Names of the Week: Alice and Cooper

Front cover of the 7'' Single Cover of School's Out, from wikipedia

Note: I did intend on this being posted last week, but for some reason forgot I even wrote it and posted another one instead.

Here in the UK, school’s out finally [we’ve just finished our first week]. So it’s now time to kick back and enjoy our six weeks of freedom. What better way to kickstart the fun than to look at two names forever linked to the ending of school, because of the famous song.

Alice Cooper released School’s Out in 1972 as the lead single of their fifth studio album, also called School’s Out. It was their first major mainstream hit, storming to #1 in the UK, and staying there for three weeks.

The Rolling Stone magazine has ranked the song on it’s list of 500 Greatest Songs of all time (published in 2004) at a very respectable #319. VH1 have also ranked it as #35 in it’s all-time greatest rock songs list in 2009. As an aside, the lead singer of the band itself was born Vincent Damon Furnier.

But let’s now start on the names with Alice. Now, strictly speaking, we have actually covered her before, but not in much detail. So let’s rectify that.

First off, a popularity table for England&Wales, concerning Alice. As you can see, the general trend since 1998 is a fall in popularity for Alice, as she drops from #26 to a low of #50 in 2009. 2010 has seen a slight pick up, which could be due to the 2010 release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Rank 26 26 29 28 33
Births 2143 1962 1909 1790 1511
Year 2003 2004 2005 2006  
Rank 33 39 44 47  
Births 1427 1393 1307 1180  
Year 2007 2008 2009 2010  
Rank 23 46 50 43  
Births 1303 1283 1212 1441  

Of course, the most notable Alice is the character from the enchanting children’s tale by Lewis Carroll. I think that the character adds a certain amount of youth to the name, since her best known wearer is a young girl. The best-known film adaptations of Alice in Wonderland are likely to be the Disney version, released in 1951, and the most recent one by Tim Burton, released 2010.

Tim Burton’s version was a commerical and critical success;  it was the second highest grossing film of 2010, behind the highly anticipated Toy Story 3. At the time of release, it also became the 7th in the Worldwide Highest Grossing Film of All Time.

The name Alice can trace her roots back to the Germanic name Adalheidis, which means of nobility, coming from the Germanic roots:

  • adal, meaning noble
  • heid, meaning type

There is a drawback to Alice, and it’s the French. And the Germans. I have a good friend named Alice, and through school we’ve both been on a German and a French exchange together. Both of her partners called her ah-lees, elongating the end syllable which Alice pronounces much shorter as ah-lis. This really irritated Alice to the point that she refused to answer to anyone who referred to her as such.

There’s another drawback as well, another famous song with attachments to Alice is Living Next Door to Alice, also originally released in 1972 by New World. The drawback is the song is also known as Alice, Who the Fuck is Alice? The better known version by Smokie was released in 1976, and peaking at #5 in the UK Singles Chart.

Cooper has had a noticeably less easy ride in popularity, with it up and down:

Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Rank 1110 1850 1425 N/A 907
Births 12 6 9 N/A 19
Year 2003 2004 2005 2006  
Rank 1248 731 678 677  
Births 13 38 38 40  
Year 2007 2008 2009 2010  
Rank 509 430 396 364  
Births 63 85 99 112  

As you can see, generally speaking, he’s on the up in recent years, with an increasing birth rate that usually means an increased ranking, but not s0 in 2010 when 13 more were born, but he dropped 35 places. In terms of his use as a surname, Cooper is in the top 50 of most common surnames in the UK. This could explain why he’s not wildly popular, if he’s seeing more use as a surname.

Like many surnames, Cooper has his origins as an occupational surname, being that of barrel makers.

A notable bearer of the name is the thouroughly British Mini Cooper, even if it’s now owned by the German car makers BMW. It is interesting to note that the year Cooper did not rank was the year the first new generation of Minis were introduced.

A current bearer on the UK television in the feisty Welsh lady Gwen Cooper, a main character from Torchwood, the spin-off show of Doctor Who, which made its début in 2006.

Like perhaps many unlucky school children, I had to endure the Cooper Test in my youth. It’s premise is seeing just how far you can run in 12 minutes, and if I’m honest, I only slightly prefer it to the bleep test, another horror from my days of P.E. The Cooper Test was originally designed by Kenneth H. Cooper.

In 2010, Peterborough appointed a new manager named Mark Cooper, and promptly sacked him 3 months later after only producing one win. 2011 saw the death of Sir Henry Cooper, an English heavyweight boxer who won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year twice, being one of a select few to win the honour twice.

Categories: Names of the Week | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Names of the Week: Alice and Cooper

  1. I would have thought “Twilight” was a big influence on the rise of Alice.

    Cooper is VERY popular here for boys.


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