Be Good Johnny: The “Doe” Re Mi Of Chart Ditties

From dusk 'til "John".

From dusk ’til “John”.

The latest single from B.o.B is a collaboration with Priscilla on a song called “John Doe”. For the North Carolina rapper, it’s his sixth top 40 hit on the CHR chart as a main credit act, while it becomes the second for the singer who once charted as Priscilla Renea. (You may remember her minor 2009 entry called “Dollhouse”.) Sometimes, it’s all in the name, and in this case, a first name that’s been used in a lot of other hit singles throughout the decades. Considering that it was the 75th most popular name for boys last year, there’s quite a few more of them in the world.

So, with all the “John” song titles out there, I’ve limited it to just those that hit the top ten. After all, we can only hope that “John Doe” rises to the same region this summer. There’s some classic tunes among the handful of titles, plus a few fluffy numbers that are just so sugary sweet. Get ready to take attendance, because the pop pupils are all here:

Chuck Berry, “Johnny B. Goode” (#8, 1958)
He’s an icon and a pioneer of early rock ‘n’ roll music in the 1950’s. Released during the summer of 1958, “Goode” peaked just a few weeks before Billboard introduced its Hot 100 chart and climbed to #8 on what was then known as the Top 100.

Jimmy Dean, “Big Bad John” (#1, 1961)
Before breaking into the Breakfast business, Dean was a Country singer, and his biggest single topped that chart along with the Hot 100. After a string of hits in the 60’s, he would last break the Hot 100 in 1975. Dean passed away in 2010 at age 81.

Shelley Fabares, “Johnny Angel” (#1, 1962)
Known for her role on The Donna Reed Show, Fabares went from actress to singer and scored a #1 hit with her debut chart single. She managed another moderate hit for Colpix Records, a followup called “Johnny Loves Me”, which peaked at #21.

Joanie Sommers, “Johnny Get Angry” (#7, 1962)
The singer from Buffalo, NY broke into Billboard’s top ten in 1962 with what’s considered one of the more unusual songs in her catalogue of jazz and standards. It was her only top 40 single, and by the 1970’s, she began to pursue commercial work.

The Beach Boys, “Sloop John B” (#3, 1966)
Now, this “John” obviously isn’t a person; it refers to a sail boat of sorts, and it cruised through the chart waters to the high tides of the top 5. The origins of the song date back to the 1920’s. “Sloop” has been covered by several acts since it charted.

Dion, “Abraham, Martin and John” (#4, 1968)
After a string of flops, the former teen idol turned to religion, got clean, and recorded the original version of this tribute to four important American figures. It was a much-needed comeback, becoming his biggest song in five years and going Gold.

In 1971, a medley of this song along with “What The World Needs Now Is Love” went to #8 in a unique composition by disc jockey Tom Clay. It also featured interviews and clips from political figures of the time.

The Beatles, “The Ballad Of John and Yoko” (#8, 1969)
As “Get Back” topped the Hot 100 for five weeks, this tune was released as a followup to it, spending three straight weeks at #8 in July. Some radio stations at the time objected to playing the song due to religious issues. Of course, it’s all fine today.

El DeBarge, “Who’s Johnny?” (#3, 1986)
After leaving his family group at the end of their most successful era, he scored as a solo act in 1986 with a single from the film Short Circuit. Neither of the two followups from a self-titled album out later that year on Gordy Records went top 40.

For more games with names and titles with titles, follow the blog below or find PGTC on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab.

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