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Be Good Johnny by Men at Work

Album: Business As UsualReleased: 1982
  • Lead singer Colin Hay told us: "It was a song written from the standpoint of a 9-year-old boy. His parents are constantly telling him to be good and he feels like he understands some things but is completely misunderstood by the adult world, which I think a lot of people feel."
  • Colin recorded a new version for his 2003 album Man At Work. The album contains some acoustic renditions of Men at Work's hits along with some new songs. (Thanks to Colin for speaking with us about his songs. You can find out more at
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Comments: 5

the harmony of the drums, keyboards and singing on this song are great. as one who daydreamed in school and passed on football despite my talent, i can relate to the lyrics.Phiilp - Beer Town, Wi
He's gay? So the explanation from the song writer himself is not enough for you that you have to decide that the song is about a boy who is gay. I think sometimes people read waaaaay too much in song lyrics, probably more than the song writers ever meant them to mean.Saff - Melbourne, Australia
I think the subtext of this song obviously is that our boy Johnny is not like most of the other boys in that he's gay. Think about it--"Are you going to play football this year, John?" "No!" and "So, tell me, what kind of boy are you, John?"
"You sure are a funny kid, John, but I like you!"
Joshua - Houston, Tx
"Are you going to play football this year, John?"
"Oh, well you must be going to play
cricket this year then, are you Johnny?"

This kind of sums up the Australian psyche..

Great song, and a brilliant intro.
Dave - Liverpool, United Kingdom
This song is super dankQuin - Alpine, Ut
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