Nothing says more about a decade than its 100 most popular baby names. Some endure from generations past, while others are decidedly edgy.
What do popular names from the 1960s say about American culture at the time? We may never know for sure, but it’s intriguing to wonder.
1960s Baby Names
Born to push boundaries, babies in the 1960s took their first breaths to the sounds of Elvis, Motown and the Beatles. Their parents watched the first human land on the moon and thrilled to high-tech discoveries like lasers and the cassette tape.
War in Vietnam was on the horizon, and televisions were replacing radios in America’s living rooms. It was a decade of firsts, but what mattered most to the parents’ of the 60s when it came to choosing baby names?
Was it family, Hollywood, politics, or science? You decide.
1960s Boy Names
Kicking off the decade, John F Kennedy was elected in 1960 as America’s youngest-ever president while stars like Paul Newman, Richard Burton and Rock Hudson lit up the silver screen.
A “John” was the first American to orbit the planet, while here on Earth, John Wayne was making hit movies like El Dorado and True Grit. Who was the most popular namesake for babies named “John” — the third most popular name on the list?
The big winner may be John Wayne with “John” coming in at number three and “Wayne” at 63.
Or was it groundbreaking astronaut John Glenn with “Glenn” at number 74? “Glen,” didn’t make the list at all, so it’s a good possibility.
Not surprisingly, The Beatles’ John, Paul, George and Richard, aka “Ringo,” are all in the top 40.
Whether the preference for conventional boys names was more of a traditional choice or a reflection of the times isn’t clear, but other top boy names like Michael, David, Robert and James suggest Hollywood was a big influence.
Most Popular Boys Names from 1960
1960s Girl Names
Not to be outdone by the men of Hollywood or Washington, classic celebrity girl names pepper the list of the 100 most popular. Elizabeth Taylor, Mary Wells and Julie Andrews all have namesakes in the top 20.
First Lady and fashion icon “Jacqueline” Kennedy shines at number 51. And “Margaret,” of Margaret Chase Smith — the Maine senator nominated for president in 1964 — checks in at 53.
“Jackie,” “Becky,” and other abbreviated versions of girl's baby names from the 60s weren't as popular. But for boys, “Jeff,” “Joe,” and “Mike,” struck a chord.
One thing that’s clear is that despite the many ways parents’ expressed their creativity in 1960s, giving their kids novel monikers wasn’t one of them. Famous names like Sharmila, Lola, Tura and Rock weren’t in the top 100.
“Elvis,” didn’t even crack the top 200 of 1960s names — an unexpected surprise. But alas, some babies were destined to be one of a kind.
Most Popular Girls Names from 1960
Top 100 Baby Names by Decade