Hendrix is a rock star surname on the rise.
Thanks to Allison for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
You probably already know that this surname comes from the Germanic Henry, a popular name that the Normans brought to England, and the British used for a great many kings, included the much-married Henry VIII.
It’s used in nearly every European language, so no surprise that there are surname forms galore, from Harrison and Hendricks to just plain Henry.
The -rix version is Dutch and sometimes German. But what it really is, is pure rock and roll legend.
Johnny Allen Hendrix was born in 1942, grew up poor, taught himself how to play the guitar starting with a broken-down ukulele with only one string remaining, and then recorded some of the most legendary guitar work the world has ever heard.
We know him as Jimi. That’s partly because his parents legally changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix in 1946, choosing family names to honor departed relatives.
He became a sensation after the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and headlined Woodstock in 1969, all before his tragic death in 1970. His songs – from “Hey Joe” to his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” are unforgettable. All these years later, many still consider him the greatest guitarist of all-time.
This makes the name distinctively rock and roll and lends it a touch of Americana, too.
Hendrix: Other than Jimi
Plenty of other notables have answered to the surname, including politicians, authors, and athletes.
If you follow the X-Games, you may have heard pro skateboarder Neal Hendrix as a commentator. It was the name of an nineteenth century Methodist church leader, for whom Hendrix College in Arkansas is named.
It’s also the name of the mascot – a husky dog – for the University of Washington Tacoma. While the rock star is not officially given as the reason for the mascot’s name, Jimi was born in Seattle.
Hendrix: 21st Century Name
This name was used in very small numbers all along, mostly for boys. One imagines it was probably a family surname promoted to the first spot.
Even in 2001, there were a mere ten newborn boys given the name.
But then came the rise of hero surname names, like Lennon – a 2008 debut in the US Top 1000 for boys.
In 2007, Hendrix was given to 96 newborns. By 2011, that number had soared to 203 boys – enough to break into the US Top 1000.
It wasn’t just our growing affection for rock-inspired surname names. Hendrix picks up on a second, and perhaps even more powerful trend. It’s an x-ending name for a boy. That makes this name part-Presley, part-Felix.
By 2014, there were nearly 500 newborn boys given the name, enough to make it #546 in the US. Guitarist Zakk Wylde has a son by the name. So does comedian Kevin Hart. The NFL’s AJ Hawk has a daughter called Lennon and a son named Hendrix. It’s the middle name of actor Donnie Wahlberg’s son Elijah. (Wahlberg must love the letter X – his firstborn is Xavier Alexander.)
Despite so much celebrity buzz, ties to the classic Henry make this name feel rooted in tradition. Overall, it’s a great choice for a son – edgy and cool, but not outlandish.
What do you think of Hendrix? Would you consider it for a son?