It’s no secret that names like John and Johnny are extremely popular, and it’s no wonder they’ve made their way into countless songs. Whether you’re a fan of old-school rock or catchy pop tunes, there’s a good chance you’ve come across a song that features these names.
We’ve put together a list of 20 songs that showcase just how prevalent John and Johnny are in today’s music scene. These tracks cover a wide range of genres, so you’re sure to find something you enjoy.
- 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
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.
If you’re a big Taylor Swift fan, you probably know the phrase “Dear John” really well. It’s an old saying that describes when someone ends a romantic relationship by writing a letter to their partner, telling them it’s over because they’ve found someone new.
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.
John Lennon wrote a song about his marriage to Yoko Ono and the adventures they had with different authorities from around the world. Even though the song is called a ballad, it’s actually a lively and fast-paced tune.
Their decision to get married came out of the blue, and they found themselves facing a challenge – finding the perfect place for their wedding. After searching high and low, they settled on Gibraltar, a British protectorate, since John was a British citizen.
This song tells the story of a man named Big John, who was a mysterious figure in a small town. He worked in a dangerous mine and one day, when the mine was collapsing, he heroically saved his fellow workers.
Unfortunately, despite their efforts, they couldn’t save him in return. The song has a gentle melody and conveys the bravery and selflessness of Big John.
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.
In the song, John Barleycorn goes through different experiences that represent the stages of barley farming, like harvesting and malting. It’s a way of describing the process that barley goes through before it becomes a tasty beverage.
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 which were Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. The song suggests that their legacies and the values they embodied continue to inspire and guide us, even though they are no longer physically present.
This song tells the story of a boy named Johnny B. Goode and his love for music. Even though he couldn’t read or write, he had an incredible talent for playing the guitar. He started from humble beginnings but his immense talent helped him climb the ladder of success.
The song “Johnny Can’t Read” tells the story of a guy named Johnny who indulges in popular activities like sports, partying, and socializing. However, the lyrics emphasize that Johnny lacks a crucial skill: the ability to read.
Johnny who is disinterested in studies and ends up in jail since adulthood seems to be useless for him.
The song “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield is a heartfelt tribute to the legendary country music couple, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. The lyrics express the desire to have a love as strong and enduring as theirs. The mention of “a man in black” refers to Johnny Cash’s signature attire, which symbolizes his iconic persona.
This song is about a person named Johnny B who is infatuated with a woman. Despite being aware of the risks and the negative impact she has on him, Johnny B can’t resist her. The singer, who is presumably a friend or concerned observer, urges Johnny B to open his eyes and see the truth about the situation.
12. “Johnny Get Angry” by Joanie Sommers
This track gives a dysfunctional take on a couple’s relationship. It talks of a woman provoking a man into hurting her.
13. “Johnny’s Garden” by Steven Stills
Steven Stills portrays a place where the singer finds solace and respite from the hectic city life. This place, referred to as Johnny’s garden, is described as green, peaceful, and safe. The lyrics reveal that the singer had to purchase this haven, indicating the sacrifices made to attain such tranquility.
“Johnny Angel” is a song about a teenage girl’s romantic longing for a boy who doesn’t know she exists. She loves him so much and is so desperate to win his heart that she turns down any other boy who asks her for a date.
15. “Johnny Run Away” by Tones and I
“Johnny Run Away” is the debut single by singer Toni Watson (Tones And I). The song was inspired by her best friend, who was struggling to come out to his disapproving father at a young age.
16. “Johnny Come Home” by Fine Young Cannibals
The song tells the story of a runaway youth who has learned the harsh reality of life on the streets. The title refers to his parents’ plea for him to come home. The lyrics suggest that Johnny’s home life was troubled, with one or both parents being alcoholics.
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. The track is about a violent person named Johnny.
18. “Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens
This song is 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 is about a woman who is in love with a man named Johnny Guitar. The lyrics suggest that she is always a fool for Johnny and that there was never a man like him. The song is known for its haunting melody and Peggy Lee’s sultry voice.
20. “Johnny Thunder” by The Kinks
“Johnny Thunder” is a song by The Kinks that was released in 1968 as part of the album called The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. The song is about a man named Johnny Thunder who is a loner and doesn’t need anyone. Despite his independence, a woman named Helena still wishes him well.
Songs that are named John or Johnny are common but has deeply inspired many artists and musicians. Whether you are looking for a country or pop track, there will always be a song that contains a unique story about Johnny and John that will resonate with you.