The future of music

35 Best Songs With Boys’ Names in the Title

April 19, 2023
Best Songs With Boys’ Names in the Title

Over the years, many artists have had a personal muse so there is no shortage of songs with boys’ names in the title.

Others have invented characters to sing about.

So if you have a popular name then you might find there is a song with your name on it.

If you are compiling a playlist for a partner, family member, or friend then you might want to slip in one of these songs with boys’ names to give it a personal touch.

We have gathered some of the best songs with boys’ names in the title.

You might not find one about you but you are bound to find one you could use to serenade or perhaps annoy someone else with.

1. “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry

We are starting with a classic, Chuck Berry’s 1958 hit “Johnny B. Goode”.

Just about everyone knows this one, even if it’s from the “Back to the Future” motion picture soundtrack.

It is a rock and roll song centered around a character who rises to stardom.

The narrative shaped many songs to follow with a similar theme.

Down and out struggling musician impressing the crowds and finding his way to fame. 

In this case, it is semi-autobiographical Berry was originally inspired by his pianist Johnnie Johnson whilst writing the lyrics but the song tells Berry’s own story.

2. “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix

Although “Hey Joe” wasn’t a huge hit for Billy Roberts himself, many artists covered the folk song in their style. 

None more memorable than the debut single recorded with the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

As with many songs with boys’ names, it tells a story, in this case about a man who shot his cheating wife.

Hendrix brought the lyrics to the masses, who doesn’t know that opening line?

“Hey, Joe, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand?”

3. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones

Released in 1968 “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” marked a new era for the Rolling Stones.

Their look and sound changed and it got grittier.

Jagger had begun reinventing himself.

This iconic Rolling Stones song with a boy’s name ranks among the Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The name comes from the gardener at Richards’ vacation home where the band was staying.

They were all woken by his heavy boots as he stomped around tending to his work.

When Mick asked what the racket was, Keith told him it was jumping jack the Gardener, and the song’s lyrics were born.

Mick added the word flash and turned it into a metaphor stating; “It’s about having a hard time and getting out,” Jagger said

4. “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles

When singer Percy Mayfield recorded his acapella back in 1960 he probably had no clue that this repetitive phrasing would change his life so dramatically.

He soon caught the attention of Ray Charles, who recorded it in 1968 with Margie Hendrix. 

This gave the song a risque edge after the two were found to be having an affair and Hendrix became pregnant.

“Hit the Road Jack” became a break-up anthem for angry housewives thanks to the subtext.

5. “The House Jack Built” by Metallica

We are sticking with songs with the boys’ name Jack for one further entry, but we have skipped a couple of decades and the genre has changed somewhat!

“The House Jack Built” is probably one of Metallica’s most underrated songs.

People consider the album the start of the demise of the group.

Whether you like the album or even the group or not the lyrics in this are very sincere. 

The title is a play on an English nursery rhyme but the house in question is Hetfield’s own body and the Jack refers to Jack Daniels whiskey.

It is one song the band has never performed live; perhaps the lyrics hit home too much.

6. “Andy Warhol” by David Bowie

This song with a boy’s name was written with someone very specific in mind. 

Most Bowie fans will know that the whimsical musician had an obsession with the American visual artist and director Andy Warhol.

In 1971 he recorded an acoustic homage to the legendary icon and leader of the pop art movement for his album Hunky Dory.

Warhol didn’t like the song but gave no critique.

Bowie later went on to play Andy Warhol in the film “Basquiat”.

7. “Bobby Brown (Goes Down)” by Frank Zappa

Back to fictional characters for “Bobby Brown (Goes Down)”.

The two-minute tale is probably one of Zappa’s more well-known tracks.

The lyrics are crude and full of adult content.

The shock factor made this one popular.

Song Year: 1979

The dark but comical story is about how the cutest boy in town, an all-American archetype, becomes a sadomasochistic homosexual thanks to a terrifying encounter with a lesbian.

Zappa satire at its best.

8. “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam

This next song with a boy’s name in the title is still iconic to this day.

Largely thanks to the debate that still goes on surrounding its subject matter.

Vedder was inspired to write this one after reading about Jeremy Wade Delle, a high school student who shot himself at school. 

But “Jeremy” is also inspired by a kid named Brian who committed a school shooting.

So it gets interpreted both ways.

The music video still has a high impact, with many condemning it as it has an implied suicide scene.

But it won an MTV award for the best music video and is a grunge staple.

9. “Tommy Can You Hear Me?” by The Who

The Who brought us some iconic rock operas but before Quadrophenia came to movie screens we had Pete Townsend’s breakthrough “Tommy”.

At the time it was revolutionary to release an album that told an entire story from start to finish. 

The novel Rock Opera which follows the life of a deaf, dumb, and blind kid-come-pinball-wizard sold over 20 million copies.

“Tommy Can You Hear Me?” plays as the boy miraculously regains his senses and features between “Go to the Mirror” and “Smash the Mirror”.

10. “Poor Tom” by Led Zeppelin

Another song with the boy’s name Tom is “Poor Tom” by Led Zeppelin. 

It was originally recorded in 1970 but we didn’t get to hear it until they gave us their bitter-sweet farewell album Coda in 1982

The whole album was essentially a compilation of previously rejected tracks.

They released it as a parting gift to fans as they were contractually obligated to release five albums.

The fact that the group abandoned the track means that the recording is crude giving it a nice imperfect quality.

Bonham’s drumming is jazzy and erratic and it has tons of progressively experimental folk elements throughout that build to a heavy harmonica outro.

See also: Best Led Zeppelin Songs

11. “Fernando” by ABBA

Fernando was not originally an ABBA track, it was given to Anni-Frid Lyngstad for her solo ventures and recorded in Swedish.

The English version tells a very different story from the initial song. 

The Swedish Fernando is heartbroken and has lost his love and the singer consoles him.

The English Fernando Narrative depicts two veteran freedom fighters in Mexico reminiscing.

12. “Bennie And The Jets” by Elton John

This hit from Elton’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road went down a storm during his Live Aid performance.

Taupin’s lyrical narrative is from the perspective of a super fan of the fictional band “Benny and the Jets.

You will notice there are American and British spellings of Bennie/Benny.

The fictional band in the song allows them to satirically comment on the extravagance of the 1970s music industry at the time.

13. “Geno” by Dexys Midnight Runners

With an instantly recognizable horn section riff that plays homage in this one to soulful R&B singer Geno Washington.

The whole thing musically sounds like a Ram Jam Band track, Washingtons’ group that inspired Rowland and Archer to get into music.

It became the band’s second single and the crowds love to chant along to it.

14. “A Message to You Rudy” by The Specials

A song of a similar ilk next, that bends the rules a little…

While Rudy is a boy’s name today making it qualify as a song with a boy’s name in the title, it is misleading.

Rudy was a shortening of rude boy that became a term of endearment.

Dandy Livingstone wrote this one back in 1967 a song about the Jamaican lads who were up to no good and needed to stop and think about the future they want for themselves.

The Specials sped the rock-steady Caribbean track up into the ‘skank-tastic’ ska song that we all know and love. 

It has featured on countless soundtracks and is one of the group’s most popular songs

15. “Me And Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin

This one became a posthumous hit as Janis Joplin recorded it just a few days before her untimely death.

The original was penned and performed by Kris Kristofferson but most will remember Joplin’s version.

The narrative describes a cross-country hitch-hiking adventure with “Bobby” who for Kris Kristofferson was Roberta (a secretary).

But when Janis sang it, Bobby became male.

It became something of a hippie anthem reaching number one and with lines like this, you can see why;

“Freedom’s just another word for ‘there is nothing left to lose’…”

16. “Jimmy Mack” by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas

This one was a top-ten hit Single for Martha and the ‘Girls’ and is more or less the epitome of Motown sound.

Martha’s lead vocal line calls out to her boyfriend Jimmy, asking when he is “coming back”.

She has a lot of interest from other guys, sweet-talking and circling her but she wants Jimmy.

The song was initially shelved as the producers deemed it too similar to other Motown hits at the time. 

But with the start of the Vietnam War and many men leaving their women to fight overseas, the song was released and took on new meaning.

17. “Olivers Army” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions

“Oliver’s Army” is an upbeat new-wave track with chipper piano riffs inspired by watching British troops patrolling the streets of Belfast.

The “Oliver” leading the said army is Cromwell and while Costello had no intention of making it a comprehensive political piece there are many political references.

It makes mention of other imperialist fights throughout and has been subject to modern censorship;

“Hong Kong is up for grabs

London is full of Arabs

We could be in Palestine

Overrun by the Chinese line

With the boys from the Mersey and the Thames and the Tyne”

18. “Shotgun Willie” by Willie Nelson

“Shotgun Willie” was the title track of Nelson’s 16th studio album.

The opening line is “Shotgun Willie sits around in his underwear, Bitin’ on a bullet and pullin’ out all of his hair” which is a strong image.

Made stronger by the fact that Willie says he wrote the lyrics on the toilet!

The singer earned the family nickname “Shotgun Willie” after a family feud that involved guns and a shootout.

Nelson wouldn’t tolerate domestic abuse.

19. “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” by Paper Lace

With a marching band beat and whistling intro this song with a boy’s name in the title talks of the demise of a soldier.

The chorus is sung by the fiancee, begging her man not to “be a hero”.

Despite the words of his fiancee echoing around his mind he volunteers to go for reinforcements.

The fiancee receives a letter informing her of his death and calling Billy a hero, which she throws away as Billy threw away his life.

The song was released in 1974 and many people associate it with the Vietnam War that began the following year.

20. “Denis” by Blondie

When Blondie decided to cover this American doo-wop song they probably didn’t know that they’d bring it to notoriety.

The Randy & The Rainbows song was about a woman and was originally called “Pretty Girl” but later changed to “Denise”.

Debbie Harry took the French masculine spelling of Denise, “Denis” pronounced without the “s”, and made it her love song

It rhymed better with the rest of the lyrics than changing it to the English boy’s name “Dennis”.

She didn’t stop there with the French adding in an entire verse, which she fought the label to keep in the release.

Management feared it might alienate listeners.

But Debbie Harry performed it in a bathing suit and most listeners didn’t care what language she was speaking!

21. “Eddie” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers

When you have a repertoire of original songs as large as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers do, you inevitably find a song with a boy’s name in the title.

We could have chosen “Charlie” or “Johnny Kick A Hole In The Sky” or any of the group’s many tributes such as “Magic Johnson” or “Brendan’s Death. 

We have gone with “Eddie”, an in-memorial tribute to late guitar legend Van Halen. 

The song makes no mention of him by full name but the lyrics are littered with references that tell the listener who Eddie is.

The song had a live debut in 2022

22. “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz

One of the best things to come out of 2001 was this hit by British virtual band “Gorillaz” who was at the time not super well known.

Albarn went viral showing that the inspiration for the majority of the track came from a preset beat on an Omnichord keyboard/drum machine. 

The track went on to be huge and it was the first preset when you switched the machine on.

They used a melodica with a riff that sounds a lot like the harmonicas in the title sequence to “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” feature film that starred Clint Eastwood.

Hence the name. 

23. “Adam’s Song” by Blink-182

The original inspiration for this one was a teen suicide letter that Hoppus read whilst lonely on tour.

The lyrics are heavy, and it is a vulnerable song that is a little uncharacteristic for the group.

I took my time, I hurried up

The choice was mine, I didn’t think enough

I’m too depressed to go on

You’ll be sorry when I’m gone”

Following the death of the band’s close personal friend DJ AM (Adam Goldstein), the song became too raw and they haven’t performed it live since.

24. “Buddy Holly” by Weezer

With an untimely death in a now infamous plane crash alongside the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, everyone knows the stage name of Charles Hardin Holley.

Buddy Holly had a definitive style that shaped early rock and roll.

The fateful day is even referred to as the day music died.

The song was written by Rivers Cuomo after his friends made fun of his Asian girlfriend and the song isn’t about Buddy Holly. 

It is more about the perfection portrayed in the 50’s era or relationships and courting etc.

Weezer recorded this hugely popular hit in an homage style with references to “Happy Days” in the 1950s throwback fashion music video.

25. “Alec Eiffel” by Pixies

In 1991 while touring through Paris, the Pixies wrote a song about the architect who designed the Eiffel Tower.

Francis Black thought it astonishing that at the time people thought the guy was an idiot, that it would spoil the landscape and be an eyesore. 

Francis wanted to comment on how people enjoy bringing others down, ridiculing their ideas while providing none of their own.

He purposely shortened the architect’s name to “Alec” as a play on words with the phrase “smart Alec.”

26. “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” by Primus

There are many memorable Primus tracks because of the group’s distinct sound and unique edge, but none as well-loved as “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver”.

The narrative is about an ill-fated race car driver and the character was inspired by a guy Les Claypool knew in high school.

The guy was the type that drove a hopped-up car and wanted to be a cop. 

The third verse sees Jerry have a near-fatal crash that forces retirement at a young age. 

He says the song is in essence about disappointment and how to handle it.

27. “Making Plans for Nigel” by XTC

This one was funnily enough covered by Primus, but we diverge…

“Making Plans for Nigel” was a breakthrough hit for XTC the song was inspired in the family home where bassist Colin Moulding was feeling the pressure of his parents.

They wanted him to cut his hair and start planning for university, Nigels’ story is a little different but that is where the inspiration originally came from nonetheless.

The lyrics are told from the parental perspective;

We’re only making plans for Nigel

We only want what’s best for him”

It only got all the more popular when the steelworkers went on strike.

28. “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex

“Cotton Eye Joe” was a big hit for Rednex, their somewhat tongue-in-cheek cover of a traditional American Country Folk Song “Cotton Eyed Joe”.

The song’s origins predate the American Civil War and the term “cotton-eyed” probably refers to being blind drunk on moonshine.

The fiddle-laden track gave Rednex their five minutes of fame when it was taken from their 2002 Sex & Violins album and remixed into a dance track.

29. “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga

It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago but Lady Gaga released this one back in 2010 and it dominated the charts.

The simplistic repetitive chorus with its melismatic melody line over a catchy beat meant that this one was played to death.

The lyrics are a little black book of sorts as Miss Gaga gives a shout-out to her lovers, Alejandro, Fernando, and Roberto.

The track’s popularity was also boosted by the raunchy and flamboyant music video celebrating gay cabaret and ultimately gay love.

30. “Jerome” by Lizzo

“Jerome” by Lizzo is like an antithesis of your typical love song.

It is a song about a situation-ship. 

The character “Jerome” is a lover who has a lot of growing up to do.

He isn’t serious boyfriend material and Lizzo isn’t afraid to tell him in this slow soulful track.

He might be seductive and attractive, but she knows he can’t take care of himself properly, let alone her.

She is honest and vulnerable but she still manages to demand respect as a strong woman.

31. “Stan” by Eminem

When we think of Eminem we think of his more aggressive rap music.

He was and still is heavily criticized for his work but “Stan” is arguably something of a masterpiece.

The rap narrative tells the same story from two perspectives. 

Stan is a huge fan of Slim (Slim Shady Eminem’s alter-ego) he narrates fan letters that he mails frequently to the rapper telling him about his life and family situation.

Eventually Slim gets around to mailing him back, only he is too late. 

The narratives link together at the end with a bitter realization moment.

I seen this one shit on the news a couple weeks ago that made me sick

Some dude was drunk and drove his car over a bridge

And had his girlfriend in the trunk, and she was pregnant with his kid

And in the car, they found a tape, but they didn’t say who it was to

Come to think about, his name was, it was you

Damn!”

32. “Tyrone” by Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu’s bluesy vocals glisten in her air-time hit “Tyrone”. 

Much like Lizzo’s Jerome that came after it is a chastising song about a guy from a strong female perspective.

Badu created it on the spot, it was something they played around with as a warm-up in rehearsals but Erykah began improvising the lyrics on stage in London. 

It became her go-to live encore and for some fans, it’s her signature song.

As it wasn’t officially released it never earned itself an award like countless other tracks she wrote.

There was some backlash with many stating she was “Male-bashing” and some suspecting the track was about her ex Andre 3000 which has been dismissed.

33. “Jonah” by Kanye West ft. Vory

Kanye collaborated with Vory to create this melancholy piece.

Vory wrote the skeleton version to come to terms with the heartache he felt following the death of 19-year-old rising rapper Jonah Ware better known as Lul Flex.

Being a personal song the emotion comes through in the narrative despite the heavy use of autotune throughout.

“Like who’s here when I need a shoulder to lean on?

I hope you’re here when I need them demons to be gone

And it’s not fair that I had to fight ’em all on my own”

34. “Jimmy” by Tones and I

“Jimmy” is a character who is first mentioned in another song with a boy’s name in the title by Tones and I called “Johnny Run Away”.

He is inspired by a childhood friend of Toni Watson’s who was gay and reclusive and struggling to come out to his father.

The kid was privy to domestic violence and eventually ran away and she never crossed paths with him again.

The song “Jimmy” is the song that follows “Johnny Run Away” and tells the story from her perspective.

The takeaway is to make the most of people while they are in your life.

35. “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash

We are wrapping things up with a bit of irony, a Johnny Cash classic recorded live from San Quinton prison.

Sure enough, Sue is a girl’s name but in this case, as the title clearly states it is a girl’s name meant for a boy.

The song began life as a humorous and very dry poem by poet and children’s author Shel Silverstein known for their comedic creativity.

Cahs saw merit in the prose and turned it into the well-known, well-loved song we are all familiar with.

Best Songs With Boys’ Names in the Title – Final Thoughts

Be it a full homage to an icon, a disgruntled song about an ex, or a gooey love ballad about the apple of your eye, songs with boy’s names in the title take on many forms.

With today’s shortlist, you have a few of the most memorable from the last few decades in a range of genres.

Whether or not you found your name in our list of songs with boys’ names in the titles we hope you at least found some of the stories behind the tracks interesting.

We used the “interest” factor as a way to narrow down the choices for the article, were there any glaringly obvious popular songs with boys’ names that we missed?

You may also like: Songs About Sons

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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