What do leg warmers, parachute pants and the end of the Soviet Union have in common? The 1980s!

The Bible, the Cold War, and boy bands that had better hair than girl bands were the perfect inspiration for a host of 1980s baby names. Do any of these top 100 sound familiar?

1980s Boy Names

Michael has been a top boy name for over a century. But as parents sought to honor the political heroes working to end to the Cold War — Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan — its appeal only grew.

Popular names from the 1980s also expressed a love of places far and wide. Ireland gave us Sean, Adam and Kevin, while British royalty inspired classics like William and Charles.

Biblical names continued to be fashionable, but trends shifted from kingly figures like David and Joseph to humble characters, including Daniel, Joshua, and Jacob.

1980s kids

Most Popular Boys Names from 1980s

1980s Girl Names

Biblical girl names were also a hit — Sarah and Rachel gained in popularity. But the British royal family couldn't be ignored.

“Elizabeth” flew to the top of the list of regal names from the 80s while a young new princess named made a splash in the United States. “Diana” rose from its number 97 spot in the 1970s to a cool 75.

But despite the continued popularity of classic names, baby names from the 80s trended toward the fun and romantic. Monikers like “Tara,” ”Brandi” and “Misty” had pop vibes, while “Kayla” entered the top 100 for the first time in homage to the romance of the decade on NBC’s daytime soap — Days of our Lives.

Enchanting names from afar were among the foremost choices for girls. “Heather,” a flowering evergreen from the barren lands of Scotland and “Kimberly,” meaning from the wood of the royal forest were favorites.

Other trends in 1980s names were girl-versions of boy names like Danielle, Samantha and Jamie, and Old English boy names for girls including Ashley and Lindsay.

Top 100 Baby Names for the 1980s

Most Popular Girls Names from 1980s

1980s kids

Does a baby name always have to have a classical meaning to reflect a child’s one-of-a-kind personality? Maybe not.

Why the name “Jessica,” topped the list of the 80s most popular girls name is a mystery — cultural inspirations are absent. And the most popular name for boys, “Michael,” could reflect Christian tradition or a fascination with the “King of Pop.”

Names with meaning matter, but ultimately, it’s what they mean to you.

Top 100 Baby Names by Decade

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