Okay, so you’re looking for a cool baby name, and you’ve gotten to the point where you’re going through your record collection for inspiration. We understand. We get it. In fact, this is a great technique. But, let’s focus on a specific era, shall we? Instead of getting lost with the Bobs, Pauls, Davids, or Rogers of the ‘60s and ‘70s, let’s focus on the last great decade of rock music: The 1990s.
The rock icons of the 1990s still loom large in our lives, and not just because contemporary teenagers can buy Nirvana shirts at Hot Topic. The rockers of the ‘90s had an utterly unrehearsed, real quality, which is probably why there’s so much nostalgia for that era now. Yes, it feels like the ‘90s never ended, but then, when you look back, it feels rawer and more tactile than the world we live in today.
But enough weird philosophizing! What is this, a dorm room? We’re grown-ups now, and we’re here to talk about awesome baby names. Here’s ten great baby names based on ‘90s rock stars, that you could seriously consider for your own child.
The excellent and unique Layne Staley defined hard rock in the ‘90s with his band Alice in Chains. But, despite his hard rock image, and tragic end, there always seemed to be something sweet and haunted about Layne Staley. He also had a super-cool name, that matched the way we like to remember him. Believe it or not, the name “Layne” with that spelling is very popular. As a name for boys, “Layne” has been in the top 1000 names in the US since 1994.
The coolest, most outspoken female rocker of the ‘90s was easily Shirley Manson. Either you loved everything about her rock band Garbage, or you just weren’t paying attention. The effortlessly cool Manson is also the only person on this list who managed to sing a James Bond theme song and let’s get real, “The World Is Not Enough” still slays. Will naming a child “Shirley” give you a kid that is only happy when it rains? Hopefully! And, right now, this is not a common name for girls, even though it’s so classic. The last time “Shirley” was in the top 1000 names for girls in the US was 2008, where it placed 908th.
People love Eddie Vedder, but the guy who co-writes the lyrics for Pearl Jam is Stone Gossard. Believe it or not, “Stone” was the 982nd most popular name for a boy in the year 2022. So, clearly, Stone is coming back! The ‘90s ARE back.
Say it ain’t so! Shocking no one, the name “Rivers” has never been in the top 1000 baby names since 1980. But, let’s not let us dwell on that. Rivers Cuomo remains one of the greatest living musicians, ever. We’ll all debate about what is the best Weezer album until the end of time, but “Rivers” is a freaking cool name for a kid.
The lead singer of The Cranberries, Dolores O'Riordan, has an undeniably unique voice. One of the greatest ‘90s bands of all time, the albums of The Cranberries have aged extremely well. Right now, Dolores is a rare, but classic name for kids of any gender. It hasn’t been in the top 1000 most popular names since 1989.
We all know a “Tom,” but do you know a “Thom?” The Radiohead frontman, Thom Yorke has a very English name. That said, the spelling of “Thom” comes from Aramaic which roughly translates to “twin.” Maybe you think of your baby as a small twin of yourself? That seems like a deep Radiohead thought, right?
There’s no doubt that, in the ‘90s, Gwen Stefani ruled alternative rock. And today, the name Gwen is a great choice for a baby name for one simple reason: It ranked 850th for popularity for girls’ names in 2022. Interestingly, “Gwen” didn’t break the top 1000 names throughout the ‘90s, but then came back huge, starting in 2013.
Today, songwriter and guitarist Noel Gallagher is still rocking, decades after his mega-success with younger brother Liam Gallagher in the rock band, Oasis. As of 2022, “Liam” was the most popular male baby name in the U.S. So, if you’re looking for something a little less common, “Noel” is a solid choice. In 2022, “Noel” was the 425th most popular baby name for boys in the U.S. So, popular, but not too popular. Kinda like the brilliant songwriter himself.
The name “Alanis” has not been in the top 1000 baby names in the U.S. since 1980. Obviously, Alanis Morissette is the voice of ‘90s alt-rock for several generations of kids, and now, we’re all grown-up! This is a great name and feels timeless and hip all at the same time.
The immortal Kurt Cobain becomes more of an inspiration with each passing year. Putting aside how tragically short his life was, his legacy of iconoclasm is an essential balm to the increasingly conformist world we live in. Kurt Cobain hated all the right things and loved a lot of what we love today. Will naming a kid Kurt make them angsty forever? If they have the same independent spirit, maybe that’s not a bad thing. The name “Kurt” was in the top 1000 baby names for boys from 1980 to 2005. However, it hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 2005. Meaning, it’s time for “Kurt” to make a comeback.