As John and Johnny are such popular names, it’s no doubt that there have been countless songs with these names in them. In this article, we will decipher 20 songs with the names John and Johnny in the title.
- 1. “Catfish John” by Johnny Russell
- 2. “Dear John” by Taylor Swift
- 3. “The Ballad of John and Yoko” by The Beatles
- 4. “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean
- 5. “John Barleycorn (Must Die)” by Traffic
- 6. “A Dear John Letter” by Bonnie Owens & Fuzzy Owen
- 7. “Abraham Martin and John” by Dion
- 8. “Johnny B Goode” by Chuck Berry
- 9. “Johnny Can’t Read” by Don Henley
- 10. “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield
- 11. “Johnny B” by The Hooters
- 12. “Johnny Get Angry” by Joanie Sommers
- 13. “Johnny’s Garden” by Steven Stills
- 14. “Johnny Angel” by Shelley Fabares
- 15. “Johnny Run Away” by Tones and I
- 16. “Johnny Come Home” by Fine Young Cannibals
- 17. “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline” by X
- 18. “Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens
- 19. “Johnny Guitar” by Peggy Lee
- 20. “Johnny Thunder” by The Kinks
Released on the “Short Stories” album, the lyrics of this song were composed by Allen Reynolds and Bob McDill. Johnny Russell later recorded this same song along with various other artists.
The song talks about the difficulties faced by black slaves through the eyes of a former slave and had a great influence during the civil rights movement in the 70s.
This song by Taylor Swift was written and sung by her in 2009. “Dear John” is an old expression where a former lover informs the other half that the relationship is over on account of finding another person.
It has been speculated that the song was written by Taylor Swift after she had broken up with speculated lover John Mayer. Though it has never been directly accepted or denied by the pop star, it is a widely agreed rumor.
Though the heading talks about it as a ballad, it in reality is uptempo. John Lennon had written this song talking about his marriage to Yoko and the various experiences he has had with numerous international authorities.
They got married in 1969. The decision to get married was a sudden one and after a futile search for a suitable venue, Gibraltar was finally settled upon, since it was a British protectorate and Lennon was a British citizen.
Written by Jimmy Dean and released in 1961, this was a monster hit at that time and was number 1 on the Hot 100 for 5 consecutive weeks, but it also topped the charts for the Country Chart for two weeks. The song was written about fellow actor John Mentoe, who towered an enormous 6 feet 5 inches.
It was written as a friendly gesture, a joke as Jimmy Dean would call it. Jimmy Dean also had his line of sausages and TV series in the 50s and the 60s.
This is an English folksong, written in 1624, though a new version by Robert Burns did appear in 1782. John Barleycorn, the central character of the song, is nothing but the personification of barley, corn and the beverages that are made out of them, namely, beer and whiskey.
The experiences that John Barleycorn faces are the processes barley undergoes during cultivation, ie; reaping and malting. Traffic is one of the many groups that have sung this song. The Watersons and John Langstaff re-did this song too.
6. “A Dear John Letter” by Bonnie Owens & Fuzzy Owen
The original was first released in 1953 by Bonnie Owens and Fuzzy Owens. Charles Fuzzy Owen used to pick cotton in California during the day and three nights in a row would perform at The Blackboard.
After a stint in the army, Bonnie and Fuzzy Owen recorded the song, originally by Hillbilly Barton, “A Dear John Letter”. However, as a first release, it had limited distribution.
7. “Abraham Martin and John” by Dion
Dick Holler was the writer of Abraham Martin and John and it was recorded by Dion, for the first time, in 1968. I found the story behind it to be very touching.
The song is a tribute to the four assassinated American leaders that it was written for Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. As a reaction to the murder of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in the 60s, the song was written.
It was sung by Chuck Berry and released in 1958. It is autobiographical, where Berry sings about himself. It is about a boy, with enormous talent, who rose from humble beginnings. A few facts were changed, like he was originally from St. Louis and not Louisiana, as mentioned in the song.
“Johnny Can’t Read” was Don Henley’s first single as a solo artist. He had founded the band called Eagles in 1971 and they split up in 1980, to be reunited again in 1994. In between, Don had a roaring solo career as an artist, creating as many as 12 chartbusters in the Hot 100.
This song was written in partnership with Danny Kortchmar, who both produced and played the organ, in the song. The song talks about a character named Johnny who is disinterested in studies and ends up in jail since adulthood seems to be useless for him.
This song was released in the year 2008 and was a tribute by the singer to the couple Johnny and June Cash. It was a way to celebrate their relationship and a desire by the artist to have a similar relationship with her lover. Heidi grew quite fond of the couple in their later years.
It was a song from the third album released by the Hooters in 1987. The same song was covered by Down Low, the German Rap group, and was again Number 1 in the German Singles Chart.
12. “Johnny Get Angry” by Joanie Sommers
This was Joanie Sommers’s only entry to the Billboards Top 40 and has been the talk of the town ever since. Not for it being a part of the hit list, which it would anyway have, given the fantastic nature of its creation, but because of the dark lyrics.
Given today’s social standards this song would have certainly been banned. It talks of a woman provoking a man into hurting her. A dysfunctional take on a couple’s relationship.
13. “Johnny’s Garden” by Steven Stills
The original was sung by the singer himself in 1972 along with his band, the Manassas. He re-recorded it with Crosby, Nash in 2012.
It was a pretty little song in 1972, it was stunning in 2012. The song is an ode to the gardener, Johnny, who tended to the garden that surrounded the house Steven had bought from Ringo Starr.
This song was released in 1962 and has been a chartbuster. It is one of those songs which reminds us of unrequited love.
A girl liked Johnny so much that she turned down every other suitor. The tragedy was Johnny had no clue about it.
The song was written by Lyn Duddy and Lee Pockriss while they were stuck at the former’s flat during a blackout. Shelley Fabares, who was otherwise an actress, sang this song on one of the episodes of The Donna Reed Show.
15. “Johnny Run Away” by Tones and I
The pop singer and songwriter from Australia, Toni Watson, started her career by being the opening act for Norwegian pop star Aurora. This song was her debut album. This song was an ode to her best friend who was making failed attempts to stand up to his disapproving father.
16. “Johnny Come Home” by Fine Young Cannibals
This was from the debut album of the British Band who went by the name The Cannibals and it was released on the 29th of May, 1985. The song told us the story of a young boy who had run away from home and come to the big city and how his dreams are yet to be realized. The gritty city life was taking a toll and how his disapproving parents wanted him to return.
This was one of the songs from the debut album of the punk band X. “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline” garnered the most attention because of the dark and violent lyrics. It was about an individual and his debauched ways.
18. “Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens
This song was part of the album by Richie Havens named Mixed Bag, which was released in 1966. It was more of an anti-war anthem, talking about all the famous battles and struggles including the Vietnam war and the civil rights struggle. Through the song, the artists wanted listeners to act and take action before things got worse.
This song was written by Peggy Lee and provided music by Victor Young. This was the title track of the film Johnny Guitar, which was directed by Nicholas Ray and starred Joan Crawford. The instrumentals of the song play throughout the movie and are loosely based on the Spanish Dance No.5: Andaluza performed by Enrique Granados.
20. “Johnny Thunder” by The Kinks
This song was part of the album called The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society and was released in 1968. It was inspired by the Marlon Brando movie The Wild One and partially by a person that Ray Davies knew, which he had also once mentioned during an interview with the Rolling Stones.
We hope you enjoyed our list of songs. Names as common as Johnny and John inspired many artists, as they represented a close friend, a lover, or family. Every single song would definitely make all the Johns and Johnnys out there special and unique.