Be Good Johnny

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This article is about the Men at Work Song. For the harness racing horse, see Be Good Johnny (horse).
"Be Good Johnny"
Single by Men at Work
from the album Business as Usual
B-side "F-19"
Released 1982
Format 7"
Recorded Autumn, 1981
Genre Synthpop, dance-rock, new wave
Label Epic
Writer(s) Colin Hay
Producer(s) Peter McIan
Men at Work singles chronology
"Down Under"
"Be Good Johnny"

"Be Good Johnny" is a song recorded by the Australian band Men at Work, from their first album, Business as Usual.

The song achieved moderate airplay on American radio stations, but did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 as it was not released in the United States as a physical single, a requirement for the chart at the time. However, it did chart on Billboard's Top Tracks, where it peaked at number three.


The song is written from the viewpoint of a 9-year-old boy who is constantly being told to be good, but prefers to daydream rather than concentrate in class or play sports. Johnny feels like he understands some of his instructions, but also that he is completely misunderstood by the adult world.[1] The lead singer, Colin Hay, uses his voice in different ways throughout the song to imitate Johnny, Johnny's mother and father, and his teacher. The song also features spoken dialogue by keyboardist Greg Ham as he tries to figure out what Johnny is like. The title of the song is a reference to Johnny B. Goode.

Cover versions[edit]

Colin Hay covered a solo version on his album Man @ Work, and this version is used as the theme song of the British and American versions of the reality TV program Supernanny.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1982-1983) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) 8
Canada (RPM Magazine) 19
New Zealand (RIANZ)[2] 3
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 78
U.S. Billboard Top Tracks 3


  1. ^ Be Good Johnny Song Facts SongFacts. Retrieved on January 7, 2007.
  2. ^ International chart lists –

External links[edit]