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Top 10 Best Songs With Girls' Names in the Title

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Sue, Jenny, Gloria, Billie Jean . . . there's are tons of famous songs that feature women's names.

Sue, Jenny, Gloria, Billie Jean . . . there's are tons of famous songs that feature women's names.

Songs With Names in the Title Are Timeless

Music, in general, has been around arguably as long as mankind. It in and of itself has outlasted languages, civilizations, and written history. That is music as a whole, of course, and as long as man stills walks the earth, I believe it will withstand the test of time. So what is it today that makes certain songs endure?

Besides being well marketed and performed by a competent artist, it is the song's ability to connect with its listener and be immune to the changes of time. This can be accomplished in many different ways, but it's hard to argue that putting a popular name in the title wouldn't be a good one. As long as people keep naming their children John, Jenny, Daniel, James . . . the song will always have a listener.

The following 10 songs are just a few of my favorites from the hundreds of girl-named songs out there. I'll also ask for your opinions and test a bit of your musical knowledge along the way. Are you one of the lucky ladies to have a song on this list?

1. "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash

I thought I'd start off with a bit of irony seeing as how this song has a girl's name but is about a guy.

The song was recorded in 1969 at Quentin State Prison and of course made popular by Johnny Cash. What you maybe didn't know was that it was written as a poem by none other than the infamous poet, Shel Silverstein, who was inspired by his friend Jean who had been taunted over the years for having a girl's name.

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2. "867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone

This little gem of a hit came to us in 1981 and though I'd like to say we've found the first song that actually has a person to connect to the name, I can't. Not with any certainty at least.

Though 3 of the 4 band members claim there was a Jenny whom they pranked by writing her phone number on the bathroom wall and then the song which inspired thousands of phone calls, the writer, Alex Call, denies there was any Jenny involved and it was just a name and number that fit the song.

Darn, so close. None the less, another timeless classic made so by a name...and the catchy phone number didn't hurt either.


For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What was the name of Tutone's other Top 40 Hit?
    • May You Be You
    • 537-6205
    • Angel Say No
    • They had another song?

Answer Key

  1. Angel Say No

3. "Amanda" by Boston

There's no real verifiable information about the inspiration of this song so again, the mystery remains.

It's interesting though that this song was written 8 years before it's release on Boston's "Third Stage" album which was released 6 years after the prior. Not bad taking 6 years off and having your first single top the charts in both the US and Canada without a music video. Yes, having a chart topper in '86 without any MTV video to go with it is no easy feat.

4. "Melissa" by Allman Brothers

Though "Melissa" was written in 1968, it wasn't released until 1972 and was used to settle a contract by selling a part of the rights. Later, Greg Allman, the writer of the song, was able to purchase the song back in it's entirety.

For those of you named Melissa, I'm sorry to say there was no Melissa who inspired this song. It's believed that the name was simply overheard by Greg, he liked it and it fit the piece so there you have it, "Melissa".

(Don't feel bad Melissa's of the world. I think we'll find this to be rather common.)


For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What was the name of the Allman Brothers' guitar instrumental also named for a girl?
    • Angel
    • Jessica
    • Maggie Mae
    • Oh Sheila

Answer Key

  1. Jessica

5. "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac

Again, we're close but still haven't found a song actually written about the person whose name is in the title.

"Rhiannon" was written by Stevie Nicks in 1975 after reading a novel that had the name in it. She thought the name was so pretty, it inspired her to write the song. She later found that "Rhiannon" was the name of a witch and her song accidentally somewhat fit her story. This of course lead to the belief that Stevie Nicks was into witchcraft and Stevie in turn trying to discredit this belief by not wearing black clothing for quite some time.

Though not the most popular name, Rhiannon the song has been quite popular over the years between both men and women.


For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Which form of witchcraft is it that Nicks was believed to be a party to?
    • Dianic
    • Eclectic
    • Wicca

Answer Key

  1. Wicca

6. "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson

"Billie Jean" is no doubt one of the most popular songs worldwide that contains a girl's name in the title.

One theory about this song which many know, is that Michael wrote this song about a woman who had accused him of being the father of her child. What many may not know is that the child was a twin and she only accused him of being the father to the one child. The other is that he'd wrote it referring to the many "groupies" that he and his brothers had had over the years. Perhaps we'll never know the truth about the why the song was written but it is confirmed that the "stalker" theory is true.

Released in 1982 as part of the "Thriller" album, "Billie Jean" topped the charts in nearly every country that played it.

7. "Mary Jane's Last Dance" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

"Mary Jane's Last Dance", released in 1993, has a couple of possible origins.

Perhaps it's a coincidence, but Tom Petty had just divorced his wife Jane a year prior to the song so it's is possible we have a real "Jane" inspiration here. However, the more popular belief is that the song is about marijuana seeing as how the term "mary jane" is often used referring to the drug and it's ability to "kill the pain". Judging by the lyrics and video, I think it's likely the latter of the two. One band mate states that "it can be whatever the listener wants it to be" thus leaving it up to us what we feel it to be about when letting the tune grace our ears.


For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Where did Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers come from?
    • Detroit, Michigan
    • Nashville, Tennessee
    • Gainsville, Florida
    • Indianapolis, Indiana

Answer Key

  1. Gainsville, Florida

8. "Layla" by Eric Clapton

Inspired by "The Story of Layla and Majnun" (Nizami Ganjavi), "Layla" is not only one of the best songs named after a girl, it is one of the greatest rock songs of all time. The inspiration of this song was further enforced by Eric's love for fellow rocker George Harrison's wife.

Release originally in 1970 as a rockin' hit, "Layla" again hit the charts in 2004 when the "Unplugged" version was released. Though both are great, this video is a great live performance of the song in it's original form.

9. "Angie" by the Rolling Stones

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, who wrote most of the song with help from lead man Mick Jagger, is said to have written this song about his quitting the use of heroin. Heroin being "Angie" in the song released in 1973.

Seemingly, the quitting of heroin use didn't stick for Keith but certainly the song did. Topping the charts in the US, "Angie" could be one of the most recognizable songs with a girl's name in the title. It still though has no Angie to have inspired the track despite rumors that the song was about the then wife of David Bowie, Richards himself is the one who said the song was about heroin...then again, wasn't everything?

10. "Beth" by KISS

Once again, there is no Beth behind the scenes of this song. It was actually Becky shortened to "Beck" to which the song was originally written, "Beck What Can I Do" in 1971 about one of the band mate's wife who would often call during practice to see when he was coming home. This was not originally a KISS song though released on their album "Destroyer" in 1976. Furthermore, no KISS members play any instruments in the song which was written by their guitar player, Stan Penridge, and sung by their drummer, Peter Criss.

Angel, Jenny, Irene and Maria all have songs with their name in them...4 for 4! Wow!

Angel, Jenny, Irene and Maria all have songs with their name in them...4 for 4! Wow!

Write Songs With Girls' Names in Them!

Perhaps if you're a song writer, you may want to consider writing a song with a girl's name in it. They are wildly popular, and you're guaranteed to have at least a few listeners right out of the gate. Find some of the latest, most popular baby names so you're ahead of the curve—and voila, you've just increased your chance of having a hit.

© 2014 Dan Reed


Dan Reed (author) on June 01, 2018:

Thank you Glen. It's funny because it can be whatever the listener wants until you find out the truths behind them and then it kind of ruins it. Like reading a book and having a mind's eye visual of what you think a character might look like....then they cast the movie and you can't see the character you imagined anymore.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on June 01, 2018:

You sure know a lot about the history and background of the songs we grew up with Dan. I learned a lot that I never knew about before. I guess we take it for granted sometimes and just listen to songs without considering the background.

As for the trouble with knowing the actually meaning in some songs, I agree that it can be whatever the listener wants it to be, as you had mentioned. It’s the same as with any art form.

By the way, I enjoyed doing your quizzes too. They definitely engage the reader. I learned what I was mistaken about on some of them, and pleased to see what I got right.

Dan Reed (author) on April 12, 2018:

Jean Bakula - I completely agree with you on the acoustic "Layla" and I'd heard that about Bowie but it's hard to argue when Keith himself said it was about heroin or should I say it's at least believable. Haha. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on April 11, 2018:

I thought the unplugged version of Layla was so much sexier than hearing Clapton screaming "Layla" over and over.

I also thought Angie was about David Bowie's first wife, she was close with Jagger.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on March 20, 2018:

Layla has always been a favorite of mine -- I also know someone by that name, (though she spells it differently) she is very special.

arxerfangirl on January 17, 2017:

How about Olivia or Diana by One Direction?

annasmom on March 05, 2016:

"Beth" was originally called "Beck" and was written in response to a band members girlfriend calling constantly to see what the boys were up to ...Good thing they tweeked it and released it. It was the only number one KISS had.

Prof49 on June 18, 2015:

Eleanor Rigby, perhaps?

Dan Reed (author) on February 11, 2014:

@Beth37 - Well now you know where you can hear it and the next guy that only sings you the chorus, you can then school on the rest of the song. Thanks for sharing the story, now I'm sure to think of it when hearing the tune. Funny how that works and one of the best parts of music, it can trap a memory forever.

Beth37 on February 11, 2014:

You have mine. :)

So, when I was in the 6th grade a group of 3 boys stood outside my window (on the 2nd floor) and sang that song to me. What a good memory. Funny thing is, Ive never heard the whole song. There's a boy in his 20s at my work who loves to sing that to me... don't know why, but he only knows the chorus too. lol.... someday I will give it a listen.

Dan Reed (author) on January 24, 2014:

Thanks oldiesmusic! Much appreciated from one music lover to another!

oldiesmusic from United States on January 24, 2014:

"Amanda" and "Layla" are among my favorites on the list! Patti Boyd is sure one lucky chick, she's the inspiration behind many other songs such as "Something" and "Wonderful Tonight". Wonderful hub. :)

Dan Reed (author) on January 22, 2014:

@Robin - Beautiful names! Yeah, some songs don't exactly deliver the message you want your child to be named for. It would be tough to sing one to sleep to a tune like Maxwell Silverhammer.

Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on January 22, 2014:

What a great list! We named our girls after two of our favorite songs - "Georgia on My Mind" by Ray Charles and "Julia" by the Beatles. Two of my favorites! My husband really loved the song and name "Layla" but I couldn't live with the lyrics; we named her Lila instead and there's a great song called "Lila Blue" that we sing to her. It's much more upbeat. It's really nice to have a song that you can sing to your kids when they are young. Thanks for the resource! ;)

Dan Reed (author) on January 20, 2014:

Thanks Idono. Songs named for boys is in progress and yes, they are usually not as optimistic.

IDONO from Akron Ohio on January 20, 2014:

You forgot everyone's favorite! "C'mon Ilene" It's a tear jerker that should be played at every wedding. (kidding).

Nice job here and great presentation. Now, you put yourself on a spot where you have to do another one about songs with men's names. Seems like those aren't quite as romantic like "Jeremy" that was a radical student and "Timothy", a guy that ate people. But I'm sure you'll come up with some good ones. Looking forward to more.

Thank goodness! A hub that doesn't contain the names Obama, Kardashian or Satan!

Dan Reed (author) on January 20, 2014:

@kereeves3 - everyone knows the answer! HaHa! No really, thank you. I knew that but must have had Kansas on the brain for some reason. Thanks for reading and commenting. I love music so these Hubs are really fun to write.

Karen from Salem, OR on January 20, 2014:

Love this hub! Such a great idea. And I'm sure the list goes on and on! The only thing that I will comment on that should be changed is the quiz following the "Melissa" entry. The song "Jessica" is performed by The Allman Brothers also, not Kansas. Just a minor error. Keep up the good work!