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Top 56 Songs With the Name John or Johnny in the Title

You must be here because there’s a special John in your life. That could even be you! One way or the other, I bet you’re looking for the best songs with the name John or Johnny in the title so you can surprise or impress someone with them.

Well, look no further…

Whether you’re looking for Jon, John, Jonny, or Johnny, there are plenty of songs mentioning the name John. After all, it’s so popular that it’s the default name for an unidentified man (John Doe). So, there have to be songs mentioning it, right? Right you are, and here are the best I could find.

Songs With the Name John or Johnny in the Title


Top 56 Songs With the Name John or Johnny in the Title

1 Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry

Much as I hate to give things away right off the bat, “Johnny B. Goode” is probably the most recognizable song with Johnny in the title.

This song was written by Chuck Berry and recorded in 1958, making it one of our oldest John songs as well. This song was a massive hit for Berry and one of the defining songs of the early Rock ‘n’ Roll sound.

It’s a bit of a rags-to-riches story…

About a poor country boy who could play his guitar “like he was ringing a bell.” So, it’s at least somewhat autobiographical for Berry. It has been recorded again and again by artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Peter Tosh, and the Sex Pistols.

It was also featured in “Back to the Future,” with Michael J. Fox playing a cover in one of the most memorable music moments in movie history. That opening riff and guitar solo, combined with the “Go Johnny, go, go go!” chorus, make this one heck of a rocking song.

2 Big Bad John – Jimmy Dean

Another classic song about someone named John is “Big Bad John.” It was released in 1961 as a single from country singer Jimmy Dean and went to #1 that same year. It also won Dean a Grammy for Best Country & Western Recording.

This song is very stripped-down and basic in style. It features a percussive beat and a chorus of backup singers repeating the name of the central character. Over that, Jimmy Dean tells the tale of Big John, who was a huge and scary man.

However, in the end, he uses his incredible size and strength to save other miners in a mine collapse before he dies in it himself. This is a great example of American folklore singing and also a vindication for Big Bad John.

3 Johnny Thunder – The Kinks

“Johnny Thunder” by The Kinks is another John song that is a real classic. Recorded in 1968 for their sixth album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, this song was inspired by a movie. Or, rather, a character from the movie.

They wrote it after being inspired by Marlon Brando’s character Johnny in the 1953 flick “The Wild One.”

Why so late?

The movie had been banned in the UK for 15 years before the band finally saw it. Brando’s character is a motorcycle rebel in this outlaw biker film. The Kinks took this character and made a slow rocker of a character study out of it.

And, what a character. “Johnny Thunder lives on water, feeds on lightning.” It turned into a fun, charming song that makes you want to sing right along to its Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba chorus.

4 The Ballad of John and Yoko – The Beatles

This next track on my list of songs with the name John or Johnny in the title came out as a single in 1969. It was written by John Lennon (no surprise!) but credited to him and Paul McCartney, the Beatles’ famed songwriting partnership.

And, you won’t find it a surprise to learn that it’s about the wedding of the famed couple, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

At the time of their wedding…

Lennon and Ono were involved in highly-publicized activities. After all, he was a famous Beatle. And they were also protesters for love and tolerance in the wild times that were the late 1960s. Lennon sings about their famous bed-in protest.

“The newspapers said, “Say what you doing in bed?” – I said, “We’re only trying to get us some peace”” and other real events that caught the couple up in the news that year. This song is a rocker and a unique return to The Beatles’ sound from the mid-60s.

5 Johnny’s Garden – Steven Stills

This next song also has a Beatles connection, albeit a much more remote one. “Johnny’s Garden” is a song by Steven Stills, a famed musician from Buffalo Springfield, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

He wrote this 1972 song about a garden and a gardener in the UK. Furthermore, this was the garden surrounding a house that was owned by Ringo Starr. Stills sings that the garden was so lovely he had to buy it.

It’s an ode to the gardener, Johnny, as much as the place…

Stills describes Johhny like this – “With his love – And his carin’ – He puts his life – Into beauty sharin’,” giving us an idea of the green thumb and beautiful nature of the man behind the song.

This is a peaceful, pretty song that can still relax you and transport you to a beautiful place. Especially if your name is Johnny and you have a garden.

6 Johnny Can’t Read – Don Henley

Don Henley was the drummer and one of the singers for the famed rock band, The Eagles. However, the band split up in 1980, and he decided to try out a solo career. In 1982, he put out his first single, “Johnny Can’t Read,” which was a moderate success but had quite a popular video.

This song is very different from The Eagles’ work…

It’s a 1980s reimagining of 1950s rock and has a peppy beat and cheery organ chords driving it along. However, the song is not so happy. It’s a flaming response to the poor quality of education in America and how this can lead kids astray.

This is illustrated by the character, Johnny, who can’t read. But, also with lines like “Couple years later, Johnny’s on the run – Johnny got confused and he bought himself a gun.”

Not quite so peppy now, is it?

7 Johnny Come Home – Fine Young Cannibals

Another story about another troubled Johnny comes in the form of the song “Johnny Come Home” by the UK group Fine Young Cannibals. It was a moderately popular song in 1985 but has grown into a fan favorite since then.

This song with the name Johnny in the title tells the story of a runaway trying to make it while living on the streets, and also the perspective of his parents. The parents are presented in the chorus – “Johnny – We’re sorry – Won’t you come back home?”

Like most of FYC’s work, this is a Pop-Rock-Ska jam. It has a lot of energy and is pretty interesting, especially with its jazzy muted trumpet work that complements the vocals perfectly. And those vocals from the band’s singer Roland Gift are as unique and great as ever.

8 Johnny Come Lately – Steve Earle

A “Johnny-come-lately” is a person who’s new and green and wet behind the ears. In 1988, country rocker Steve Earle wrote this song and released it on his explosive Copperhead Road record.

“Johnny Come Lately” isn’t the same style of power twang as the title track. But, it’s still a fast, energetic Country song that you can 2-step to only if you’re pretty fleet of foot.

This song tells the story of the G.I. experience…

He first tells the story of his granddaddy stationed overseas in what must be WWII, meeting his grandmother, and coming back home as a hero. In contrast, he sings about a Vietnam war vet coming home wounded and yet not receiving a hero’s welcome.

The comparison makes you think about how young men are sent off to war and the different ways they return.

9 Brother John – Blues Traveler

This next track is a fiery Blues-Rock jam that came out in 1994. It was one of the tracks that helped Blues Traveler’s 4th album, Four, blow up and throw this talented band into the spotlight.

You’ve got a fast and fun, groovy song here with rocking guitar licks, harmonica solos, and powerful vocal work from John Popper, the lead singer.

Listen closely…

This song incorporates the children’s song “Are Your Sleeping Brother John” into its structure, although in a more adult context. This song is about the power of music to uplift and inspire, and that’s pretty much what this song does.

It’s a lengthy jam session that builds up to a powerful conclusion with the whole band at their tightest and best.

10 Johnny and June – Heidi Newfield

While there aren’t any Johnny Cash songs on this list, there is one about the Cash couple. “Johnny and June” is country singer Heidi Newfield’s popular 2008 country ballad about the famous couple.

She talks about the type of love she wants to have, comparing it to the relationship of the Man In Black with his partner, June Carter Cash.

This song is a slow ballad…

Filled with powerful emotion and a bit of Country twang. It also references a whole lot of Cash’s songs with lines like “I wanna love like Johnny and June – Rings of fire burnin’ with you – I wanna walk the line – ‘Til the end of time.”

This song works because of the references to this famous couple as much as because of the sweet and heartfelt delivery by Newfield.

11 Dear John – Taylor Swift

There have been lots of songs called “Dear John” over the years. After all, it has a great double entendre since a Dear John letter is a break-up letter to an absent partner, even if he isn’t called John. But in this one, he could be.

Taylor Swift’s 2010 ballad “Dear John” is rumored to have been written about the break-up of her relationship with fellow musician John Mayer. That’s never been confirmed or denied.

Whether it’s that John or another, Swift’s song is an emotional trip…

The slow music sweeps us through the story of a young woman in a messed-up relationship with an older guy. She sings, “Dear John, I see it all now that you’re gone – Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with?”

Things go south, and the song is sad and bitter, but also a look back at getting over it. That has made it a powerful song for anyone who has gotten over a bad relationship and lived to sing about it.

12 John Wayne – Lady Gaga

As the last and most recent song on my list of songs with the name John or Johnny in the title, 2016’s “John Wayne” is also one of the most fun.

Lady Gaga’s song is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to manly men like John Wayne, the silver screen star. She sings that she wants a man like that to sweep her off her feet.

Like on the back of his horse…

The chorus goes, “Every John is just the same – I’m sick of their city games – I crave a real wild man – I’m strung out on John Wayne,” and maybe she’s being honest here. But this song is also a break-up song, and Gaga references being fed up with whoever she ended her relationship with.

But it definitely wasn’t John Wayne!

Musically, this song is a punchy, rock-inspired dance number with a thumping beat and a snappy chorus in typical Gaga style. It’s enough to get you on your feet, sarcastically or not.

13 Johnny’s Garden by Manassas

14 Johnny and Mary by Robert Palmer

15 Johnny Appleseed by Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros

16 Johnny Guitar by Peggy Lee

17 Long John Silver by Jefferson Airplane

18 Johnny Remember Me by John Leyton

19 Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye by Dropkick Murphys

20 Johnny Angel by Shelley Fabares

21 Johnny Strikes Up the Band by Warren Zevon

22 Johnny Too Bad by The Slickers

23 Johnny Ryall by Beastie Boys

24 Johnny 99 by Bruce Springsteen

25 Johnny’s Gonna Die by The Replacements

26 Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Tears for Fears

27 Johnny’s in the Basement by The Bellamy Brothers

28 Johnny’s Theme by Johnny Carson

29 Johnny’s Got a Boom Boom by Imelda May

30 Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts by Less Than Jake

31 Johnny Was by Bob Marley and The Wailers

32 Little John by Jewel

33 Johnny Sunshine by Liz Phair

34 Johnny Ace by Paul Simon

35 Johnny Panic and the Designated Hitters by T. Rex

36 Johnny Guitar by Pearl Jam

37 Johnny and the Hurricanes by The Charlatans

38 Johnny Get Angry by Joanie Sommers

39 Johnny Reb by Johnny Horton

40 Johnny Coolman by John Linnell

41 Johnny’s So Long at the Fair by Joni Mitchell

42 Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two by The Avett Brothers

43 Johnny Appleseed by Graham Parker and The Rumour

44 Johnny Come Home by The Fine Arts Showcase

45 Johnnie Walker by Red Sovine

46 Johnny Get Your Gun by Ted Nugent

47 Johnny Ace Is Dead by Dave Alvin

48 Johnny Moon by Heart

49 Johnny Strikes Up the Band by Mark Knopfler

50 Johnny One Note by Judy Garland

51 Johnny Don’t Do It by 10cc

52 Little Johnny Jewel by Television

53 Johnny Guitar by Bert Weedon

54 Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed by Thin Lizzy

55 Johnny by Suicide

56 Johnny Staccato by Elmer Bernstein

Looking for More Word Specific Songs?

Well, have a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs with Baby in the Title, the Top Songs With Train in the Title, the Top Songs With Blue in the Title, the Best Songs With Pink In The Title, and the Top Songs About Brown Eyes for more excellent song selections.

Of course, you need to listen to them. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones for Hip-Hop, the Most Comfortable Headphones, and the Best Headphones Under $200 you can buy in 2023.

Songs With the Name John or Johnny in the Title – Final Thoughts

Got somebody named John, Johnny, Jon-Jon, or Johnny-Boy in your life? Well, there are more than a few songs out there that drop this name in the title. And, while a lot of them are old and obscure, I’ve found what I think is the best twelve of them all.

These songs span a lot of genres and sounds, not to mention eras. But, they share in common their tribute to one of the most commonly used names in English. They don’t always portray Johns in a positive light, but together they give us a pretty good range of Johns and Johnnys to choose from.

So, if you’re looking for a song to surprise or refer to someone named John, you’ve got a bunch of great ones here to choose from.

Until next time, happy listening.

5/5 - (34 votes)

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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