Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 7th 2022
Jenny is a muse for song-writers
Well, this has an interesting genesis. Following my recent column about songs with Mary in the title, a few people reached out about other names that were common in song titles. One I knew about and was holding off on for a little while, but this one intrigued me.
So we come to songs with Jenny (or Jennifer) in the title.
A Jenny Wren… which does not appear in these songs. (Image by Kev from Pixabay)
After receiving a couple of messages about this one, I thought I'd give it a go. Sure enough, a quick look through my music collection showed me that I have plenty of songs about Jenny or Jennifer, and not any other forms of the name. That was a pleasant surprise and I got to collating. So, the normal rules apply – one song per artist, one version of each song, I need to like the song.
With that, let's get on with this list of 10 songs about Jenny!
'Jenny Jenny' by Little Richard (1957)
From the late, great Little Richard, one my favourites of his songs, this is such a good rocking jam, showing listeners that early rock could really rock. Such a great song to start this off.
'Poor Jenny' by Everly Brothers (1958)
Early Everly Brothers, one of the first songs (not the first, I don't think) where they moved away from the country sounds and the ballads and followed the rock sound becoming dominant at the time. This is also one of my favourite songs of theirs, with some simple yet great guitar playing backing them up.
'Jennie Lee' by Jan And Dean (1962)
Jan And Arnie, the duo that led to Jan And Dean a few years later, recorded 'Jennie Lee', but Jan And Dean re-recorded it in their own style some years later. I prefer the Jan And Dean version, however it is different to the surf music the duo were best known for, and in a good way.
'Jenny Take A Ride!' by Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels (1965)
Sometimes referred to as 'C.C. Rider' by re-recordings, there is something about this version that just sits so well (though Springsteen's live version is awesome). With that pounding organ and the driving drums, it is such a great piece of mid-60s rock from a band that has become all but forgotten by modern fans.
'Jennifer Eccles' by The Hollies (1968)
This was the Hollies returning to their pop days after a few sonic experiments. It is the sort of jangly, Liverpool sound that they would hold onto into the 70s, even after losing Graham Nash. Who is Jennifer Eccles? A combination of the names of two of the wives of band members who helped write the song. Apparently. (I got that from Wikipedia, which was the only place that had any info I could find.)
'Jennifer Juniper' by Donovan (1968)
Now this one I know who the Jenny is – it is Jenny Boyd, sister of Pattie who would go on to marry George Harrison then Eric Clapton (inspiring incredible songs by both), and who released an amazing autobiography. Standard Donovan folk-rock-pop, but one of his songs that I prefer.
'Jennifer' by The Rubinoos (1977)
The Rubinoos were on the poppier side of the glam rock scene, but their self-titled album was underrated, having some really strong songs. This is a deep cut from that album, exemplifying that poppy feel, but fun all the same.
'8675309/Jenny' by Tommy Tutone (1982)
One of the best one-hit wonders from the 1980s. Even looking at local charts, this guy did not have another song that made even a blip. Which is odd because this song is great, it was everywhere, and it lasted, so why didn't his other tracks gain traction? I have heard it recently as well, so it has really lasted. It such a great bit of 80s pop-rock, and still stands up today… although I reckon it'd be a Twitter handle, not a phone number.
'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine' by The Killers (2004)
Good rock song from the Hot Fuss album, a great album. It was not released as a single, but the album itself was so full of top notch songs, it's understandable. Still, this is a song worth your time.
'Jenny' by Eric McKeown (2018)
A cover of the original Mountain Goats song, on a Mountain Goats tribute album, I prefer this one to the 2013 original. The singing is so smooth and the Goats' lyrics are always good, plus I really like the music here. And this is a fine way to end the list.
And there we have it, a quick-fire ten songs about Jenny and/or Jennifer. Doing this and finding the vast majority were pre-1970 was a pleasant surprise, but there's also two from this century, which was another surprise. It is also interesting that most of the songs have a rockier feel; do girls named Jenny inspire rock in songwriters?
How could I not like this list!
I remember singing the songs Jennifer Juniper and Jennifer Eccles when I was growing up.
Mack the Knife also references a Jenny Diver - but of course Jenny is not the title of the song.