"A Girl Called Johnny" as written by and Michael Scott....
I remember Johnny, hey
Johnny come lately
I remember her shoes like a ballerina
A girl called Johnny who

Changed her name when she
Discovered her choice was to
Change or to be changed
I remember a girl called Johnny

Black as hell and white as a ghost
"Don't talk about life or death"
She said I've had enough of both
A girl called Johnny who was not scared

They'd have torn her to pieces but
Who would dare?
I remember a girl called Johnny
The train came to town, boy she got on it

With no looking back, with not a word
If she said goodbye, well I never heard
But the noise goes on
The noise, the jazz

And the truth is in somebody else's hands
And the house that a girl called johnny built
Is now just ashes and sand


Lyrics submitted by hastalavictoria, edited by epiwoosh

"A Girl Called Johnny" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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A Girl Called Johnny song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI was thinking about a friend of mine. She went through a lot of sh*t as a child.
    And it came back to haunt her as an adult.

    Some lines that hit me.
    "Discovered her choice was to
    Change or to be changed"
    She made a decision or her life would get out of her control.

    "I remember a girl called johnny
    Black as hell and white as a ghost"
    Depression

    "Don't talk about life or death
    She said, "I've had enough of both""
    She was fed up with the stuff that was going on in her life or what happened in the past.

    'A girl called johnny who was not scared'
    If pushed hard enough you lose your fear. Sometimes even the fear of death.


    'They'd have torn her to pieces but
    Who would dare?'
    She became hard as nails in her resolve.

    "The train came to town, boy she got on it
    With no looking back, with not a word
    If she said goodbye, well I never heard"
    She changed her life. And didn't say goodbye because it was too painfull to.
    She felt what she had to face she would have to face alone.

    "But the noise goes on
    The noise, the jazz
    And the truth is in somebody elses hands
    And the house that a girl called johnny built
    Is now just some ashes and sand"
    Wild stories erupt about what actually happened.
    The people who knew her speculate. Where has she gone and how did it came to this. Maybe it was suicide.

    Another interpretion of the lyrics. Sexchange Boy-->girl.
    thijs72on June 05, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this is a song about a girl who refused to be something that the world may have wanted her to be. Like maybe she was tired of having to be this or that. To the line where she's had enough of life and death. I'm almost sure that it means she has seen to much of death (whether it be physical or the death of values and dreams) and she's tired of the troubles of life. The train could either be literal (like she left the town she had grown up in and the world she was raised in) or she killed herself. I think the second option is more likely because the whole song has a bitter, regretful tone. Like the artist is blaming society for the death of someone so unique and brave. Johnny could also represent any different, beautiful thing that the world has suffocated with values and rules.
    kat001on April 15, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favourite waterboys track. I can see the superficial meaning of the lyrics, but does anyone know any underlying themes?
    hastalavictoriaon March 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it is fairly common knowledge that this song is about Patti Smith. Go to wikipedia and type in her name. Then look again at the lyrics.
    jezziebon February 14, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is call a GIRL called Johnny, and Johnny is a boy's name

    I might be missing something or not be well enough informed, but it looks like a boy who is suffering because he is too much like a girl. In the end he has to leave town. It all seems to make sense with this interpretation
    kirathkon February 19, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is about a girl who was tired of people wanting her to conform to their ideas of how she should be. Maybe she was an activist sort and built a foundation for some kind of change, and when she got tired of life and left the town, that foundation collapsed and there was no more progress made on that front ("And the house that a girl called johnny built is now just ashes and sand"). This is just speculating, but it's not hard to imagine a scenario like that for these lyrics.
    epiwooshon November 21, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThe song is call a GIRL called Johnny, and Johnny is a boy's name

    I might be missing something or not be well enough informed, but it looks like a boy who is suffering because he is too much like a girl. In the end he has to leave town. It all seems to make sense with this interpretation
    kirathkon February 19, 2011   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThe song is call a GIRL called Johnny, and Johnny is a boy's name

    I might be missing something or not be well enough informed, but it looks like a boy who is suffering because he is too much like a girl. In the end he has to leave town. It all seems to make sense with this interpretation
    kirathkon February 19, 2011   Link

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