Angry Johnny
by Poe

  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • In this haunting song, Poe plays the role of Jezebel in Hell, letting "Angry Johnny" know that she's coming to kill him. Jezebel shows up in the Old Testament of The Bible, where she leads followers away from God. Her name is an archetype for a vengeful, deceitful woman, which is how Poe plays her in this song.

    The "Angry Johnny" character can represent the anger boiling inside all of us, even Poe herself. An inspiration on the song, and in Poe's career in general, was the death of her father, a brilliant academic who didn't connect very well with his children. Poe lived on her own after her parents divorced when she was 16, and her father died a few years later.
  • A track from Poe's debut album, "Angry Johnny" got a lot of airplay on radio stations that had adopted a "modern rock" or "alternative" format, but more mainstream stations ignored it. It's one of the more daring songs of the era, musically and lyrically. Poe was on the vanguard with an electronic sound that blended organic instruments to create sonic beds for her stories. She was signed to a major label, Atlantic, who did what they could to promote her, but Poe had little interest in marketing her music unless it was directly to fans on AOL. Her next album didn't appear until five years later, and after that she vanished amid a tangle of legal issues.
  • The musical figure that repeats throughout this song is a sample of "Icy Water," a 1971 track by The Rascals. That song's writer, Felix Cavaliere, had a writing credit on "Angry Johnny" along with Poe and her producer, RJ Rice.
  • Poe chose "Johnny" because it is the All-American name.
  • Poe's brother wrote a book in 2000 called House Of Leaves with a character named Johnny Truant. That character is partly based on this song.
  • Poe toured with Lenny Kravitz while this was gaining popularity.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 1

  • Heather from Mead, Nei love this song because its so strange and demented.
see more comments

Roger McGuinn of The ByrdsSongwriter Interviews

Roger reveals the songwriting formula Clive Davis told him, and if "Eight Miles High" is really about drugs.

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceSongwriter Interviews

The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.

David Bowie Leads the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired MenSong Writing

Bowie's "activist" days of 1964 led to Ziggy Stardust.

The FratellisSongwriter Interviews

Jon Fratelli talks about the band's third album, and the five-year break leading up to it.

Rebecca St. JamesSongwriter Interviews

This Australian Christian music star found herself a California surfer guy, giving new meaning to her song "Wait For Me."