The Name Game: The Beat Goes On

07/10/2009 at 02:30 PM ET

Although we don’t yet know whether Otis Redding proved to be the inspiration behind Tobey and Jennifer Meyer Maguire‘s decision to name their 9-week-old son Otis, for several CBB readers the Dock of the Bay crooner immediately springs to mind. Little Otis Tobias Maguire is just the latest in a long line of celebrity babies with a name tied (coincidentally or not!) to music, however, according to co-founder Pamela Redmond Satran. What’s more, those musicians often belong to the same genre — jazz!

Ben Stiller and Mark Wahlberg both chose the ever-popular Ella (Fitzgerald), Ewan McGregor opted for Esther (Phillips), Joan Cusack, Larenz Tate, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins all fell in love with Miles (Davis), Natascha McElhone gave son Rex the middle name Coltrane after John Coltrane and Ethan Suplee and John McGinley settled on Billie (Holiday). Other celebs cut right to the chase; Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi named their daughter Jaz, while the late Joe Strummer of The Clash selected Jazz Domino for his daughter.

Rachpoot/INF; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin

A saxophone and hi-hat aren’t for everyone, however. Some celebrities are much more in tune with the sounds of an electric guitar, so it should come as no surprise that Slash Hudson of Guns ‘N Roses has a son named Cash (as in Johnny), Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society has a son named Jimi (as in Hendrix) and Liam Gallagher has a son named Lennon (as in John). Others have chosen to pay tribute to a love of reggae music, like Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale with son Zuma Nesta Rock, whose middle name is a nod to the legendary Bob Marley. Some musicians draw from unlikely sources in naming their children, however; High energy Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis was inspired by the relatively tame 1950s group The Everly Brothers in naming son Everly Bear, while hard rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen was wild about Wolfgang for his son, named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Some musician-inspired names have been climbing the popularity charts at record speed, like Aaliyah, Marley, Presley, Rihanna and Miley — the latter of which Pamela deems “one of the fastest rising this year.” There are other ways to pay tribute to a love of music without singling out a specific artist, however; Pamela notes that names like Allegra, Lyric and Sonata are all viable options.

In addition to her work with, Pamela has co-authored ten baby-naming books with Linda Rosenkrantz. Their newest title, Beyond Ava & Aiden, is available now.

— Missy

Would you pay tribute to a musician or musical genre in naming your child?


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Emily on

I already did! My son’s middle name is Cash (for Johnny), and he was almost named Cash Harrison (for George). In the end we decided on a more traditional first name, but I’m secretly hoping he’ll decide to go by Cash later in life.

Sophia Eastwood on

We also named our son Cash, but gave him the more traditional middle name, Ryan.
We recently welcomed our first daughter, Presli Dylan. Music is big in our house, so it only seemed right to include it in their names.

Forever Moore on

When my husband and I have children, we would like to name our boy Conor, after Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes; Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band)

K on

My cat’s name is Hendrixx…yep with 2 x’s. I also have a dog named Cash.
But I plan to give my son the middle name Presley, in honor of the King of Rock & Roll.

amy on

we’re not going for the music theme with names (even tho i would like to, being a songwriter and all) but my husband wants to go with a sports theme if we have a boy next. he wants to name him dallas. (he is obv. a big cowboys fan) my vote is NO lol

Casandra on

I love names with musical influences to them. My favorites are: Ella (Fitzgerald), Etta (James), Miles (Davis), Curtis (Mayfield), Marvin (Gaye), Nina (Simone), Louis (Armstrong), Otis (Redding).

So many great namesakes!

Brooklyn on

I probably wouldn’t…maybe after an athlete though!

Elisabeth on

We have an Etta (James), a Rosemary (Clooney), and a Miles (Davis). We are a very musical family 🙂

missy on

My daughter’s middle name is Josie after Josey Scott from Saliva.

hermowninny on

I totally did with my son Jude (Hey Jude) and our dog Sadie (Sexy Sadie).

Elle on

I know three sisters named Melody, Harmony and Symphony. No this isn’t an urban legend I actually went to school with Melody and met her sisters. Her parents are very musical people!

Veronica on

My daughter’s name is Giverny and I got it from a song by Chris Rhea of the same name about the city Giverny, France. I thought he was sining about a woman and when I figured out it was the city it didn’t matter I was sold. We call her Dindi which is also a song written by the famous Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. I loved the song as a child and made my mom a pact that I would name my first daughter that, and I did. Music is everything to my family.

JMO on

I don’t have kids yet but I did name my cat Jackson (after the Jackson’s of course)! So does that count? lol.

I wouldn’t be opposed to given my son the middle name Jackson either….we’ll see. I am not really for naming my kids after people I do not know but if they’ve been an inspirational influence I def. can see doing so.

Erin on

I’m from a very musical family and my father is a jazz musician…with that being said, I have put many jazz names on my list.

noam on

some of the more obvious choices i might avoid, because what if the child doesn’t like that artist? (by obvious, i mean like elvis or sinatra, both names i have seen used…) but when i have kids, i’d like a walter and a leonard, both names i like anyway, but also after little walter and leonard chess…and i have three cats named red sox, hotel, and foxtrot, after the wilco album. (sorry, couldn’t bring myself to keep the first one yankee….)

mel on

i might consider it. i love Regina Spektor and Regina is one of my favorite names, so that’s a possibility. in general, i prefer the idea of naming a child after an artist than something music related (naming a child Ella over naming her Lyric, for example).

as others have been saying, this idea can apply to other categories. my best friend and her boyfriend have decided that if they ever have a son, they wanna name him Jeter. as in, his name would be Jeter Martinez….

jessie on

i’ve always wanted to use the name michael as a middle name (for jackson, rip)and i like the name mariah, but not sure if i would use it now, though

Sarah M. on

Amy and Mel – I know a family that has 4 kids. Dallas (a girl-after the football team), Josh, Jeter (after Jeter Martinez) and Jonah.

For me it would really depend on what the name actually was. I can’t see myself naming a child after someone just because I like that person. (My favorite actress is Poppy Montgomery, but I don’t really like the name Poppy and wouldn’t name a daughter that.) But I like a mix of names. I really like some more old fashioned names, but don’t like others. Same with more unique names. Same with foreign (for me) names. If I hear a name and like it, I may use it. If I don’t, I won’t. 🙂

JMO on

I knew someone who was named Promise and her sister was named Precious. They also had another sister but I can’t remember but I think it was Miracle. I don’t know if named after something specific but the Harmony and Symphony names sort of reminded me of them lol.

Lauren on

Miles, Presley, and Michael are my favorite musical names for boys, Rihanna and Ella are my favorites for girls. I went to middle school with a Rihanna and thought it was a really pretty, unique name. I love music of all genres and can really see myself naming a child as a nod to a performer if I absolutely loved the name, but all my absolute favorites I would be most inclined to use are after old Hollywood (Sophia, Isabella, etc).

Anon on

I actually like the name Spektor for a boy and I’m a regina spektor fan. . I personally wouldn’t name my kid after an artist no matter how much I like them. If I happened to like a name then fine, but I would have picked it regardless of the artist.

Kelly on

I might go with traditional names like: Joel (Billy), Simon (Paul) or John (Elton). And for girls I like: Carly (Simon), Annie (from John Denver’s “Annie’s Song”) and Grace (from “Amazing Grace”, which is my daughter’s first name). But the more uncommon names we save for the family pets; like Garfunkel (Art) the cat, Toby (Keith) the cat, Bowie (David) the dog and Jagger (Mick) the dog. Just my preference.

crg on

I was just thinking the other day how I’m surprised that Hendrix hasn’t bee scooped up as a first name. Seems like a given. My son shares his name with a well known singer, but we didn’t name him after the singer, it just happened that we liked the first name. I am a lover of music and a music teacher, so I would definitely (and have!) used a musical name.

My husband wanted to name our son Elton, but that didn’t happen. I like Elvis (for Elvis and Elvis Costello- whose actual name is Declan, I believe)- I think it should be brought back! Actually I was swimming at a lake and heard someone who kept calling for “Elvis”. I assumed it was a dog, but when I looked they were calling their little blond toddler 🙂 Costello would be good, too.

Tim on

If my Dad was Joe Strummer you could either call me “Joe Strummer’s Kid” or simply Punk Rock Warlord Junior.

Nice to see Joe mentioned as ever.



Alex on

I’ve got a Jackson, who was actually named for Pollock but I know when he gets to school everyone will think he was named for Michael (which isn’t a bad thing, it just wasn’t the intention!).

Alex on

Oh, and it could be worse than being named after musicians. I know someone who comes from a family of six children, all named after capital cities of Europe. It’s not cute lol. One might be, but I’m not a fan of the running themes and as much as I love the cities, I don’t really think of Berlin or Madrid (etc) as all that suitable as names lol.

Mary on

I plan on naming my first son Harrison. I’m totally in love with George Harrison, and Harrison, to me, is a nice, strong name.

babyboopie on

With our unborn second child, we have a name already if its a girl; Madeline Amelie ‘Maddie’. But if it’s another boy, we are have two names, Lionel (after Richie) because my fiance adores him, and I quite like Nicole Richie so it’s all good but another name I quite like that Vincent (fiance) HATES: Louis!

anon on


Thats kinda awful. “Come here Berlin!” lmao thats ridiclous. Though if I have a daughter I’d named her Cairo. I don’t think that ones too bad tho.

Stella Bella on

I wouldn’t name my kid after someone who was still alive. I can definitely see the appeal of jazz music and jazz age names. Personally, I love the name Zelda (Fitzgerald), but my husband is into video games and for him, the name doesn’t bring up the aura of the jazz age, only the Legends of Zelda video game. I have to admit that many people would view it the same way. I guess that’s our culture now. 😦

Kelly on

If I ever had a son in the future I’d like to name him Paul (as in McCartney) who is my absolute favorite singer. Or any Beatles names in songs like for a daughter Michelle or Lucy for their songs.

Maria on

My son’s name is Minas Lawson (named after our fathers) but my boyfriend (ugh,I hate how it sounds,but we’re not married or engaged so..) wanted to give him Lennon as a middle name ’cause he’s a huge Beatles fan but we decided that if we ever have another boy (we’re expecting twin girls in October) we’ll give him Lennon as a middle name. 🙂

Nika on

I have a feeling there will be a surge in popularity with the name michael and possibly jackson, due to obvious reasons.

I gave birth to a son in april and i’m pretty sure had he been born post michaels death, that would have been his middle name.

I wouldn’t go as far as naming my son michael as it’s a bit too traditional for me.
Plus my sons surname IS actually jackson so that would be corny!
Which is a shame because i actually like the name jackson for a first name.

Mommyof3 on

We named our daughter after the Beatles “Abbey Road” LP. I grew up listning to them and I still do everyday. John, George, Ringo and Paul are legends and I wanted my daughter to have a strong meaning behind her name. So Abbey it was, and we could not have found a better name! 🙂

Abby on

I’ve always loved Layla as a name. Music is a major part of my life so I can’t see NOT naming my child after one of my greatest loves. I love the name Jude (“hey jude”) as well, and will probably use it as my mom’s name is Judy. Because of how much my dad loves music, everyone has always assumed I was named after Abbey Road, but it wasn’t the case. More likely the Knots Landing character brought the name back for my mom, who grew up down the street from an Abby.

Love the nameberry stuff on CBB, but I have to point out that she totally missed all the Jaggers out there. There was 3 born last year alone, I think…There’s absolutely nowhere else these names could come from but Mick Jagger!

Shannon on

My kids were born and named before I ever thought of this, but I love the idea of music-themed names! Not after any one individual, but I LOVE the names Melody, Lyric, and Cadence!

bubbles on

I LOVE the name Miley. When I have kids, if I have more than one girl, I would definitely consider naming her Miley. She’s a great actress, singer, and role model. Plus, the name is so cute!!

Kimmie on

We named one of our son’s Ian after the lead singer of the Cult . Our youngest is named Sebastian (like in Sebastian Johanne Bach)but everyone still thinks he was named after the damn crab in the lil mermaid lol!

Chloe on

We nanmed our first child ‘Shakira’ and so far everyone loves it but the down side is that we do get comments Like ‘So you want her to be a singer hey?
We just loved the name much better then pain old names like Emma, Sarah etc

karlee on

when i have kids i would have a theme but not really from music.
like my brothers and sister have a theme. we all start with a c or k except for one of my brothers.
our names are, Chris, Krystalyn, Karlee, Dalton (the odd one out), Colby, and Kaeden.

Sheena on

My daughter’s name is Nirvana. Need I same more

Bummy on

We named all our Pembroke Corgis, Sir Simon, Sir John, Sir Nick, Sir Roger and Sir Andy (member from Duran Duran) Our son has a regular name.

aurora mia on

Well, I have to laugh…this is way after this tread came out. My family is way into hard rock music….My husband has been a guitarist his whole life. Me…a gardner who loves music. If you listen close to my heart…you can hear twin rock guitars! Had we had a a girl…she would have had a flower name. But I had a rockin little guy. We were flipping through guitar magazines and I came across an article about Liam Wilson from the Dilanger Escape Plan. We chose Liam. Then I chose Rhys…because is meant “breathed by God”…at 40 years old, he certainly was! Then his third name is Blackmore, after Richie Blackmore from Rainbow. He has a big ole name to grow into…but he has more then enough personality to do so…………OH and how he loves the guitar 🙂

Elizabeth Sulivan on

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, back in ’94, I was lying on the couch listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Little Wing” and just as the song was ending she kicked me really hard five times, like she was commenting on the music.

When she was 2 days old I still hadn’t come up with a name for her, then I remembered her reaction when I was listening to Stevie Ray… I named her Sacha Rae.