It’s with joyous aplomb that we present this jam-packed, jaw-dropping, and jazzy list of tracks. Our job is to provide you with a jubilant joyride through the music world, which is exactly what we’ll be doing with this justifiably jolly list. In this article, we’ll go over 31 songs that start with the letter J, just like almost all of the adjectives in this introduction.
1. Jack & Diane – John Mellencamp
Not only was Jack & Diane John Mellencamp’s biggest hit, but it also became an iconic piece of classic American culture. A ballad describing a young couple, it resonated with millions despite how difficult it was to record. It would go on to rise to the number three position on the Mainstream Rock chart and the top spot of both the Hot 100 and Cash Box charts. Artists in the decades since the release of the track have sampled it, referenced it, and paid homage to this legendary song.
2. Jack Sparrow – The Lonely Island Feat. Michael Bolton
To get this out of the way, The Lonely Island isn’t a band, it’s a comedy troupe working mainly for SNL. That being said, some of the songs they did for the show wound up being big hits commercially. Jack Sparrow starts out with the group venturing into hip hop, rapping about going to the club and taking home women. It gets ‘ruined’ by Michael Bolton, who shows up and starts popping off verses about the Disney film franchise Pirates Of The Caribbean.
3. Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
We started with an iconic song, and we’re dipping back into that pool for this one. Elvis Presley produced Jailhouse Rock for his movie of the same name and released it as a single in 1954. A classic piece of media, it’s been included in the Grammy Hall of Fame and the American Film Institute, but it was a hit during its time as well. The track would top the charts in 11 countries—including the US—and would become one of the songs that shaped rock and roll as a genre.
4. Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction
Jane Says was Jane’s Addiction’s most important song and a very good one at that. It became the first track the band charted, serving as a promotional single for their 1987 debut album. It’s often the song they choose to end their concerts with and is widely regarded as both their best and most famous track, inspired by the wife of their lead singer and the abusive relationship she had gotten out of in her past.
5. Jars – Chevelle
Chevelle’s Jars rocks, and I’ve been listening to it since it came out in 2009. But, thanks to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the song, a lot of people don’t know what it’s actually talking about and think it’s a bit nonsensical. The whole point of the track is to discuss saving the planet, and though it would be impossible to actually put it in a jar to save for later, the metaphor is still a quirky way to talk about the themes the song wants to.
6. Jeepers Creepers – Louis Armstrong
We’re going way back for this one. Louis Armstrong debuted this song in the 1938 film Going Places and would eventually earn an Oscar nomination for his performance. It’s one pretty much everyone has heard by now, though younger generations might have missed out on it. The track is catchy, mainly because of the final verse that sees him going through several different words for your eyes that all rhyme with the title of the song.
7. Jekyll And Hyde – Five Finger Death Punch
The lead single from Five Finger Death Punch’s sixth album in 2015 absolutely rocks. Jekyll And Hyde started out as a voicemail between two of the band members, with the receiver taking it and building a song out of it. The track eventually wound up becoming a big hit for the band, just missing out on The top 10 of the Hot Rock and Alternative Songs chart and breaking the top 20 of the US Rock Airplay one.
8. Jenny From The Block – Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez has several hit songs to her name, but Jenny From The Block is the most famous one. Aspiring to stay true to her roots and remember where she came from despite her massive achievements, this was the track she came up with as a tribute to the Brooklyn streets she grew up on. It was divisive among critics, with some calling it silly and others calling it brilliant. Audiences had no such qualms, pushing the song to number three on the Hot 100 and turning the track into an international hit.
9. Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
Jessie’s Girl has a rightful place in any list of the best songs to come out during the 80s, but you’ll likely never hear a track with more pent-up jealousy than this one. Rick Springfield said it was based on his true feelings about a woman in a stained glass class he took, but he swapped out a lot of names. While it’s known as a big hit today, it was slow to catch on. It spent 19 weeks on the Hot 100 before reaching the number-one position and becoming his only number-one hit.
10. Jesus – Queen
It might seem odd for Freddie Mercury to be writing songs about Christianity, but artists often find inspiration in places you would never be able to guess. Jesus is one of the oft-overlooked tracks to come out on Queen’s debut album and displayed both the artistry and complexity that permeates a lot of the band’s music. The song itself tells several stories of Jesus’ life from the bible, an odd choice for the band, but a great track nonetheless.
11. Jesus and Jones – Trace Adkins
After 14 albums, you might think Trace Adkins was about ready to tap out. That couldn’t have been farther from the case, with Jesus And Jones serving as the lead single for his 15th album in 2016. The song details the conflicts in his life between trying to be like Jesus while also trying to be like George Jones in his career. While critics didn’t like the track too much, it charted reasonably well on country airplay trackers, nearly breaking into the top 40.
12. Jet Black Heart – 5 Seconds of Summer
The band 5 Seconds Of Summer released Jet Black Heart in 2015 as a single from their second studio album. Written by the same man who penned most of Evanescence’s songs, it runs out to be a heartfelt ballad that still retains the right to rock hard.
13. Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
Jingle Bell Rock is one of the most essential songs of the Christmas holiday and one of the most played tracks of the holiday season every single year. It’s one of the ones that branched off from the hymn-style songs that were typical of Christmas and carolers, straying over the rock and roll side of town. What we ended up with is an all-time classic that’s perfect to throw on and watch your kids dance around at Christmas.
14. John – Lil Wayne Feat. Rick Ross
What isn’t a good idea to throw on in front of the kids is Lil Wayne’s John. A hit single from Tha Carter IV, it uses the hook from Rick Ross’ song I’m Not A Star to create an epic rap flow that you should have in your playlists somewhere. It was a widely popular rap track, rising to number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 12 on the Hot Rao Songs chart. While the track would go double platinum, his performance of the song at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards was something special.
15. John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 – Keith Urban
From a song referencing John Lennon to a track that references all of the country Johns you can think of. Keith Urban released John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 as the first single from his 2016 album. It’s a bit of an ode to country music as a whole, playing on several of the themes that are ever-present in the genre, and it had a slow sort of 70s funk to it that helped it stand out. It would eventually break into the top 25 of the country song charts as well.
16. John Wayne – Lady Gaga
Another famous John enters the mix as Lady Gaga makes use of John Wayne. In this case, he gets used as a metaphor for a tough, blue-collar man and the way those kinds of men make her feel. While many have claimed the song was likely about a previous relationship she was in, the track feels more like an expression of desire for her type, as well as a love song dedicated to the smoking of the ganja.
17. Johnny And June – Heidi Newfield
Johnny Cash and June Carter were a legendary couple, never mind that he met her when he was still married and eventually left his wife for her. Their relationship was described as passionate, fiery, and instant. All things that would become an inspiration for artists to use in their own songs about the two. Heidi Newfield does just that with Johnny And June, dropping numerous references to his music in the track as she sings about wanting love as good as what the muses of the song had together.
18. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry might be one of the most important songs in the history of music. This track, alongside a couple of his other releases, laid the groundwork for the entire rock and roll genre. It’s enshrined in the National Registry and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, responsible for a lot of the music that came after it and that we have today.
In all honesty, there may not be a song with a more impactful legacy than this one, and it’s a classic that you should know about if you aren’t familiar with its storied history.
19. Join Together – The Who
The Who released Join Together as a non-album single in the summer of 1972 and found one of the signatures. The song would become a concert staple and appear on most of the compilation albums they would release going forward.
20. Jolene – Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton’s Jolene is heart wrenching and powerful. It may very well be one of her most famous songs, seeing her beg another woman not to take her man away from her, despite knowing that if she wanted to she could.
21. Joy To The World – Whitney Houston
We’re taking it back to Christmas songs this time, but throwing in an amazing vocalist for fun. Joy To The World is one of the most famous hymn-style Christmas tracks in history, celebrating the time of year when the Savior came down to earth. Whitney Houston, like many other artists, recorded Christmas songs for albums because it was popular. Her vocal talent on this track adds an extra layer of quality to it that you need to hear if you haven’t before.
22. Judas – Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga got really personal with the song Judas. The whole point of the track is that it’s from the perspective of a woman who is constantly betrayed by a man she loves. It was likely inspired by the events of her own relationships, and it gave fans something that was easy to relate to while still producing an amazing pop hit. It was a dance club number-one and a Top 10 on the Hot 100.
23. Juicy – The Notorious B.I.G.
We come now to what has been labeled one of the greatest songs in the history of hip hop. The Notorious B.I.G.’s Juicy is fun, playful, and lyrically brilliant. It’s a prime example of what the music world lost when he was taken from us far too soon and how different the world of hip hop could have been if he was around for as long as he should have been.
24. Juke Box Hero – Foreigner
Foreigner’s Juke Box Hero is a hard-rocking classic from their 1981 album 4. It focuses on the story of a boy who couldn’t afford a ticket to a rock concert, but after hearing one guitar from the outside, he goes to buy one for himself. After learning to play, he makes it big and stands atop the music charts.
25. Jump Around – House of Pain
From a rock classic to a hip hop one. House Of Pain’s Jump Around was the debut single from the group’s debut album in 1992, and it instantly became a hit. It wound up reaching number three in the US and a lot of publications have listed it among their lists of the greatest songs of all time.
26. Just Another Day In Paradise – Phil Vassar
Phil Vassar’s Just Another Day In Paradise is an adorable song. It describes a couple trying to manage life, from kids and the family to bills and stuff breaking around the house. It never lamented those things though, it celebrated them, enjoying all of the struggles that come with living a good life and providing Vassar with a country number one.
27. Just Give Me A Reason – P!nk Feat. Nate Ruess
Sometimes, relationships go bad, but you still want it to work out somehow despite not having any good reason to stay. P!nk’s Just Give Me A Reason is about just that, struggling to hold a relationship together even though it’s falling apart.
28. Just Got Started Lovin’ You – James Otto
James Otto released Just Got Started Lovin’ You in 2007 and immediately found solid success. The song took the country world by storm, rising to the top of the country charts and becoming a crossover hit by almost breaking into the top 25 of the Hot 100. The track is very sensual, thanks in large part to the baritone vocals provided by Otto and the sexy subject matter of the song.
29. Just Like You Like It – Backstreet Boys
Just Like You Like It was one of the Backstreet Boys‘ smoothest singles. It’s all about trying to make the vibe just right for a girl, from the volume of the music to how comfortable she is around them.
30. Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Just The Way You Are was the song that started it all for Bruno Mars. This sweet track about loving a girl exactly the way she is and never wanting anything to change was his debut single and would be the beginning of an incredible pop career for him.
31. Just Wanna Rock – Lil Uzi Vert
Just Wanna Rock came out in 2022 as part of Lil Uzi Vert’s yet-to-be-released mixtape. It’s everything you could ask for from the rapper, seeing him make one of the best Jersey club songs to come out in recent years.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.