
A truly timeless choice, Jack (the diminutive of John, before it became a top boy’s name of its own accord) means “God is gracious.”
According to songfacts.com, The Who’s Pete Townshend based the “Happy Jack” character in the band’s song of the same name on the strange guys who used to hang around English beaches and play with the kids. The track was released in 1966 and reached No. 3 on the U.K. singles chart.
Prudence – Dear Prudence, The Beatles
Prudence, meaning “cautious, intelligent,” might appeal to parents looking for a “virtue name.” Another Beatles favorite, “Dear Prudence” was apparently inspired by Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence, who made quite an impression on John Lennon.
According to udiscovermusic.com, Lennon can even be heard explaining the song’s origin over the end of the Esher demo of the track: “No one was to know that sooner or later she was to go completely berserk under the care of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. All the people around her were very worried about the girl because she was going insane. So, we sang to her.”
Oliver – Oliver’s Army, Elvis Costello
The Oliver in Elvis Costello’s 1979 release “Oliver’s Army” is Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentary army in the English Civil War against the Royalist army of Charles I.
It’s a strong anti-military statement, but politics aside, Oliver is a timeless class with a strong meaning: “descendant of the ancestor.”
Martha – Miss Martha King, B.B. King
Reportedly the very first record B.B. King cut, “Miss Martha King” was about his then-wife. Unfortunately, Martha divorced King in 1952, three years after the track was released.
Martha, which is of Aramaic origin, means “lady” — and it’s also the subject of the Beatles song "Martha My Dear.”
Ophelia – Ophelia, The Lumineers
The Lumineers song, “Ophelia,” has Shakespearean roots — it’s based on the tragic heroine in “Hamlet.”
This beautiful Greek name has a sweet meaning: “help.” Ophelia has surged in popularity in the U.S. since 2015, reaching a 90-year high of No. 373 in 2018 and shows no sign of going anywhere.
Georgia – Georgia, Vance Joy
The feminine variation of George, Georgia is also a place name and is attached to the meaning “farmer.”
It’s also a single by Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy. It was featured on his 2014 debut studio album, “Dream Your Life Away,” and spent four weeks in the U.S. Billboard chart in 2015.
Caroline – Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
Meaning “free man,” Caroline has French origins and is the feminine variation of Charles. For years, the story was that Neil Diamond’s huge 1969 hit “Sweet Caroline” was inspired by the then 11-year-old Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of late president John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy.
But in 2014, Diamond told Today that the song was about his wife at the time. Her name was Marsha, but he couldn’t get a “Marsha” rhyme — so he went for the three-syllable Caroline.
Frankie – Frankie Fell in Love, Bruce Springsteen
Whether it’s for a boy or a girl, Frankie has a retro feel but still feels modern. A little like the Bruce Springsteen track, “Frankie Fell in Love,” which was released on his 2014 album “High Hopes.”
Producer Ron Aniello told Rolling Stone that the song is “a great, playful, rowdy rock ‘n’ roll song” with “some of the best lyrics [Springsteen has ever written].”
Athena – Athena, The Who
Athena means “goddess of wisdom and war,” and gave the Greek city of Athens its name. However, The Who’s track “Athena” wasn’t inspired by a Greek goddess.
According to songfacts.com, Pete Townshend wrote the song the day after he was knocked back by American actress Theresa Russell. By the time the band recorded the track, which was originally named “Theresa,” Townshend was nervous about making his feelings for Russell public, so it was renamed.
Liza – Me and Liza, Rufus Wainwright
The English name Liza, meaning “God is my oath,” is often a nickname for Elizabeth. Perhaps the most famous Liza is Liza Minnelli, who was the inspiration for Rufus Wainwright’s song “Me and Liza,” the lead single on his album “Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright.”
Wainwright told The Sun newspaper in the U.K. that Minnelli was reportedly upset about his 2006 tribute concerts to her mother, Judy Garland. “She didn’t like that Judy show,” he said. “She felt it was an affront to her mother’s memory.”
Jane – Baby Jane, Rod Stewart
Jane has been around since the Tudor times, and it refuses to fall out of favor. It’s been in the U.S. top 500 names since records began and has grown in popularity in recent years.
Meaning “God is gracious,” this English name is also the title of Rod Stewart’s 1983 track, “Baby Jane,” which was a global hit.
Annie – Annie, I Owe You a Dance, Tim McGraw
Whether it’s a variation of Anne, Annabel or Anna, the name Annie has a timeless charm and a sweet meaning: “grace.” It was a top 20 name in the U.S. from the 1880s to 1907 and remains in the top 300 today.
Tim McGraw’s song “Annie, I Owe You a Dance” was written by James T. Slater and Tom Douglas and can be found on the Accelerated Deluxe Version of McGraw’s 2013 “Two Lanes of Freedom” album. “It’s one of those songs that just plays out your life in a lot of ways,” McGraw told Billboard. “It just makes you sort of reflect and think about things.”
Olivia – Olivia, One Direction
Olivia was the No. 1 baby girl name in the U.S. in 2019 and also made the top 5 in England, Scotland, Sweden and Australia. However, the One Direction love song “Olivia,” from the band’s 2015 album “Made in the A.M.,” is not necessarily about a woman.
Lead singer Harry Styles said, “Olivia could be a place or a family member [...] Obviously, you assume there’s a girl named Olivia which could be true, but also that’s not necessarily the case.”
Raina – Nick Waterhouse
If you want to give your daughter a royal name without going for the obvious Elizabeth, Victoria or Mary, Raina is a quirkier choice — this Slavic and German variation of Regina literally means “queen.”
Nick Waterhouse’s track, “Raina,” from his 2012 debut album, “Time’s All Gone,” is a classic love song. At the time it was released, Waterhouse said “Raina” was one of his favorite songs he’d ever written.
Diana – Dirty Diana, Michael Jackson
The Latin name Diana means “divine” and has grown in popularity in recent years, edging back into the top 200 in the U.S. in 2018. This may be partly due to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge giving their daughter the second middle name Diana, in tribute to the Duke’s mother, the late Princess of Wales.
Michael Jackson’s song, “Dirty Diana,” was widely assumed to be about Lady Diana, but in fact, it was based on “certain kinds of girls that hang around concerts or clubs, you know, they call them groupies,” according to Jackson’s official website.
Al – You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon
Al could be short for Alan, Alastair, Albert, Alexander, Alvinn … to name but a few. If you have a thing for short names — well, you can’t get much shorter than Al. You can take your pick from a range of meanings, including “all-powerful ruler,” “noble, bright” and “famous warrior.”
“You Can Call Me Al” was the lead single from Paul Simon’s 1986 album, “Graceland,” and while the meaning behind it isn’t entirely clear, many fans believe it’s about a man having a midlife crisis, inspired by the time a man mistakenly called Simon “Al” and called his wife, Peggy, “Betty” as they were leaving a house party.
Denis – Denis, Blondie
Denis, the vernacular form of Dionysius, is much more interesting than Dennis or Denise. And if you really want to give it a punk vibe, you could pronounce it Denee, as in the Blondie track, “Denis.”
Featured on the 1977 album, “Plastic Letters,” it was the band’s breakthrough hit in the U.K. “Denis” was actually a cover of the Randy & The Rainbows song “Denise,” but vocalist Debbie Harry sang a verse in French to justify the name and gender change.
Fernando – Fernando, ABBA
The Spanish and Portuguese variation of Ferdinand, Fernando (“bold voyager”) is probably most closely associated with the 1976 ABBA song of the same name.
It reached No. 1 in the U.K., Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland and West Germany, and was the biggest selling single in Australian chart history until it was surpassed by Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” in 1997.
Jessie – Dear Jessie, Madonna
Jessie, meaning “wealthy,” is a flexible name, with many spelling options (Jesse and Jesy, for starters) and the shorter version Jess.
But Madonna went with Jessie for her pop lullaby “Dear Jessie,” which was written for her co-writer Patrick Leonard’s daughter. “Dear Jessie” can be found on Madonna’s fourth studio album, “Like a Prayer,” which was released in 1989.
Angie – Angie, The Rolling Stones
The diminutive of the Latin name Angela, which means “angel,” Angie has a real rock vibe. This is largely due to the Rolling Stones track of the same name, which is on the band’s 1973 album “Goats Head Soup.” “Angie” made it to the top of the U.S. singles chart, securing the Stones their seventh U.S. No. 1.
Many have speculated that the song is about David Bowie’s wife, Angie, or even Keith Richards’ daughter, Angela. But Richards said in his autobiography that the name simply came to him while he was detoxing from his heroin addiction. “It was not about any particular person, it was a name, like ‘Ohhh, Diana,’” he wrote.
Peter – In Search of Peter Pan, Kate Bush
The Greek name Peter means “rock,” and it’s always been a popular choice in the U.S. It only dropped out of the top 200 in 2012. One of the many pop culture associations is with Peter Pan, the eternally youthful character created by writer J.M. Barrie. And it was this young boy who inspired Kate Bush to write “In Search of Peter Pan.”
In the promotion materials for her 1978 “Lionheart” album, Bush wrote, “It’s sorta about childhood. And the book itself is an absolutely amazing observation on paternal attitudes and the relationships between the children — how it’s reflected on the children.”
Tom – Tom’s Diner, Suzanne Vega
Meaning “twin,” Tom is the diminutive of Thomas, but also stands tall on its own. It’s not a high ranker in the U.S. chart, but it is in the top 100 in France. In 1981, singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega wrote an a cappella tune, "Tom’s Diner," during a visit to a diner in her Manhattan Upper West Side neighborhood.
In real life, it’s actually called Tom’s Restaurant and has another claim to fame — it’s the exterior of the diner frequented by the characters on Seinfeld. The song appeared as the opening track on Vega’s second album, “Solitude Standing,” in 1987, but was never released as a single in the U.S.
Barbara – Barbara, The Temptations
The classic Latin name Barbara means “foreign woman.”
But it’s also the title of one of The Temptations’ best-known hits. Released in 1960, “Barbara” peaked on the Cash Box Magazine chart at No. 38 and on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 29.
Tyrone – Call Tyrone, Erykah Badu
Tyrone, meaning “land of Owen,” is a familiar name to all fans of R&B legend Erykah Badu. “Call Tyrone” was a hit for her in 1997, and 20 years later, the R&B singer revealed its origins.
On her Instagram page, she explained that she “freestyled the whole thing” live on stage in D.C. “‘They had to be super alert because they never knew what I was going to do next on stage,” she added of her backup singers.
Alice – Alice, Avril Lavigne
Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” is one of the most recognizable cultural references for the name Alice, and it was the obvious title for the Avril Lavigne song written for “Almost Alice,” the soundtrack to the 2010 film “Alice in Wonderland.”
Alice, which means “noble,” has been in the U.S. top 100 since 2014 and ranks in the top 5 in Sweden, France and Italy.
Lola – Lola, The Kinks
The 1970 Kinks hit, “Lola,” was controversial at the time due to its risque lyrics. Nonetheless, it was a huge hit for the British band, reaching No. 2 in the U.K. charts and peaking in the U.S. top 10.
“Lola” wasn’t actually written about one person. It was inspired by the various transvestites, transsexuals and drag queens the band knew from their nights performing and socializing in underground clubs. Catchy rock anthems aside, Lola means “lady of sorrows” and is actually the Spanish derivative of Dolores.