Johnny Angel

Album: Shelley! (1962)
Charted: 41 1
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is a tale of a girl who has a huge crush on a boy (Johnny) who has no knowledge of her. She loves him so much and is so desperate to win his heart that she turns down any other boy who asks her for a date.
  • Songwriters Lyn Duddy and Lee Pockriss wrote this song while they were trapped in Duddy's apartment during a blackout. They each had other songwriting partners (Pockriss and Paul Vance were the creative minds behind "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini") but with nothing else to do, they decided to brainstorm some ideas.

    "I had always wanted to write a soliloquy - a song written from the point of view of someone who waited on the corner every night for someone to pass by," Duddy told Billboard. He had the idea for one called "Seven-thirty," but changed it to "Johnny Angel" when Pockriss suggested it should be a guy's name. "I just picked that name out of thin air. It didn't mean anything," he said. Although they produced a chart-topping hit out of their alliance, Duddy and Pockriss never worked together again.
  • Fabares, who was primarily an actress, sang this in an episode of The Donna Reed Show, in which she was a regular cast member. On that episode, her character Mary Stone abandons her plans to attend college to pursue a singing career.
  • This song features Glen Campbell and Carol Kaye on guitar, Hal Blaine on drums, and Darlene Love and the Blossoms on backup vocals. These were some of the top West Coast session musicians who played on hundreds of hits in the '60s.
  • "Johnny Loves Me," Fabares' follow-up hit, is a sequel to this song, telling how the girl won Johnny over; it was Fabares' last Top 40 hit.
  • Fabares did not consider herself a singer and thought that the voices of her backup vocalists were so "beautiful" that it frightened her to try to be a recording artist herself... but she managed it. Although she did have another Top 40 hit, it was obvious that her acting career would always be stronger. Her singing career ended in 1966. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
  • In the 1990 movie Mermaids, you can hear this song when Charlotte (Winona Ryder) sees Joey (Michael Schoeffling) for the first time. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Amalia - Barranquilla, Columbia
  • This song has nothing to do with the 1945 film of the same name nor the NWF wrestler of the same name.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 9

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 24th 1958, the weekly sitcom "The Donna Reed Show" premiered on the ABC-TV network...
    The show ran for eight seasons with 275 original episodes...
    Shelley Fabares played daughter Mary Stone on the series and three years, five months, and 1 day later on February 25th, 1962 her debut charted record, "Johnny Angel", entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 at position #81; five weeks later on April 1st it would peak at #1, for 2 weeks...
    {See posts below}
    She had three other Top 100 records; "Johnny Loves Me" {#21 in 1962}, "The Things We Did Last summer" {#46 in 1962}, and "Ronnie, Call Me When You Get a Chance" {#72 in 1963}...
    Michele Ann Marie 'Shelley' Fabares will celebrate her 72nd birthday in four months on January 19th {2016}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 19th 1962, Shelley Fabares performed "Johnny Angel" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time her follow-up release, "Johnny Loves Me", was at position #48 on the Top 100, "Johnny Angel" had dropped off the chart two weeks earlier...
    Have to wonder why she didn't perform "Johnny Loves Me" on this 'Bandstand' show...
    Also during this week in 1962 there was another 'Johnny' song on the Top 100, "Johnny Get Angry" by Joanie Sommers was at position #26, it would peaked at #7 (for 1 week) on July 15th, 1962...
    (See the 3rd post below).
  • Dean from Hoover, AlI believe Shelley is the niece of the actress Nanette Fabray, though the spelling of the last names is different. Not sure about that, though.
  • Kevin from Bay Shore, NyTo Alan in Sault Ste. Marie, was Jimmie Angel, not Johnny Angel who discovered the falls in Venezuela.....I remember in the early 90s when Shelley was on the show "Later" with Bob Costas. Bob started to sing the song and sang "I'd rather contemplate" instead of "I'd rather concentrate"...Shelley corrected him, and he was so embarrassed
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 25th 1962, "Johnny Angel" by Shelley Fabares entered Billboard's Top 100 chart at position #81; and on April 1st it peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 9 of those 15 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    It was Elvis' "Good Luck Charm" that knocked it out of the top spot, it then spent the next two weeks at #2...
    Later in the year on June 3rd, 1962 she entered the Top 100 with "Johnny Loves Me"; it peaked at #21 on July 15th and stayed on the Top 100 for 10 weeks...
    Ms. Fabares, born Michele Ann Marie Fabares, celebrated her 70th birthday last month on January 19th (2014).
  • Ron St, Laurent from Oswego, IlThis is one of my all-time favorite songs. It's just very well done, period. I watched the "Donna Reed Show" often and I admired Shelley-drop dead gorgeous at the time. I don't remember ever seeing her perform the song on the show. She was 18 years old in 1962 when she recorded "Johnny Angel" It reached No. 4 on the WLS music survey (Chicago, Ill.) on April 28, 1962.

  • Chris from San Jose, CaI read or heard somewhere that Shelley had to record the song one line at a time, that her voice wasn't strong enough to carry more than one full line & she was insecure abotu it. I personally love the song & think her voice is sweet & melodic & while clearly she's not the strongest singer, it's a great tune that has held up over time!
  • Alan from Sault Ste. Marie, OnAs a kid I had a major crush on Donna Reed. That being said wasn't Johnny Angel a pilot whose plane crashed near the largest waterfall in the world that took his name ? Angel Falls, Venezuela. Check it out I'm serious.
  • Lester from New York City, NyHave always had a major crush on Shelley Fabares
see more comments

Justin TimberlakeFact or Fiction

Was Justin the first to be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher? Did Britney really blame him for her meltdown? Did his bandmates think he was gay?

Al Jourgensen of MinistrySongwriter Interviews

In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.

TV Theme SongsFact or Fiction

Was a Beatles song a TV theme? And who came up with those Fresh Prince and Sopranos songs?

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?

Laura NyroSongwriting Legends In Their Own Words

Laura Nyro talks about her complex, emotionally rich songwriting and how she supports women's culture through her art.

Francis Rossi of Status QuoSongwriter Interviews

Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.