Which names are most commonly used in song titles?

(NEXSTAR) – Go, Johnny, go!

A new study of popular music trends has determined “John” to be the most common name used in song titles, followed by Mary, Maria, Johnny and David.

The study, commissioned by an online music-industry resource called Music Industry How To, pulled its data from a total of 2,262,292 different song titles included in roughly 1 million Spotify playlists. Analysts then determined the frequency of the names that most commonly appeared, excluding any track titles that didn’t use a potential ”name” as a proper noun. (For instance, Madonna’s “Ray of Light” would have been excluded, as it uses “ray” in reference to a beam of light rather than a person’s name.)

The study’s findings, however, were based solely on playlists created in Spotify, meaning the song titles analyzed — and therefore the most popular names in those titles — may be skewed toward Spotify users’ tastes.

As of late 2022, more than half (51%) of Spotify’s users were located in Europe and North America, according to a report published in January 2023. (“Latin America” makes up 21%; the “Rest of World” makes up 28%). Data from Statistica and Verto Analytics also suggests Spotify’s listeners skew younger, with the majority between the 18–24 and 25–34 age range.

Even still, the study identified a whopping 2,040 songs with the name “John” somewhere in the title — the most popular being “John” by Lil Wayne and Rick Ross (with 66 million Spotify streams and counting) and “John Hughes Movie” by Maisie Peters (18.3 million streams).

The most popular female name, “Mary,” appeared in 1,803 song titles, the top tracks being “Mary on a Cross” by Ghost (286 million streams) and Ike and Tina Turner’s cover of “Proud Mary” (135 million streams).

Below are the most common names in song titles — as determined by the study — as well as the most popular Spotify track using that name.

  1. John – 2,040 song titles (“John,” by Lil Wayne, Rick Ross)
  2. Mary –1,803 song titles (“Mary on a Cross,” by Ghost)
  3. Maria – 1,714 song titles (“Maria Maria,” by Santana)
  4. Johnny – 1,071 song titles (“Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry)
  5. David – 876 song titles (“David,” by Cody Jinks)
  6. James – 863 song titles (“James,” by Sam Brookes)
  7. Georgia – 698 song titles (“Georgia,” by Vance Joy)
  8. Jane – 659 song titles (“Plaine Jane,” by A$AP Ferg)
  9. Peter – 611 song titles (“Peter Pan,” by Kelsea Ballerini)
  10. Michael – 609 song titles (“Big Michael,” by Stormzy)
  11. Paul – 608 song titles (“Paul,” by Big Thief)
  12. Bella – 580 song titles (“Bella Ciao,” by Manu Pilas)
  13. Linda – 579 song titles (“Linda,” by Tokischa)
  14. Emmanuel – 565 song titles (“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” by Enya)
  15. Alex – 551 song titles (“Alex,” by Roy Blair)
  16. Mike – 533 song titles (“Mike,” by Elvana Gjata)
  17. Juliet – 459 song titles (“Check Yes, Juliet,” by We the Kings)
  18. Carmen – 440 song titles (“Carmen,” by Lana Del Rey)
  19. Carolina – 439 song titles (“Carolina,” by Harry Styles)
  20. Paloma – 419 song titles (“Paloma,” by We Are Wolves)

In a press release publicizing the results of the study, a representative for Music Industry How To said it’s not surprising that so many artists choose to name their songs after people, specific or otherwise.

“Music has been a means of communicating stories for thousands of years,” a spokesperson for the site said, in part. “People are often at the heart of these stories … it’s understandable why names have been featured in the titles of many tracks over the decades.” 

Nexstar Media Wire

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