During the 1950s and 1960s, the idea of writing a song about a specific girl really took off. Many a broken heart was lamented in a ‘girl’s name ballad’. Consequently, many baby boomers were named after these songs or named their children after them. How many Jennifers would we have without Jennifer Eccles and how many Carrie Anne’s would there be without The Hollies great 1967 song.
Were you named after a specific song? Does it still plague you to this day? Or do you really love the fact that you have your very own song?
Here are our Top 10 ‘Girl’s Name Songs’ from the ’50s and ’60s.
1. Jennifer Eccles by The Hollies.
The Hollies song ‘Jennifer Eccles’ is even more unusual as it gives a full name apparently an amalgam of Allan Clark’s wife and the maiden name of Graham Nash’s wife. Released in 1968 ‘Jennifer Eccles’ climbed to number 7 in the charts.
2. Bernadette by The Four Tops.
This barnstorming Motown classic is said to be based on at least 3 Bernadettes that the songwriting team Holland, Dozier and Holland had known, both requited and unrequited. The trio had always vowed never to use a girlfriend’s names so kept the story hidden for many years. Levi Stubbs’ lead vocals give the song its dramatic edge that implores Bernadette to ignore all other men and stick with him. The song charted twice for the Four Tops in the UK once in 1967 reaching number 8 and again in 1972 reaching number 23.
3. Hey, Paula by Paul and Paula.
Very much a song of its time, ‘Hey Paula’ spent 17 weeks in the UK charts and peaked at number 8. Its saccharine tainted flavour has annoyed critics for years, however, it is still very popular with many who are instantly transported back to more innocent times.
4. Diana by Paul Anka.
This tale of unrequited love was based on 15-year-old Paul Anka’s crush on a 20-year-old girl called Diana Ayoub who he occasionally bumped into at church and community functions. Sadly, for him, the young Paul Anka went completely unnoticed by the much older Diana, but the world was given ‘Diana’ instead. Charting in 1957 for an amazing 25 weeks in the UK charts and peaking at the number 1 spot. Anka became the first teenager to have a UK number 1 and up to that point was the biggest selling single in UK chart history.
5. Georgy Girl by The Seekers.
‘Georgy Girl’ was recorded by the Seekers in 1966 and used as the theme song to a film of the same name starring Lynn Redgrave about swinging London. Jim Dale provided the lyrics to Tom Springfield’s arrangement, the song still manages to conjure up a real sense of swinging London.
6. Honey by Bobby Goldsboro.
Often pilloried for its sentimentality and making many a ‘top 10 worst song of all time’ list, Bobby Goldsboro’s version of ‘Honey’ made the number 2 spot in the UK charts in April 1968. In its defence, Goldsboro told the NME: “I think ‘Honey’ is a very emotional song, but it’s not like what I call a sick song, a death song. Actually what it is, very simply, is just a guy remembering little things that happened while his wife was alive and to me, that’s not sick at all.”
7. Ruby Tuesday by The Rolling Stones.
The Rolling Stones’ melodic ‘Ruby Tuesday’ tells the tale of heartbreak. Whilst credited to Jagger and Richards it is thought that Brian Jones had a large part in the writing of this great Stones song and can be heard playing the recorder on the track. As with all great songs it was based on real-life events and the split up of Keith Richards and Linda Keith, however, Keith Richards’ version of events is unsurprisingly hazy. Ruby Tuesday was never an A-side so never charted for the Rolling Stones only as the flip side to ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’until a live version was released in 1991. However, it was released as a single by Melanie who reached number 9 with it in 1970 and Rod Stewart who reached number 11 with it in 1993.
8. Wake up A Little Susie by The Everly Brothers.
This Everly Brothers classic was composed by husband and wife songwriting team Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and released in 1957 sitting on the UK charts for 13 weeks peaking at number 2. The song perfectly encapsulates the teenage angst of the era. Controversially, it was even banned in Boston Massachusettes as it implied the young teenage kids had spent the night together, proving way too risque for the times.
9. Carrie Anne by The Hollies.
‘Carrie Anne’ was a UK number 3 single for the ever popular band The Hollies written by Allan Clarke, Graham Nash and Tony Hicks. The song was written at a Tom Jones concert and was later found out to be about Mick Jaggers then-girlfriend, Marianne Faithful, Graham Nash had been ‘too shy’ to use her real name. The song featured in the Michael Apted 1974 film Stardust.
10. Michelle by The Beatles.
The song ‘Michelle’ won a Grammy for song of the year in 1966 and featured on the Beatles‘ Rubber Soul album of the same year. Popular opinion is that it was born out of Paul McCartney desire to appear suave and sophisticated in order to impress the college girls. The name Michelle does not relate to anyone specific girl in this instance but was chosen for its rhyming capabilities.
How many other ‘Girl’s Name’ songs can you think of from the 1950s and 1960s?