It might be a surprise for some people to find out that Joe is still a very popular name. I have worked with a few Joes in my time and had a good friend at school who was given the name.
Going back to the early 2000s, it was one of the top ten most popular names. Indeed, it isn’t as widely used today, but it still lingers around the top twenty boys’ names every year.
You would think then that finding songs with the name Joe in the title would be easy. But, it seems that while some songwriters have written songs about people named Joe, many haven’t.
- Musical Joe’s
- Top 13 Songs With The Name Joe In The Title
- Poppa Joe by The Sweet
- Ode To Billie Joe by Bobby Gentry
- Surfer Joe by The Surfaris
- Say It Ain’t So, Joe by Murray Head
- Joe Harper Saturday Morning by Van Morrison
- Old Joe by The Guess Who
- Say It’s Alright Joe by Genesis
- Hank and Joe and Me by Johnny Cash
- Lookout Joe by Neil Young and Crazy Horse
- Viva Bobby Joe by The Equals
- Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe by Tony Bennett
- Hey Joe by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- Joey by Bob Dylan
- Looking for Songs with Certain Names or Words in the Title?
- Songs With The Name Joe In The Title – Final Thoughts
There aren’t that many musicians with the name Joe either, it seems. Joe Cocker and Joe Walsh come to mind, as does the great Tony Joe White. Maybe Joe Satriani, Joe Bonamassa, Billy Joe Armstrong, and aging English rocker Joe Brown or Joe South.
But, given the popularity of the name and how many babies are born each year named Joe, not that many. So, let’s take a look at some songs using Joe in the title. We might be surprised.
Top 13 Songs With The Name Joe In The Title
Poppa Joe by The Sweet
Let’s start this list of songs with the name Joe in the title with some good old-fashioned Glam Rock from the UK masters of the genre. Written as usual by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, it was released in 1972 and reached #11 in the UK chart.
An overly simple song, with even more basic lyrics about nothing in particular. And with those trademark high vocals make this a typical Sweet song of the time.
I used to wonder sometimes what this was all about…
They were decent musicians with a drummer, Micky Tucker, that could have played in just about any band he wanted.
Yet, they seemed to be what I considered to be wasting their time with the dressing up and Glam Rock bit. And, financially, they didn’t do that well. That’s music, I suppose.
Ode To Billie Joe by Bobby Gentry
This was a song that, on its release in 1967, caused an examination of the meaning behind the words. The song reached #13 on the UK chart and #1 in America. It was later the title track of her first album, Ode To Billie Joe.
She wrote the song about a presumably fictitious family in Mississippi. Although, she did live with her family in her younger years in that state.
The plot starts to thicken…
It is a story about their daughter’s love interest, Billy Joe McAllister, who commits suicide by throwing himself off the Tallahassee bridge. And this is after the daughter was seen with Billy Joe throwing something off the bridge earlier in the day.
Plenty of intrigue, and it never explains what they threw off the bridge or why Billy Joe jumped. Indeed, if he did. It is an interesting story that may well be more about the family’s indifference to suicide as much as anything else.
They carry on eating and passing food and chatting while mentioning the suicide in between bites like it doesn’t matter.
Bobby Gentry had studied Psychology…
Eventually, she took a break from music and went to work in that field. Her final public performance was in 1981.
She is rarely seen in public these days and doesn’t do interviews. Seems from the lyrics she was well suited to sorting out dark secrets. A film was made of the story in 1976.
Surfer Joe by The Surfaris
The surf craze took hold in the early 60s, and while The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean were the driving force, The Surfaris produced what was the surfer’s favorite track.
The ‘surfing boys’ preferred their surf music instrumental, and The Surfaris track “Wipe Out,” released in 1962, was a huge success. And, not only amongst them. It reached #5 in the UK and #2 in America.
Not the greatest of the “surf” tracks…
“Surfer Joe” was released a year later and was the original A-side to “Wipe Out,” but that soon changed around. “Surfer Joe” had a lyric that was spoken, so maybe that is one reason it was more popular locally in the initial stages of its release.
Furthermore, when comparing it to “Wipe Out,” you can see why the latter became more successful. Still, it’s a pretty good song about someone named Joe.
Say It Ain’t So, Joe by Murray Head
Murray Head, or to give him his full name Murray, Seafield, St George, Head, is an English singer, actor, and songwriter. As a songwriter, he is probably best known for his song “One Night in Bangkok” from the musical “Chess.” Some, though, will know him from the album, Say It Ain’t So.
This single was released in 1975 and was recorded at Morgan Sound in West London. It is a song that seems to have crossed time boundaries. It is about those that were once admired but who have fallen from grace and can’t or won’t accept they were wrong.
So, what’s this song about?
Head said he wrote the song about these people citing “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and, more recently, Richard Nixon.
Head said he was fascinated by how people refused to relinquish their faith in some who had clearly fallen. Jackson and Nixon were prime cases. Misplaced loyalties still apply in today’s world, don’t they?
It is a very good song that covers a multitude of situations; it was covered by The Who’s Roger Daltrey, amongst others. Head’s version was produced by ex-Yardbirds bassist Paul Samwell-Smith.
Joe Harper Saturday Morning by Van Morrison
Van Morrison and his band, Them, came out of nowhere in the mid-60s. Their single “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” a cover of a song by Lightnin Hopkins, made everyone sit up and take notice. But, if that wasn’t good enough, the song put on the B-side, “Gloria,” was even better.
Both tracks give us that immediately recognizable gritty voice that has plenty of Blues and Soul in it. We shouldn’t be surprised then that “Joe Harper Saturday Morning” might have some of those same attributes.
This track was taken from an album, New York Sessions ’67, that was released in 1997. Thirty years after most of the original recordings were made.
I have read criticism of the song…
And people were saying it sounds dated. That is because it is. This is not a new track and showcases Morrison as we remember him. He mellowed a bit as he got older. Don’t we all?
This is a good track with an arrangement and instrument sounds from a bygone age. If you like your R&B and Blues a bit rough around the edges, then you will like this.
Old Joe by The Guess Who
This was a 1969 release from their album, Canned Wheat. I always thought that The Guess Who was a strange band. Formed in Canada in the mid-60s, they had limited success with their best-known track, “American Woman.”
Although, for a while, they did include in their ranks Randy Bachman of Bachman Turner Overdrive fame.
The song was written by singer and keyboard player Burton Cummings. It tells the tale and the feelings of an older man who is coming to the end of his working life. He reminisces about things he never had and things he never did. Quite a sad story.
Say It’s Alright Joe by Genesis
A public school in leafy Surrey, just south of the stockbroker belt in London, is hardly the place you might find a Rock band forming. It was more likely you would find them from the rough end of town.
But that was where Genesis was originally formed by five pupils of the Charterhouse School. One of those was Peter Gabriel. Phil Collins became the drummer, but he joined later after they had begun touring.
They played the London clubs which is where we saw them on numerous occasions. Peter Gabriel’s exaggerated stage costumes were what most people remembered rather than the music. Some people referred to them as the “posh kids.”
But they were good for a while in the 70s…
And this track was from their 1978 album, And Then There Were Three. The song is about a man with personal problems who has a hard time trusting anyone. The only person he seems to trust is the piano player, Joe.
It is a track with shifting moods created by the tempo changes. Not unknown in Genesis music. It goes from the feeling of a depressed man propping up the bar to a more uptempo song and back again.
Hank and Joe and Me by Johnny Cash
Here is a Joe song that goes back in time a bit. This was released in 1959 from his album, Songs Of Our Soil. Not the happiest of songs by any stretch of the imagination. It tells the story of three men searching for gold in the scorching heat. One by one, they die from a lack of water.
It is said that the song is about the struggles we have to reach our goals in life. Yes, there are struggles, and we tell ourselves we mustn’t give up. I am not sure this song is a good example of that, though.
They all died searching for their dream, which isn’t too good a way of encouraging someone else to go after theirs. Typically early Johnny Cash, it is going to appeal to Country music lovers who like a sad story.
Lookout Joe by Neil Young and Crazy Horse
This is one of those Neil Young songs where the cynicism he sees around him comes pouring out. The song was released in 1975 on his album, Tonight’s the Night.
The album and the song feature The Stray Gators, which was the name given to his backing band in the early 70s. It was their only contribution to this album. He wrote the song in 1973 as American soldiers were leaving Vietnam.
He tells the story of one such soldier, Joe, who he uses as an example of what faced soldiers when they came home. Despised by some members of the community, no work for the ordinary veteran, and in some cases, nowhere to live.
He says Joe will spend his days living on the streets with drag queens and junkies. Coming home from war into destitution. And, of course, many did.
Viva Bobby Joe by The Equals
This was a 1969 release from this London-based band led by Eddy Grant. They had already seen some success with a previous single, “Baby Come Back,” that went to #1 in the UK and #32 in America and became their signature song. It was released in 1968 from their album of the same name.
It was clear they needed a change of direction after the next singles did nothing. “Viva Bobby Joe” did a little better, reaching #9 in the UK, but did not do too much elsewhere.
“Viva Bobby Joe” was a simple enough song that was aimed squarely at the dance halls as well as the record-buying public. It tells a tale of someone who has been away but is now back with his share of stories to tell.
Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe by Tony Bennett
Back a bit further in time to 1961 and also a change of style. This could easily be called jazz, with some excellent piano and Tony Bennett crooning away. It is taken from the album Tony Sings For Two.
A very typical early 60s pre-Beatles ballad that was written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. It became a popular song with Joe in the title at the time and was covered by many notable people, including Ella Fitzgerald.
The song is unusual in that it is about a man called Joe, who seems to be able to give happiness to people just by being around them. Not something we are overly familiar with during a typical day.
Hey Joe by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Now for a song that most will remember. It was first released by The Leaves in 1965, but it was Jimi Hendrix’s version that made the impact and still does.
Recording with his new band, The Experience, in London, it was released in 1967 to a mixed reception. It reached #6 in the UK but failed to chart at all in America.
It was one of the few songs that you could say where the producer and engineers did well. They were able to replicate Hendrix’s sound at the time. Later, it became impossible to recreate what was being played live.
This is still a big favorite from the Hendrix catalog and is likely the most well known song with Joe in the title. It tells the story of a man who goes to exact revenge on a cheating partner. He shoots her down and then announces he is fleeing to Mexico.
Joey by Bob Dylan
And so to the last entry on this list of songs with the name Joe in the title. You can’t go through most lists without including something from the Nobel Prize winner for Literature, and here it is. “Joey” is a song taken from Dylan’s album, Desire.
There is no doubt that Bob did like to court controversy at times. This album also carried the track “The Hurricane,” the story of the racially motivated imprisonment of boxer Reuben’ Hurricane’ Carter.
While “The Hurricane” didn’t eventually get Carter released, it played its part and drew people’s attention. It must have helped a little.
“Joey” was something else…
Like “The Hurricane,” this is a biographical story about gangster Joey Gallo who was murdered in his house on his birthday in 1972.
Gallo had been convicted of two murders and numerous other crimes. Dylan seems to want to cast him in a similar light to Carter as an innocent victim of circumstances. Dylan portrays him as an unwilling participant in what was going on.
I am a big fan of Bob Dylan. To me, he was one of the two or three “real, not plastic” geniuses we have had in our lifetimes.
However, I am struggling to agree with him on this one…
Because he tried to shield his family from the gunmen from flying bullets and took them himself is hardly absolution.
This was before Dylan became a Born-Again Christian, and maybe we can see from the lyrics the first seeds of that brief period as he sings, “And someday if God’s in heaven, overlookin’ His preserve – I know the men that shot him down will get what they deserve.”
The song was written as were most of the songs on the album with Jacques Levy. Desire went to #3 in the UK album chart and #1 in America, Australia, and Holland.
Looking for Songs with Certain Names or Words in the Title?
Well, have a look at our detailed articles on the Top Songs With the Name John or Johnny in the Title, the Top Songs With The Name Jennifer In The Title, and the Top Songs With the Name Olivia in the Title for more great song selections.
Also, check out our in-depth articles on the Top Songs with the Name Ruby in the Title, the Top Songs with the Word “Rose” in the Title, as well as the Top Songs With ‘Girl’ in The Title to find more great music.
Of course, you need to listen to all of them. So, don’t miss our comprehensive reviews of the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones for Hip-Hop, the Best Headphones Under $200, and the Most Comfortable Headphones you can buy in 2022.
Songs With The Name Joe In The Title – Final Thoughts
Joe is a popular name but not one that has inspired too many songwriters. However, when it did, there were some deep and dark stories. Most of them had some hidden secrets, which added to the atmosphere of the songs. There is some great music on this list, and Joe was the inspiration.
Until next time, happy listening.