In My Life Is A Song #103, I abused you with a song I don’t much like. I thought that was an interesting twist on the established modus operandi of this blog series so why the hell not roll with it. Here’s another song I don’t like. In fact, this is one I loathe. I don’t like it because it’s just not a catchy riff and the chorus is whiny. I loathe it because it has my name in the title.
Look hard enough, thanks to the internet, and you’re almost assured of finding a recorded song about you, or at least someone with your name. This is certainly true of most common, white, English names. I’m not sure if the phenomenon translates to other ethnicities or languages but considering the universality of love and music, I’m pretty sure it’s likely.
Whatever the reality, if you’ve been christened with anything close to a “normal” name in the English speaking world, there’s a song about you. A lucky few of you even have a hit song with your name in it. This might be the very reason you were given the moniker in the first place, despite your eventual chagrin. I imagine there are a great many Carolines out there whose parents hoped you’d one day be every bit as sweet as your musical namesake. As for any Sues who happen to be male, well, I hope you find your own sweet dad and give him proper thanks.
Serenading having been a male dominated activity for most of recorded history, it’s not surprising that many more female names are honoured this way, though most Roxannes have likely chosen different employment avenues. Men do, however, get their small share of melodious due, typically for being tough, inspiring, or evil as Leroy, Levon, and Earl can attest. Things also get confusing, for example, like with the Jesses/Jessies of the world who have people yearning for both them and their girlfriend. And then there are those of us with gender neutral names, forced to grapple with what I’ll refer to as the Boy Named Sue Lite problem.
Popular Names in the USA
Jamie has never been a top ten popular name but it has been used for decades for both boys and girls in North America, peaking in the top 20 for girls in the 80s and the top 100 for boys in the 70s. Girls with the name have almost universally outnumbered boys except for the rare 1971 to 1975 period when a slight margin of victory tilted in favour of boys. Hey, wouldn’t you know it? My birth year falls in that range.
Not all places are created equal, of course, and in Scotland Jamie is a dominantly male name, regularly trouncing females in popularity. I am neither Scottish nor of Scottish ancestry nor an immigrant to Scotland which makes this of little comfort. Here in Canada, like the USA, Jamie is clearly unisex with a bias towards being a girl’s name. And I’m totally okay with that. I actually prefer it as a girl’s name, though Jamie Jr would have been a horribly cruel thing to do to my daughter.
History and statistics are no friend of the gender neutrally named, so it was inevitable that my lovely name would be forever etched in the annals of popular music by a song about a young woman weeping over a one night stand she (likely rightly) rejected. Blech! It’s a nauseating subject and a fittingly nauseating song by an otherwise fantastic hard rock band. I hate it, hate it, HATE it!
So, I’m going to kick off your weekend with it. Consider this a test. You can hate it too, out of loyalty, or you can love it and stick another pin into the A Crock of Schmidt voodoo doll. This is the detestable “Jamie’s Cryin” from Van Halen’s self-titled debut in 1978.