Johnny Angel (song)

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"Johnny Angel"
Single by Shelley Fabares
from the album Shelley!
B-side "Where's It Gonna Get Me"
Released February 1962
Format 7" single
Recorded 1962
Genre Pop
Length 2:19
Label Colpix
Writer(s) Lyn Duddy and Lee Pockriss
Producer(s) Stu Phillips
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Shelley Fabares singles chronology
"Johnny Angel"
(1962)
"What Did They Do Before Rock 'n' Roll"
(1962)

"Johnny Angel" is a song written by Lyn Duddy and Lee Pockriss. It became popular in 1962 when Shelley Fabares took it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. British singer Patti Lynn had a moderate hit with her remake the same year. The Carpenters also covered "Johnny Angel" in 1973 as part of a medley of oldies on side two of their album Now & Then.

Shelley Fabares version[edit]

Background[edit]

"Johnny Angel" is the debut pop single by Shelley Fabares. It was released in 1962 on the Colpix label.[1] The track was the first single taken from Fabares' debut solo album Shelley!, which was produced and arranged by Stu Phillips.

The single premiered on an episode, "Donna's Prima Donna" of Fabares' sitcom, The Donna Reed Show, during the fourth season (episode 20).[2] It also has a sequel song entitled "Johnny Loves Me", which tells the story of how the girl won Johnny's heart. The tune had previously been recorded by Georgia Lee on the Decca label.

Darlene Love and her group, the Blossoms, sang backup vocals on the track.[3] Fabares is quoted in The Billboard Book of Number One Singles by Fred Bronson as saying she was intimidated by Love's group and their "beautiful" voices and was terrified at the prospect of becoming a recording artist, as she did not consider herself a singer,[4] but was expected to sing on the show anyway.[5] The song also featured an echo chamber, where the intro of the repeated title words: "Johnny Angel, Johnny Angel" was used by Fabares and the backup singers.

The song is an expression of a teenage girl's romantic longing for a boy who doesn't know she exists, to the point where she declines other boys' propositions for dates because she would rather concentrate on the boy she loves.

Although Fabares' career as an actress stayed strong for three decades, her career as a singer came to an end within a few years of "Johnny Angel" when she was unable to come up with another Top 20 hit. However, the song has become an oldies radio airplay favorite.

Reception[edit]

"Johnny Angel" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 7, 1962, during a 15-week run on the chart.[6] It was a number one hit on the Top 100 Best Sellers chart in April 1962 as published by Cashbox. It charted at number one in both Canada and in New Zealand. "Johnny Angel" also peaked at number 41 on the UK Singles chart.[7] It sold over one-million copies and was awarded a gold disc.[8]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Johnny Angel" - 2:19
  2. "Where's It Gonna Get Me" - 2:08

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1962) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1[6]
UK Singles Chart 41[7]
Canadian Singles Chart 1[9]
New Zealand Singles Chart 1[9]
U.S. Cashbox Top 100 1

In the media[edit]

  • In the song The Beat of Black Wings, which appears on Joni Mitchell's album Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm, the words Johnny Angel are sung at the end of several lines, in the same style as the Shelley Fabares single, in an apparent reference to the song.

Patti Lynn version[edit]

"Johnny Angel"
Single by Patti Lynn
B-side "Tonight You Belong To Me"
Released March 1962
Format 7" single
Recorded 1962
Genre Pop
Length 2:16
Label Fontana
Writer(s) Lyn Duddy and Lee Pockriss
Producer(s) Harry Robinson
Patti Lynn singles chronology
"Johnny Angel"
(1962)
"Tell Me, Telstar"
(1962)

Background[edit]

British pop singer Patti Lynn released a cover version of "Johnny Angel" for the Fontana Records label in March 1962. It was produced by Harry Robinson.[10] Her version of the song charted on the UK Singles Chart at #37 in May 1962.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Johnny Angel" - 2:16
  2. "Tonight You Belong To Me" - 2:12

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1962) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 37[11]

The Carpenters version[edit]

"Johnny Angel"
Song by The Carpenters from the album Now & Then
Released May 16, 1973
Recorded 1973
Genre Pop
Length 1:30
Label A&M
Writer Lyn Duddy and Lee Pockriss
Producer Richard and Karen Carpenter

Background[edit]

The Carpenters covered "Johnny Angel" and included it on their fifth studio album Now & Then in May 1973. The song was produced by Richard Carpenter and his sister Karen and was issued on the A&M record label. The song was included on Side "B" of the album as part of an oldies medley.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (6th ed.). New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 212. ISBN 0-8230-7632-6. 
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim (1999). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (7th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 275. ISBN 0-345-42923-0. 
  3. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number One Single on Billboard's Hot 100 from 1955 to the Present (5 ed.). Billboard Books. p. 107. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6. 
  4. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number One Single on Billboard's Hot 100 from 1955 to the Present (5 ed.). Billboard Books. p. 107. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6. 
  5. ^ "'The Donna Reed Show's' kids reminisce: Classic Hollywood". latimes. 
  6. ^ a b Bruce Eder. "Shelley Fabares - Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. 
  7. ^ a b "ChartArchive - Shelley Fabares - Johnny Angel". archive.is. 
  8. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 145. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  9. ^ a b "Songs from the Year 1962". tsort.info. 
  10. ^ Patti Lynn - Johnny Angel (Vinyl) at Discogs
  11. ^ "ChartArchive - Patti Lynn - Johnny Angel". archive.is. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Don't Break the Heart That Loves You" by Connie Francis
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
April 7, 1962 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Good Luck Charm" by Elvis Presley