20 Songs with the Name John or Johnny in the Title

John is a name with a long history, coming from the Hebrew name Yochanan, which means “God is gracious.” It’s been used by lots of famous people, like kings and religious figures. People think of John as a name connected to strength, leadership, and smarts. Folks named John are often known for their sharp thinking and get a lot of respect in what they do.

Johnny is a shorter way to say John, still coming from the Hebrew Yochanan meaning “God is gracious.” It’s a friendly nickname used by family and pals for someone named John. Johnny has been a well-liked name for a long time, used by famous folks in music, movies, and sports.

Some songs talk about people named “John” or “Johnny.” They do it to express feelings, tell stories, or connect with listeners personally.

In this playlist, we’ve listed 20 songs about John or Johnny.

20 Songs with the Name John or Johnny in the Title

1. “Dear John” by Taylor Swift

“Dear John” by Taylor Swift is a powerful song about heartbreak and a tough relationship. It’s about a young woman in a tough relationship with an older guy named John. The title hints at the end of their romance, like a classic “Dear John” letter.

The song dives into her tough time during the relationship. She felt like her whole world was about John and that he manipulated her. The lyrics show how vulnerable she was, counting footsteps and hoping for stability. It paints a picture of a relationship that felt like an unpredictable game of chess.

The chorus, where 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?” shows how she realizes the relationship wasn’t good for her. The part about a girl crying on her way home adds a lot of emotion to the story.

Swift talks about blame, wondering if it was her hopefulness or John’s messed-up idea of love that caused trouble. She feels both sorry and strong, knowing she’s seen as a traitor but also wishing she’d listened to warnings.

The song’s bridge is intense, calling out John’s manipulative behavior and showing how she’s strong enough to resist his attempts to bring her down. The line about “shining like fireworks over your sad empty town” symbolizes her finding strength and independence.

Overall, “Dear John” is known for being honest about how tough relationships can mess with your emotions.

2. “Catfish John” by Johnny Russell

“Catfish John” is a touching song about a young boy and his special bond with a mysterious man named Catfish John, all happening around the river and the Mississippi Delta. It talks about friendship, resilience, and growing up.

The song brings up memories of the boy’s mom warning him to steer clear of Catfish John and the river. But despite these warnings, the boy admires Catfish John’s unique lifestyle and strong personality. Catfish John, who’s depicted as a river hobo, becomes a source of inspiration and pride for the boy.

It also dives into Catfish John’s tough life, starting as a slave in Vicksburg and later being traded for a horse. Despite his struggles, Catfish John carries himself with grace, showing strength and resilience.

There’s a contrast between what society tells the boy about staying away from Catfish John and the deep connection the boy feels towards him. The song suggests that sometimes, the most important lessons and friendships come from going against what others say and embracing unlikely bonds.

3. “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean

“Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean is a classic tale about a larger-than-life character. The song’s storytelling is captivating, making you feel like you’re part of this hero’s world, much like stories of folk legends such as Paul Bunyan.

The lyrics paint a vivid picture of Big John, a huge and mysterious figure who earns both respect and curiosity from those around him. Right from the start, the song describes his imposing presence and the unspoken rule not to mess with him. The repeated nickname emphasizes his legendary status.

The song hints at Big John’s unknown past, suggesting a connection to New Orleans and a legendary fight. This adds depth to his character and makes you wonder about his life before he arrived in town.

The most crucial part of the song comes during a mining disaster. It shows Big John’s true heroism as he bravely saves his fellow miners, making him a true legend.

The climax hits when he sacrifices himself to save the remaining miner. It’s a deeply emotional moment. The song ends solemnly, with the mine sealed as a tribute to this remarkable figure.

Lines like “These few words are written on that stand, At the bottom of this mine lies a big, big man, Big John” carry a lot of weight, showing the magnitude of his sacrifice and the respect he still commands, even in death.

4. “The Ballad of John and Yoko” by The Beatles

“The Ballad of John and Yoko” tells the whirlwind tale of John Lennon marrying Yoko Ono amidst a lot of attention. The song dives into their struggles with society’s rules, media attention, and their quest for peace in a chaotic time. It’s like a snapshot of their unusual love story, showing how they faced challenges and stayed strong despite the constant spotlight on them.

The lyrics show how they dealt with red tape (“Standing in the dock at Southampton”) and fought to get married despite hurdles (“Finally made the plane into Paris”). It touches on their ‘Bed-In’ for peace and their encounters with the media, painting their actions as efforts to create harmony in a world full of problems.

Lines like “Talking in our beds for a week” highlight how committed they were to their cause, pushing for peace and love even if people criticized their unconventional methods. When they sang about “Givin’ all your clothes to charity,” it showed their choice to live simply and reject materialism.

The song keeps coming back to “Christ, you know it ain’t easy,” showing how tough things were for them and how they knew they’d be judged or misunderstood. It reflects Lennon’s frustration with how people saw them, but it also shows their determination to keep going despite the challenges.

5. “John Barleycorn (Must Die)” by Traffic

“John Barleycorn (Must Die)” is a song that Traffic made in 1970, based on an old English folk tune. It’s really interesting because it tells a story using pictures in your mind and things that stand for other things. The song is all about barley, showing how it grows from being planted to being harvested, ‘dying,’ and then turning into a strong drink.

In the song, they use ‘John Barleycorn’ to stand for the barley plant. The three guys working on the land and planting the seeds show how people grow crops. They keep saying “John Barleycorn must die,” showing that it’s just how it goes—barley gets harvested and used.

It talks about how Barleycorn ‘dies’ but then comes back to life. Even though it gets treated really roughly—ploughed, cut, ground—it keeps growing. It’s like it comes back even stronger, just like how crops grow again after being harvested.

There’s this part where they say Barleycorn grows a beard and becomes a man, meaning it gets tougher and stronger because of what it goes through. They mention a bowl and brandy to show how barley turns into alcohol, which is important for people and celebrations.

The song is cool because it tells a story about life, death, and starting over using John Barleycorn as a symbol. Each part of the song adds to this story, showing how Barleycorn keeps going even when things are tough.

6. “A Dear John Letter” by Ferlin Husky

The song “A Dear John Letter” tells a sad story about heartbreak, betrayal, and love during war. It’s about a young woman who, while her boyfriend John is away in the Korean War, decides to end their relationship by marrying his brother, Don.

The lyrics show deep sadness and inner conflict in the narrator. The opening lines, “Dear John, oh, how I hate to write / Dear John, I must let you know tonight,” set a tone of reluctance and pain. Comparing the fading love to dying grass gives a clear picture of emotional detachment and affection decay.

The emotional impact grows as the narrator recalls receiving the letter. Initially joyful about the war ending, the news of the broken relationship shatters that joy. The contrast between victory and the sudden breakup intensifies the emotional turmoil.

Asking John to return the picture as the new husband wants shows a sense of detachment, highlighting the coldness of the situation. The final request for John to wish them happiness adds to the emotional complexity, mixing guilt with a desperate plea for understanding.

7. “Abraham, Martin and John” by Dion

Dion’s song ‘Abraham, Martin and John’ is a heartfelt tribute to four important figures: Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. These leaders played key roles in bringing about social change but tragically faced assassination. The lyrics express a deep sense of nostalgia and loss, wondering if anyone has seen these ‘old friends’ and reflecting on their impact on society.

The song starts by searching for Abraham, acknowledging his role in freeing many people but lamenting that the good often die young. Similar sentiments are expressed for John and Martin, highlighting their contributions to freedom and social progress. The refrain questions whether people truly loved the ideals these figures represented and if they worked for positive change for everyone.

Throughout the lyrics, there’s a feeling of yearning and sadness as the singer looks for these influential figures only to discover their absence. The repetition of ‘he’s gone’ emphasizes the finality of their departure. The mention of hills in the verse about Bobby creates a visual image of a hopeful horizon, suggesting these figures might be in a better place, perhaps a symbolic afterlife.

In the concluding lines, ‘I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill, With Abraham, Martin, and John,’ conveys a sense of hope and reunion. It suggests that these leaders are together in spirit, beyond the challenges and tragedies of their earthly lives.

8. “Johnny B Goode” by Chuck Berry

“Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry is a classic rock and roll song about a talented country boy named Johnny B. Goode. It talks about how music can help you reach your dreams, no matter where you come from.

The song tells Johnny’s story, growing up in a log cabin in Louisiana. Even though he didn’t go to school much, he’s amazing at playing the guitar. People love the way he plays, saying it sounds like a bell ringing. It shows that talent is powerful, even if you don’t follow the usual path to success.

One cool thing about the song is that it’s a bit like Chuck Berry’s own life. He was a big deal in rock and roll, and some parts of Johnny’s story are like Berry’s own experiences. The song changed a bit from the original lyrics to fit in better with what people expected back then, especially about race.

The story starts with Johnny playing his guitar near a railroad track. People passing by, like train workers, notice him. It shows how Johnny’s music is something everyone can enjoy.

Johnny’s mom is a big part of the story too. She supports him and thinks he’ll become a famous band leader. She believes people from everywhere will come to hear him play. The idea of Johnny’s name in bright lights shows that he could become famous in music.

9. “Johnny Can’t Read” by Don Henley

“Don Henley’s song ‘Johnny Can’t Read’ talks about a big problem—people not being able to read and how it affects them. The lyrics tell us about Johnny spending his summer doing fun things like sports and drinking. It seems carefree, but there’s a serious issue hidden in the song: Johnny can’t read.

The song keeps saying ‘Johnny can’t read’ over and over to make sure we get it. Even though Johnny is having a good time with his friends, not being able to read is a big problem. The chorus hints that when summer is over, something more serious is going on. Johnny’s trouble with reading is like a roadblock that stops him from growing and succeeding.

The lyrics also talk about blaming society for Johnny’s problem. The song asks if it’s the teacher’s fault, the mommy’s fault, or the president’s fault. It’s like saying there’s no easy answer—lots of things are part of the problem. The repeated ‘Oh No!’ is like saying, ‘No way!’ in a funny way, pointing out how people try to avoid taking responsibility.

As the story goes on, things get darker for Johnny. He gets into illegal stuff, buying a gun, and even the FBI gets involved. This shows how not being able to read can lead to serious problems and a life of crime.

When the song mentions ‘Use A Gun-Go To Jail,’ it’s showing the consequences of Johnny’s actions. The song connects Johnny’s reading trouble to not just missing out on school but also going down a dangerous path.

10. “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield

“Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield is a special song honoring the famous country music couple, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. The lyrics talk about their incredible love story, touching on themes like passion, commitment, and the enduring nature of true love.

The song vividly describes the singer’s admiration for Johnny Cash, mentioning his unique style of dressing in black and the captivating presence he had. The lyrics also convey the singer’s dream of being on stage with Johnny, feeling the energy of the crowd, and kicking the footlights, showing a strong connection to the world of country music.

At the heart of the song is the desire for a love as lasting and deep as Johnny Cash and June Carter’s. The chorus, which expresses the wish to “love like Johnny and June,” suggests a love that goes beyond time and challenges. The use of the metaphor “Rings of fire burnin’ with you” cleverly refers to Cash’s famous song “Ring of Fire,” adding a nostalgic touch and paying tribute to him.

The mention of “walk the line” directly nods to Johnny Cash’s song of the same name, highlighting the commitment and dedication the singer envisions in her own love story. The repeated declaration of wanting to love as much as Johnny and June did, giving it all up, adds a layer of sacrifice and devotion to the story.

11. “Johnny B” by The Hooters

The song “Johnny B” by The Hooters tells a story about a guy named Johnny dealing with love and all its ups and downs. Johnny’s stuck in a bit of a love mess, and the lyrics describe his struggles in chasing after someone special.

The main idea of the song is about how Johnny’s emotions are all over the place. It talks about the conflict between what he wants and what’s real, hinting that the person he’s into might not be exactly who he thinks. The repeated use of “Johnny B” makes it clear that this is a personal and emotional tale.

The words paint a picture of Johnny feeling rushed and lonely, with phrases like “sleepless nights” and a “lonely ride” in pursuit of his dream girl. The mention of a “green light turns to red” suggests problems or warnings in his way, showing the tough parts of his journey.

There’s a focus on the impact this relationship has on Johnny, both physically and emotionally. Lines like “And when you drive her home, is she sittin’ real close? Does she make you weak? Well, that’s the way that she wants you” show how the girl affects him, and the repetition of “Johnny B” feels like the narrator is worried, trying to make Johnny see the potential issues.

The chorus encourages Johnny to wake up and pay attention, stressing the importance of being aware and understanding. The use of green light and red light symbolizes caution and thinking carefully about love.

Towards the end of the song, it acknowledges that Johnny’s love interest might be harmful (“Her kiss is her poison”). Still, it also recognizes that Johnny carries this poison with him, hinting at the lasting impact of the relationship, even if he knows it’s not all good.

12. “Johnny Get Angry” by Joanie Sommers

“Johnny Get Angry” is a fun song about a girl who wants her partner, Johnny, to be more assertive and take the lead in their relationship. The lyrics show that she playfully challenges Johnny to express his emotions and show dominance.

The song explores traditional gender roles from its time, where the girl desires a “brave man” and a “cave man,” indicating a preference for a strong and assertive partner. She wants Johnny to be in control, reflecting the societal norms of expecting men to be dominant.

Lines like “Every girl wants someone who she can always look up to” highlight the desire for a partner who is strong and takes charge. The girl loves Johnny but wishes he would show his authority in the relationship.

Despite its catchy tune and upbeat tempo, the song touches on deeper themes of gender expectations, making it a playful yet thought-provoking piece that prompts reflection on relationship dynamics.

13. “Johnny’s Garden” by Steven Stills

“Johnny’s Garden” by Stephen Stills is like a daydream about finding a peaceful escape from the busy city life. The song talks about a special place called Johnny’s Garden, where you can get away from all the noise and stress of the city.

In simple terms, the song is about wanting to find calm and peace in the middle of life’s challenges. Stills describes Johnny’s Garden as a quiet and safe haven with lots of greenery. It’s a place where you can feel better and escape from the pressures of the city.

When the lyrics say, “Only trouble was, I had to buy it,” it means someone had to make a sacrifice to get this peaceful place. The song shows a commitment to keeping this haven nice, with lines like “And I’ll do anything I got to do, Cut my hair and shine my shoes.” It’s like saying, “I’ll do whatever it takes to keep this place calm and peaceful.”

Stills also talks about nature and freedom in the song. He compares himself to a bird flying over grass, showing a desire to be free from the chaos of the world. The bird taking breakfast while flying represents a simple and easy life in this peaceful place.

The parts about Johnny in the song highlight his love for this special haven and his effort to make it beautiful. When he talks about his children like flowers bringing peace, it reinforces the idea that this place is a source of comfort and harmony.

14. “Johnny Angel” by Shelley Fabares

“Johnny Angel” is a really sweet and sentimental song about teenage love. It tells the story of a girl who really likes a boy named Johnny Angel. She thinks he’s like an angel and she’s totally into him, even though he doesn’t seem to notice her.

The song is all about one-sided love, where the girl really wants Johnny’s attention and love. The lyrics repeat things like “Johnny Angel, you’re an angel to me,” showing how the girl sees Johnny as this perfect, almost heavenly guy. It’s like a super innocent and pure kind of love, the kind you often find in teenage crushes.

The girl in the song is super devoted to Johnny. Even when other boys ask her out, she says no because she only has eyes for Johnny. This shows how dedicated and loyal she is, proving that her feelings for him are deep.

The lyrics use phrases like “How I tingle when he passes by” and “Every time he says hello, my heart begins to fly.” These words describe the intense physical and emotional reactions that come with having a crush. It really paints a picture of how exciting and thrilling it is for the girl to see Johnny.

15. “Johnny Run Away” by Tones and I

“Johnny Run Away” by Tones and I tells the story of a young boy named Johnny, dealing with his emotions and facing societal pressures about who he is. The song explores themes like self-discovery, acceptance, and the difficulty of staying true to oneself despite judgment.

The lyrics unfold Johnny’s tale in various settings, starting with a sweet moment at the park with a boy named Jimmy. This innocent connection is met with disapproval from Johnny’s father, leading to the poignant line, “But oh no Johnny no no no no ah ah ow,” capturing Johnny’s distress from the rejection.

As Johnny grows up, the song shows how he grapples with similar challenges in high school, feeling the need to hide his true self to fit in and avoid being targeted. The repeated phrase “Johnny run away, run away, now, Johnny now” underscores the urgency for him to escape judgment, highlighting the pressure to conceal his true identity.

The song not only addresses the personal struggle for acceptance but also touches on broader societal expectations and the fear that holds people back from pursuing their dreams or being true to themselves. Lines like “Everybody has a dream, but they’re frozen by fear” and “We won’t dance in the rain, we go and run for cover” illustrate how societal norms impact individual aspirations.

16. “Johnny Come Home” by Fine Young Cannibals

“Johnny Come Home” by Fine Young Cannibals is a song that tells a story about a young person who left home and is struggling in the big city. The lyrics switch between the troubled individual’s perspective and the plea of worried parents who want their son to come back.

At the start, the song creates a feeling of loneliness and sadness. The repeated lines like “Nobody knows, the trouble you feel, nobody cares, the feeling is real” highlight how the main character feels alone and misunderstood. This feeling of being left out is a key idea in the song.

In the chorus, the parents express their emotions, asking Johnny to come home. When they say “Johnny, we’re sorry,” it shows they might feel regret or guilt about something that happened, possibly leading to Johnny leaving.

The verses talk about the tough parts of city life, showing how the main character struggles with finding a place to stay, money, and food. Lines like “Can’t find a room, money’s all blown, nowhere to sleep, out in the cold, nothing to eat, nowhere to go” vividly describe the difficult situations many people face in similar circumstances.

One interesting part of the song is when Johnny asks himself, “What is wrong in my life that I must get drunk every night?” This suggests that Johnny might be using alcohol to deal with deeper emotional problems or inner struggles.

17. “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline” by X

“Johnny Hit and Run Pauline” by X is a song that talks about a serious and difficult topic, sexual assault. The lyrics tell a disturbing story about a guy named Johnny and a woman named Pauline.

In the beginning of the song, Johnny gets a needle to use drugs that enhance his sexual performance. The lyrics describe a troubling situation where Johnny does harmful things to Pauline every hour for a whole day without her consent.

The repeated phrase “Johnny hit and run Pauline” highlights the aggressive and predatory nature of what Johnny is doing. The words “hit and run” suggest that Johnny doesn’t care about Pauline’s well-being, adding to the theme of violence and exploitation.

The mention of bus doors opening on 42nd Street suggests this is happening in a public place, making the story even more uncomfortable. The lyrics say Johnny forcefully takes a girl inside, making it clear that this is not consensual.

The line “He was spreading her legs and didn’t understand dyin'” suggests that Pauline might have resisted, but Johnny didn’t realize the seriousness of what he was doing. The mention of clumps of hair and the realization that Pauline couldn’t cooperate show the physical and emotional harm she’s experiencing.

The song tells a dark and disturbing story, and it’s meant to make people think about sexual assault and be more aware. In interviews, X guitarist John Doe explained that the song is a warning against ignoring or romanticizing rape and aims to raise awareness about how common these incidents are.

18. “Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens

“Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens is a strong and thought-provoking song about war and its impact on society. The lyrics take you through different wars, from the Concord War to Vietnam and beyond. The character “Handsome Johnny” represents regular people who keep getting caught up in wars.

The song reflects anti-war feelings, questioning why conflicts happen and whether they make any sense. The repeated phrase “Marching to the [war]” emphasizes how wars seem to happen over and over. Each verse describes different wars, mentioning specific weapons like muskets, flintlocks, carbines, M1s, and M15s.

The chorus, “It’s a long hard road, and before we’ll be free,” suggests that the journey to freedom is tough, and freedom often comes at the cost of war’s hardships. This line has a double meaning, talking about the struggle for freedom in war and the broader fight for civil rights and justice.

Later in the song, it shifts from historical references to a more urgent tone, expressing worry about nuclear war. Mentioning a hydrogen bomb and guided missile adds a sense of immediate danger. The lines “Wait for our bullets to start whistling, Wait ’til the bombs start balling” create a feeling of impending doom, highlighting war’s destructive consequences.

The ending lines, “Here comes a hydrogen bomb, I can almost hear its whistle,” leave a lasting impression, stressing the anxiety and fear linked to the potential devastation of nuclear warfare.

19. “Johnny Guitar” by Peggy Lee

“Johnny Guitar” by Peggy Lee is a song that really dives into feelings of longing, love, and sticking by someone. It’s all about Johnny, who’s painted as this guy with a tough exterior but a really captivating presence. The lyrics show a deep connection to Johnny, recognizing how complicated he is and the strong feelings the singer has for him.

The line “Play it again, Johnny Guitar” repeats a lot, not just for the music but to stress how much the singer wants Johnny around. The lyrics show an understanding that Johnny might seem distant or cold, but there’s this magnetic pull that the singer can’t resist (“Maybe you’re cold but you’re so warm inside”).

“When you go, when you stay, I love you” sums up the uncertainty and vulnerability of the singer’s emotions. Even though things might be unclear and there’s a chance of getting hurt, there’s a constant love for Johnny. It acknowledges that Johnny may not always act kindly, but there’s something special about him.

The repetition of “There was never a man like my Johnny, like the one they call Johnny Guitar” makes it clear that Johnny is one of a kind, standing out from everyone else. This emphasizes that Johnny is truly exceptional and can’t be replaced in the eyes of the singer.

20. “Johnny Thunder” by The Kinks

“Johnny Thunder” by The Kinks is a rock song with a rebellious vibe. It tells the tale of a guy, Johnny Thunder, who goes against what society expects. The song is all about being yourself, resisting fitting in, and Johnny’s strong spirit.

The inspiration for the song comes from the 1953 film “The Wild One,” especially Marlon Brando’s character, and a friend from Ray Davies’ childhood who he looked up to.

The lyrics describe Johnny Thunder as living life on the edge, surviving on water and lightning, showing his unconventional and wild lifestyle. The people in town, representing regular society, can’t control or change him. Johnny is a lone figure, not speaking for anyone else, and he keeps going against what society wants.

The chorus repeats “Thunder and lightning,” making the song feel dynamic and lively, emphasizing Johnny Thunder’s powerful and rebellious nature. The “Ba ba-ba” sounds add to the rhythm and intensity.

A interesting part is when they mention “sweet Helena” praying for Johnny, bringing a bit of humanity and care into the rebellion. This mix of wild and caring elements in the lyrics gives more depth to Johnny Thunder’s character.

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