"Johnny And Mary" as written by and Robert Allan Palmer....
Johnny's always running around
Trying to find certainty
He needs all the world to confirm
That he ain't lonely
Mary counts the walls
Knows he tires easily

Johnny thinks the world would be right
If it could buy truth from him
Mary says he changes his mind more than a woman
But she made her bed
Even when the chance was slim

Johnny says he's willing to learn
When he decides he's a fool
Johnny says he'll live anywhere
When he earns time to
Mary combs her hair
Says she should be used to it
Mary always hedges her bets
She never knows what to think
She says that he still acts
Like he is being discovered
Scared that he'll be caught
Without a second thought
Running around

Johnny feels he's wasting his breath
Trying to talk sense to her
Mary says he's lacking a real
Sense of proportion
So she combs her hair
Knows he tires easily

Johnny's always running around
Trying to find certainty
He needs all the world to confirm
That he ain't lonely
Mary counts the walls
Says she should be used to it

Johnny's always running around
Running around


Lyrics submitted by boomslang20117

"Johnny and Mary" as written by Robert Allan Palmer

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Johnny And Mary song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentActually, Robert Palmer himself said that he wrote it about a specific sector of political people he knew personally, political people in the Bahamas, I believe. This song was about the shallowness & neediness of the policians themselves (all male, in this case) & the wives of those said men. Wives who were tired of the political game-playing, the jockeying for attention, the endless social obligations. But those same wives were not about to leave the life of privilege given to them, essentially making them into powerless shadows behind their men. Hence, the ennui, the boredom, the self-esteem issues written into the lines. How many politicians do we see "always running around, acting like he's being discovered"? Brillant but subtle writing, this one. So it's still about marriage to an extent, but there's a deeper meaning behind this song than that.

    Not surprised it wasn't a hit in America, as they weren't & still in general aren't able to appreciate a darker song like this on the whole. And yes, I'm an American, and no, I don't hate my country. From what I've read, this song is still the most-respected in RP's catalogue in Britain to this day.
    elawtonon November 25, 2010   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI understand this song was written about political behaviour. Nonetheless, as it happens with many songs with open metaphores and general meanings, it can be easily translated into any meaning. And since we're most of all sexual beings, of course that love is one of the most popular subjects for this song to be read into. besides, political ground is a fight ground, just as love is. I think that's why River Wolf and Dogmanstar interpreted it as a song about a relationship falling apart.

    In that context, I take this song as a description of a very insecure man who thinks the woman he loves will leave him, that everybody cheats, that love will always end early, that love is always a fight, that love (as Joy Division said) will tear them apart, that he can trust nothing. He just have found a woman who is not willing to get into those games. She's not dumb nor simple. She's wise and she knows relationships are hard-working enterprises, but she has no intention to get into those mindgames, she knows nothing about those painstaking questions to oneself and doesn't care about them. But she likes him all the same, that's why she awaits for him in bed ("so she made her bed"). From then on, she will just sit and wait. He loves him, but she's convinced that all that internal fight has to be won from the inside.

    He thinks he's doing things right, that talking is the way to sort things out with her. He doesn't realize that he has to sort things out with himself. That's why he believes he's wasting his time trying to talk sense to her.

    So she combs her hair. She THINKS he tires easily. But he will never stop running around. Certainty is not something you find on the world. You find it inside yourself. It's only that Johnny doesn't know it.
    Alienoon July 16, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is great, Placebo's cover is as well. i think it's about a relationship falling apart
    River Wolfon February 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, I think it's about a relationship falling apart as well. But both Johnny and Mary are too numb to do much about the whole thing. They're 'happy', if you will, with the status quo.
    dogmanstaron August 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningSorry if what I write to You makes no sense. One of You will understand.

    Could I be wrong, seeing this song in a different lIGHT. Consider that the namers/words Yin & Yang are just pointers to a more hidden meaning that is really there. Not only Chinese/foreign (/) placeholders - but more general. Being that human kind is utterly divided in itself. Could it even be a division in existence - the core of it?. This I several years misheard:
    Johnny is always running around, Trying to find peace of mind. Meaning:
    The King Monkey that we let our lives to live in stead of us. our mind's life is to be/Be. But this thing between us and the World is a wrongly attachment to putting expierences (when formerly put through and in memory) before the Expiencing itself. We stack too much. Every memory has a timeline in it, not always in the Right order in relation to previous memories. Or are there?
    Maybe writing should leave us the right pointers - now and then. (
    Like Trying to find certainty. That is what we all do. Trying to convice that we're not lonely. Everything human thus humanity flows from there. We lack sense of perspective. Hence We are.If you cound foresee or explain your next step(s) - before you make it. That would be a worthy cause. I see there are more dimensions to it. Literally. Litterrally. There is time between seeing and confirming. When we write we can check again if it has coherence.
    If we could predict more we could find a better threshold of balance between being and
    Epsilon Eridani bon January 25, 2019   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningBut more is not better, Robert. That I did not see this. So obvious. Why did it elude me. So long. So long?
    Epsilon Eridani bon January 25, 2019   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningIf you make you bed, you'll lie in it. our choice. Your choice. I know now that you tire easily. Me. You. Just words. To circumvent experiencing. I meet you when you are there.
    Epsilon Eridani bon January 25, 2019   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningIn former times, there was a group of people that looked for truth. It had many a name. Most were lost. So many thoughts from here. W#hich will it be. No - contol is no illusion - it is just that what you let effect you. Or should it be the other way arounD? WHERE DID WE DECIDE TO LET OUR THOUGHTS STOP? AND WHY DID THIS COME OUT IN CAPITOLS. O, Caps Lock. Or did it? Where you there? Did you exepience it? And do you dare to confess that you are at a loss for clues sometimes. Most of the times? Maybe. More now. So I should say no. Than you are not now and here. You have no control over facts and reality. There are more and more layers to us , as I experience it. Maybe rebirth maybe an extrapolation or the Genetics variant of the word. What if we predicted wrong. We do it all the time. Don't be to remembrance - driven.
    Epsilon Eridani bon January 25, 2019   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningBut pay hommage to the past - in memory. But don't expect too much that you have control in or of the future.

    (Just saying high. Do you believe that?)
    Epsilon Eridani bon January 25, 2019   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningWe invented We.
    Epsilon Eridani bon January 25, 2019   Link

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