Best Songs With Boy Names In The Title
ListCaboodle Playlist: Songs With Boy Names in the Title.
Just for fun, try to name as many songs with guy’s names in the title as you can from memory. How many can you come up with? A few easy ones come to mind, then it gets tougher.
After taking this challenge, we decided to do some research and come up with a playlist of our favorites. The result is this list of the best songs with boy names in title. Enjoy!
Best songs with male names
1.) Daniel by Elton John
Album: Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player
Charted: #2 US, #4 UK
Most people don’t know that this radio-friendly ballad tells the story of a soldier returning home from the Vietnam War.
When songwriter Bernie Taupin penned the lyrics, the last verse made the story clear. However, when Elton John composed music for the song, he felt it went on too long, so he left off the final verse.
Taupin was fine with cutting the verse, explaining “…that used to happen all the time with our songs. I would often overwrite, and Elton felt it necessary to edit somewhat. But believe me, it didn’t say anything that the rest of the song didn’t say.”
2.) Vincent by Don McLean
Album: American Pie
Charted: #12 US, #1 UK
Don McLean looked deeply into an image of the painting Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. In a flash of inspiration, the lyrics came to him. He began writing them down on a paper bag.
The words he wrote sympathize with the troubled Dutch artist’s schizophrenic disorder. Van Gogh painted his most famous work after committing himself to an asylum in 1889.
McLean’s own life was unsettled at the time he wrote Vincent. “I was in a bad marriage that was torturing me—I was tortured—I wasn’t as badly off as Vincent was, but I wasn’t thrilled, let’s put it that way,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
3.) Fernando by ABBA
Album: Greatest Hits
Charted: #13 US, #1 UK
Swedish pop group ABBA recorded Fernando after bandmember Anni-Frid Lyngstad made it a hit on her solo album. The song had to be rewritten in English, which changed much of the lyrics from the original Swedish version.
Instead of a tale of heartbreak and lost love, the song became a tale of old war veterans reminiscing about a long-ago battle.
As songwriter Björn Ulvaeus explained, “Fernando was about two old freedom-fighters from the was between Texas and Mexico. I was lying outside one summer night, looking at the stars and it suddenly came to me.”
Famous songs with boy names in the title
4.) Tom Sawyer by Rush
Album: Moving Pictures
Charted: #44 US, #25 UK
This rock classic was inspired by Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and describes a modern-day rebel and free spirit.
According to lead singer Geddy Lee, the band hated this song when they first recorded it. “I remember being disappointed in the studio, thinking we really didn’t capture the spirit of the song. We thought it was the worst song on the record at the time—but it all came together in the mix. Sometimes you don’t have the objectivity to know when you’re doing your best work.”
5.) Ben by Michael Jackson
Charted: #1 US, #7 UK
The number-one hit Ben was originally intended for Donny Osmond. But songwriter Don Black (with co-writer Walter Scharf) suggested Michael Jackson instead.
Jackson recorded the song for use in the 1972 movie Ben. In the film, Ben is a rat that turns evil and attacks humans. Not quite inline with the lyrics the touching and tender ballad expressed.
On the challenge of writing about a rat, songwriter Black explained, “When it came to writing about a rat, I said, ‘You can’t write about a rat.’ I mean, I’m not going to use words like ‘cheese.’ I thought the best thing to do is write about friendship.”
6.) Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix
Album: Are You Experienced?
Charted: #6 UK
Jimi Hendrix first performed “Hey Joe” using his stage name Jimmy James with the band Jimmy James and the Blue Flames in the early 1960s.
Chas Chandler of The Animals heard the band playing “Hey Joe” in a Greenwich Village club and knew he’d heard a hit. With Chandler’s help, Hendrix formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The band’s recording of the song reached number six on the UK charts in February 1967. The American audience took a bit longer to catch on.
Great songs with guy names in the title
7.) Alejandro by Lady Gaga
Album: The Fame Monster
Charted: #5 US, #7 UK
Lady Gaga’s hit song “Alejandro” is about her fending off three Mexican lovers. The provocative lyrics and video for the song predictably raised criticism from religious groups and critics.
Comparisons of the song’s lyrics and style are often made to Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” and ABBA’s “Fernando” (another of our favorite songs from this list).
Video director Steven Klein explained Gaga’s inspiration to Rolling Stone. “She likes epics. It fits her personality. We combined dance, narrative and attributes of surrealism. The process was to express Lady Gaga’s desire to reveal her heart and bear her soul.”
8.) Buddy Holly by Weezer
Album: Weezer (The Blue Album)
Charted: #18 US, #12 UK
This song sounds like a typical romantic expression, but is really about defending a platonic female friend, according to Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo.
The song became a Top 40 radio hit and its unique video scored four MTV Video Music Awards and two Billboard Music Video Awards. The Spike Jonze-directed video incorporated vintage Happy Days footage along with the band playing at the original Arnold’s Drive-In from the show.
The song was released to radio stations on the anniversary of Buddy Holly’s birthday, September 7, 1994.
Best songs with boy names in the title
9.) Tim McGraw by Taylor Swift
Album: Taylor Swift
Charted: #40 US
Like most Taylor Swift songs, this is about someone the singer dated. But that someone is not Tim McGraw.
As Taylor explains it, “… it’s not about Tim McGraw. It’s about a relationship that I was in. Just to set the record straight, it wasn’t with Tim McGraw. It was with this guy I was dating and he was about to go off to college and I was thinking about all the things that I knew would remind him of me. I didn’t really think of Tim McGraw personally when I wrote this song. It was a song where I was listing personal things. One of the things I listed was that my favorite song is by Tim McGraw.”
When McGraw was asked what he thought of the song, he replied he didn’t know whether to take it as a compliment or if it just made him feel old.
10.) What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? by R.E.M.
Charted: #21 US, #9 UK
In 1986 a man rushed up to CBS news anchor Dan Rather shouting “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”. The crazed man was convinced the media was beaming electrical signals into his head. His question pertained to the frequency of the signals.
Fascinated and inspired by the incident, R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe began writing song lyrics. He called the odd occurence “The premier unsolved American surrealist act of the 20th century.”
TV talk show host David Letterman found the whole story equally interesting. He often repeated the line “What’s the frequency, Kenneth” on his show and even hosted R.E.M. performing the song with Dan Rather on lead vocals.
More songs with men names in the title
11.) Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
Album: Chuck Berry Is On Top
Charted: #8 US
This song tells the story of Chuck Berry’s life. He got the name “Johnny” from fellow musician and songwriter Johnnie Johnson. The two played together in Johnson’s band The Sir John Trio before Berry sprung out on his own.
Berry changed around some of the details of his life in the song, however. His humble beginnings in St. Louis became Louisiana in the song and he always knew how to read and write very well.
The young man with a talent for playing the guitar and showmanship also graduated from cosmetology school with a degree in hairdressing.
12.) Happy Jack by The Who
Album: A Quick One
Charted: #24 US, #3 UK
It’s believed this playful song is inspired by Who guitarist Pete Townshend’s childhood memories of hanging out on the Isle of Man. There he witnessed a simpleminded man who hung out at the beach, always playing with the kids. If they buried him in the sand, his only response was a smile.
Frontman Roger Daltrey wasn’t too impressed with the song initially. He explained to Uncut magazine, “I remember when I first heard ‘Happy Jack,’ I thought, ‘What the (bleep) do I do with this? It’s like a German oompah song!’ I had a picture in my head that this was the kind of song that Burl Ives would sing, so ‘Happy Jack’ was my imitation of Burl Ives!”
13.) Hey Jude by The Beatles
Album: Hey Jude
Charted: #1 US, #1 UK
The origin of this number one hit is well-known. One day Paul McCartney was heading over to pay a visit to John Lennon’s five-year-old son Julian. John and Cynthia Lennon just got divorced and he wanted to see how the boy was handling it.
As he drove, he “… started this idea, ‘Hey Jules, don’t make it bad, it’s gonna be OK.’ It was like a reassurance song,” as McCartney explained to GQ magazine in 2018.
When a grown-up Julian Lennon ran into the ex-Beatle in New York City in 1987, he expressed his deep gratitude and affection to McCartney for the song and their relationship.
Classic songs with boy names in the title
14.) Mack The Knife by Bobby Darin
Album: That’s All
Charted: #1 US, #1 UK
The roots of this song extend back to 1928 when it was written for a German play called The Threepenny Opera. The name “Mack” comes from the title character in the play, the criminal Macheath.
Even though the song is upbeat and swinging, the lyrics tell a darker story of murder. The original German version of the song used much more graphic descriptions of the crimes than Darin’s hit song did. He even added catchy little phrases to the lyrics like “Five’ll get ya ten old Macky’s back in town.”
15.) Sam Stone by John Prine
Album: John Prine
Singer-songwriter John Prine’s groundbreaking, self-titled debut album included this sorrowful tune about a drug-addicted Vietnam War vet.
He explained to Rolling Stone about his signature song, “I was trying to say something about our soldiers who’d go over to Vietnam, killing people and not knowing why you were there. And then a lot of soldiers came home and got hooked on drugs and never could get off of it. I was just trying to think of something as hopeless as that.”
Runners Up: Songs with boy names in the title
Here are more songs with boy names in the title that didn’t quite make our Best List. But a case can be made for any one of these, as they represent some amazing work in their own right.
As you read through the selections, you’ll probably think of some of your own favorites too.
- It’s a Shame About Ray by The Lemonheads
- Big Bad John by Jimmy Dean
- Abraham, Martin and John by Dion
- Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce
- Hit The Road Jack by Ray Charles
- Jumpin’ Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones
- Chuck E.’s In Love by Rickie Lee Jones
- Jerry Was a Race Car Driver by Primus
- I’m Henry The VIII, I Am by Herman’s Hermits
- Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield
- Levon by Elton John
- Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
- The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead by XTC
- Lonesome Johnny Blues by Cracker
- Stan by Eminem
- Lido Shuffle by Boz Scaggs
- A Message To You, Rudy by The Specials
More great boy songs
- Charlie Brown by The Coasters
- James Joint by Rihanna
- Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey by Paul McCartney
- Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin
- Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard by Paul Simon
- You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon
- Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits
- Jerome by Lizzo
- Ode To Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry
- Casey Jones by Grateful Dead
- Tommy Can You Hear Me? by The Who
- Steve McQueen by Sheryl Crow
- Jack & Diane by John Mellencamp
- Be Good Johnny by Men at Work
- The Ballad of John and Yoko by The Beatles
- Tyrone by Erykah Badu
- Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot
Thanks for reading about Best Songs With Boy Names in the Lyrics. Be sure to check out the companion to this list: Best Songs With Girl Names in the Lyrics.
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