What’s Her Name? A Brief Guide to Girls’ Names in Music

1 Mar

Rihanna is the only one in the world, Katy Perry kissed one and Richard Springfield wouldn’t stop saying how much he wanted Jesse’s one. Girls, we’re preoccupied by them and so is music. Especially girls’ names. If you’re anything like me, you’ll love anything to do with your own name. Favourite king? (any one of the) Henrys. Favourite chocolate bar? Oh Henry!s. Favourite cleaning apparatus? Henry the Hoover. Despite any wife-killing tendencies, an overwhelmingly sugary taste and a really quite tacky hoover, they’re my favourite because I’m obsessed with my name. Much is the same with music. Songs with your name are instantly more appealing. There’s nothing wrong with this, I’d do it if Henry was a more popular name, but please be selective in your musical vanity. Case in point, your name’s Amy. Britney Spears sang If U Seek Amy it’s true. But Yann Tierson also created an intriguing track entitled Amy, an infinitely more interesting choice. There’s variation (unless your daughter is called Stacey, in which case you have few options), don’t just love the first one you find. Because if you’re going to be like me and decide if something is named after you that it was actually created for you, you might as well be picky.

I thought it might be fun to pick some tracks that have the best girls’ names, fear not guys they’ll be a list for you soon enough, I’m just wiping Lady Gaga’s Alejandro from my memory.

There’s no doubt that some girls just have prettier names than other. This also means that their names will make for better songs. Note the lack of any love songs that include Gertrude in the title. That’s why my favourite song with a girl’s name in it is so special. The artist chose a good name. Secondly, Jeff Buckley’s Grace added such a romantic and wonderful aspect to this song that it trascends any typical love songs. It’s a truly great track and my favourite song of his. Take a listen, and any Graces out there smile wide:

My next pick is an anthem when it comes to songs about girls’ names. It’s infectious, has cherry cola references and a really great name at its’ centre. It’s the Kinks with their immortal, Lola. I saw Ray Davies last summer at a festival and when he started singing : ‘I met her in a club down in old Soho’ everyone knew exactly which girl he was singing about. It’s an instant favourite from a truly fantastic band:

The Kinks

The next song centers on a slightly more promiscuous girl. Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecilia features some of my favourite lines in music:

Up in my bedroom (making love)
I got up to wash my face
When I come back to bed
Someone’s taken my place

My final song is another one where the eponymous girl is no angel. Sure she’s beautiful and has great eyes but Dolly Parton had to write a song to desperately plea in order for her not to interfere. Jolene is a heartbreaking song and one that has a real emotional pull that is missing from so many songs today:

Those are my favourite that feature a girl’s name in the title, very different songs with very different portrayals of each girl. It’s curious how easily we can be influenced by a name; one bad influence with a person called Edmund can put you off Edmunds forever and a song can do the same. It has the power to elevate names and create an aura around them. It’d be great to hear your selections, (I’m sure you have a few) and also whether or not there are any songs that you (genuinely) like based on your name. If so I’m highly jealous. The closest I’ve come is having a cartoon character sharing my first and second name, time to hit ‘Henry’ into the iTunes’ searchbar once more.

4 Responses to “What’s Her Name? A Brief Guide to Girls’ Names in Music”

  1. David March 1, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    If your name is Amy, (or Amie), this is your song — an American folk-rock classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4xp2lgiAjY

  2. CeciliarunningchickRichmond March 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Only my headmistress ever used my correct full name – Cecilia – everyone else shortened it to Celia or Ce. I was thrilled when S & G made the name cool in the 60’s (or was it later?) and everyone got up to dance. But what about the Whispering Jack Smith US top hit of 1926? “Does your mother know you’re out, Cecilia?” (variously spelled Cecelia) – equally “jaunty and saucy” – famously rhymes that line with, “Does she know that I’m about to steal ya?”. But the choral music which celebrates St Cecilia, the patron saint of music, will live longer.

  3. Penny Horne March 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    You’ve done it again …..one of the best groups of all time with some of the most enduring hits…The Kinks!
    Lola takes me back to college discos and scrumpy in the dubious bars of downtown Bristol with a friend Lorraine (nickname Lola) who requested that track at every opportunity!
    Thank you for indulging me in another moment of nostalgia!


  1. What are some girls names that were traditionally boys names? | wedding - March 1, 2011

    […] What’s Her Name? A Brief Guide to Girls’ Names in Music « Can You … […]

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