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What gave the baby name Angie a boost in 1974?

The song "Angie" (1973) by the Rolling Stones
“Angie” by The Rolling Stones

After peaking in the mid-1960s, usage of the baby name Angie began to decline. But this decline was interrupted when, in 1974, usage suddenly shot up again, and the name reached a new peak in 1975:

  • 1977: 1,390 baby girls named Angie [rank: 191st]
  • 1976: 1,709 baby girls named Angie [rank: 153rd]
  • 1975: 1,947 baby girls named Angie [rank: 140th] – peak usage
  • 1974: 1,590 baby girls named Angie [rank: 170th]
  • 1973: 986 baby girls named Angie [rank: 255th]
  • 1972: 1,016 baby girls named Angie [rank: 260th]
  • 1971: 1,263 baby girls named Angie [rank: 236th]

Here’s a visual:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Angie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Angie

What caused the revival?

The Rolling Stones song “Angie,” which was released in August of 1973. The acoustic ballad reached #1 on Billboard‘s “Hot 100” chart two months later. In fact, it reached #1 in many different countries, making it a worldwide hit.

In his 2010 memoir Life, guitarist Keith Richards described how he wrote the song while he was staying at a drug clinic in Switzerland. Specifically, he wrote it around the time his girlfriend, model Anita Pallenberg, “was down the road having our daughter, Angela” (born in April of 1972).

Interestingly, though, the song was not named with the newborn in mind — the choice of name was pure coincidence:

Once I came out of the usual trauma, I had a guitar with me and I wrote “Angie” in an afternoon, sitting in bed, because I could finally move my fingers and put them in the right place again […]. I just went, “Angie, Angie.” It was not about any particular person; it was a name, like, “ohhh, Diana.” I didn’t know Angela was going to be called Angela when I wrote “Angie.” In those days you didn’t know what sex the thing was going to be until it popped out. In fact, Anita named her Dandelion. She was only given the added name Angela because she was born in a Catholic hospital where they insisted that a “proper” name be added.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Angie? Would you use it as a legal name, or would you prefer it as a nickname (for Angela, Angelica, Angelina, etc.)?

P.S. As soon as Dandelion Angela Richards “grew up a little bit,” she decided to go by her middle name, Angela, instead of her first name.

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