Who Knew? Arlene is the Ultimate Inspirational Name for a Love Song

It’s been five years since I first published this original blog- titled differently because I was disgruntled at not having a love song with my name in it. In subsequent time, I celebrated yet another big milestone birthday. While it was during the COVID-19 quarantine period of time, my family and friends made sure it was extra special for me with clever devices. For one, my husband WAY redeemed himself, when not having come up with a song for this original big birthday discussed below, he made a wonderful tribute to me in a Life Video, and used two special songs at the first part with my growing up photos, and the last part with my adult photos and our love story. The songs were sent to me by a stranger who read this original blog on the Internet, and who thought I should know about two wonderful love songs that were about an Arlene. Neither were big hits and both were in doo-wop style which is kind of before my time, but both songs are absolutely MUSIC to my ears to hear guys crooning about their love named Arlene. So here linked are these special songs: A Girl Named Arlene by the Tokens         

That one ends with a great flourish – I LOVE ARLENEEEEEEE…..

And Arlene by the Titans.  (Well, I’m in love with Arlene…my teenage dream)

But wait… there’s more. After that guy sent me those numbers from YouTube, I discovered several more Arlene love songs on there – all from the doo-wop era. There is still another song by the Tokens, a different love song called Arlene, also very cute although not as great as A Girl Named Arlene. I am thinking the writer for the Tokens had a love named Arlene. You think? Here it is linked here: Arlene, you got my head in a whirl, I want you for my steady girl….

And still another doo-wop love song named, Arlene – this one by the Del-Aires. I promise you – these are all adorable love songs with the girl’s name, Arlene as incredible as it might seem. Linked here. Arlene, Arlene, she is my dream. How have I lived my whole life up to my very old age, and being the ultimate music and music memorabilia fan, and never have known that my own name was the subject of so many crooning love songs?? Who knew my name – clunky as it always seemed to be to me (just TRY to come up with a nickname for it) was the inspiration for so many songwriters?

(And PS if you have 18 minutes to watch an incredible video by my husband for this birthday, it is located here on youtube. )

Thanks to these songs, I don’t hate my name so much any more. I found a bunch of famous young Arlenes, most notably, on American Bandstand in the late fifties and early 60’s – one of the most popular and admired regulars and possibly the inspiration for the songs above. The only thing is that I was born in the wrong era. Had I known about all these great 50’s Arlene songs, I would not have grown up as a child of the 60’s wishing my name was Layla, or Windy.

Now the original “I hate my name because there are no love songs with Arlene in it” Blog from five years ago:

My son and daughter and husband are already conspiring to make my very big upcoming birthday – NOT UNTIL MAY please note- very special. I am playing along with it, especially because I like big celebrations of all sorts, and especially ones that involve me. I have spoken before in my blog about being deprived of birthday parties growing up where my birthday was almost a non-event. The world didn’t revolve around me then, though I wanted it to.

All systems are go for the big party itself – it will be a fun, rocking dance party.

I have been throwing out unique gift ideas, or ways to make it more special – giving lots of hints. I am just playing with my family most of the time though, even if there is the tiniest sliver of seriousness to my requests. (We again refer back to the birthday deprived little girl.)

For example, I thought I was going to request a flash mob just to be funny. But that trend is so last year.  I changed my mind after I saw a hilarious lip dub by frat boys. A friend just had her 60th with a hilarious video of her life, and it was so clever, no one could possibly top it. So I thought I would like a Lip Dub instead of a life video. Lip Dubs, if done properly, are the best thing ever.

But after listening to an oldies station on iHeart radio during many long bike rides, and hearing dozens of oldies with girl’s names in them, I remembered growing up and wishing my name was anything but Arlene. Since I always adored pop songs and top 40 radio, I wanted to be Hey Hey Paula. I wished I was Barbara Ann or Rhonda when I heard the Beach Boys. I wanted to be Judy (Beatles and others) or Eleanor (Beatles and Turtles) or Marianne (Four Seasons) or Carrrie-anne (Hollies) or Susan, or just about any girl’s name other than Arlene. I wanted a burning love song with MY name, not Layla’s or Michele’s. I was always a romanticist, and I always longed to hear a love song with my name in it. DENIED.

For goodness sake, even Billie Jean, Brandy, and Cherry – unusual names – had songs with them in the title. For someone who was just passionate about music and the feelings that songs elicited, this was a major letdown. I mean, seriously, who was going to put Arlene into a love song?

In fact, the only thing famous about my name while growing up in the 60’s was this old lady on TV – What’s My Line, named Arlene Francis. That was downright embarrassing because it appeared I had an old lady name. No wonder there wouldn’t be any love songs using my name – it wasn’t a young girl’s name, it was an old lady’s name.

For a while I longed for a boyfriend that would write a love song to me. That didn’t happen, although my first boyfriend was a huge love letter writer.

When Come On Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners became popular, I would substitute my name, and sing Come On Arlene. Pretty soon, I had my friends doing that to humor me.

I was aware of the thousands and thousands of songs with women’s names, and was confident that absolutely zero of them had the name Arlene. Sure there was Eileen, Darlene (Led Zeppelin) and Jolene (Dolly Parton) but no Arlene. (Side note: this guy that used to have a crush on me called me Darlene on purpose which annoyed me until he explained he did that because I was Darling Arlene or Darlene. Since it seemed sweet, I forgave him.)

Doing a blog or having an idea requires research, so when I decided to fact check I came up with an awesome site that lists every girl’s name in a song. Granted some are obscure, but they are all there.

And yes, unbelievably, neatly filed with the A’s, there is a song “Arlene” by Crystal Bowersox – of American Idol Fame. She wrote it for her tour bus driver named Arlene. The chorus is pretty with lots of Arlene’s – but then again she’s singing “Diesel’s humming Arlene.” Not exactly a love song, and not exactly me, either! I am the opposite of a female truck driver.

An astute reader came up with this Country Gem from Marty Stuart called Arlene in 1985. Wrong twice. (Find it on You Tube – too lazy to re-link!)

So yep, that’s what I want for my big birthday. I want my semi-musical, guitar playing,  but way out of practice husband to write me a love song called Arlene – including lyrics! I am challenging him publicly so he can’t back out. He’s got months and months to pull it off and on the last big birthday he did well with a beautiful speech. Who knows, maybe it will even be a hit! (Hint Gary, make it catchy, not a slow, sleepy number!) Arlene rhymes with so many things: eyes of green, queen, dream etc. John Fogerty, where are you when I need you?


  • Maxwell I Kates

    I had no love songs, but I had three songs about serial killers. There was Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, serial killer. Maxwell Murder, serial killer. Well, two and a half songs. The half was Mack the Knife, also a serial killer. Sometimes you just take what life throws at you. Three serial killers (ok, two and a half), and a cat meowing like a nut. Look it up on YouTube.

  • you’d seriously rather be called Eleanor? (Arlene is a way hipper name than that!) My milestone birthday is ten months away and I’m already discusssing the ways I want it acknowledged…

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