And Now Harry’s Walked Away With Johnny’s Wife

Yesterday’s Goodbye Johnny post started me thinking about the appearance of Johnny in songs. He crops up quite often- it’s a good lyrical name, sounds youthful and rebellious (see Marlon Brando in The Wild One- ‘What ya rebelling against Johnny?’ he gets asked. ‘Whaddya got?’ he snarls back), it scans well and sings well.

Johnny is the victim in The Wedding Present’s 1989 masterpiece Kennedy. Harry walks away with his wife. Maybe he’d eaten too much apple pie. I’ve never fully understood the lyrics to this song. The Kennedy in the title is (presumably) John F Kennedy, another Johnny, but the 35th President of the USA didn’t lose his wife to a man called Harry. Confusing.

The guitars on Kennedy are superb, frenetic and trebly and rushing their way through the song. And the breakdown with the bass riff is hairs-standing-up-on-the-back-of-the-neck stuff.