Johnny Too Bad
The Slickers Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Walking down the road
With your pistol in your waist
Johnny you're too bad (oh boy)
Walking down the road
With your ratchet in your waist
Johnny you're too bad (oh boy)

You're just robbing and you're stabbing and you're looting and you're shooting
Now you're too bad (too bad)
You're just robbing and you're stabbing and you're looting and you're shooting
Now you're too bad (too bad)

One of these days when you hear a voice say come
Where you gonna run to (oh boy)
One of these days when you hear a voice say come
Where you gonna run to (oh boy)

You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
There will be no rock
You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
There will be no rock

Walking down the road
With your pistol in your waist
Johnny you're too bad (oh boy)
Walking down the road
With your ratchet in your waist
Johnny you're too bad (oh boy)

You're just robbing and you're stabbing and you're looting and you're shooting
Boy you're too bad (too bad)
You're just robbing and you're stabbing and you're looting and you're shooting
Boy you're too bad (too bad)

One of these days when you hear a voice say come
Where you gonna run to (oh boy)
One of these days when you hear a voice say come
Where you gonna run to (oh boy)

You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
There will be no rock
You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
There will be no rock (no rock)




You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
There will be no rock (no rock)

Overall Meaning

The Slickers' "Johnny Too Bad" is a commanding commentary on the turbulent social and political climate of 1970s Jamaica. The song centers around an outlaw named Johnny, who is causing chaos and destruction on the streets of Jamaica, robbing, stabbing, looting, and shooting at will. The song warns Johnny, who is too bad, that one day he will have to face the consequences of his actions and there will be nowhere left for him to run.


The lyrics suggest that there will be a time when Johnny Too Bad will hear a voice to come, and he will have no place left to run. The chorus emphasizes that there will be no rock, and that he will have no refuge or escape from his fate. The metaphor of "running to the rock" for rescue is significant in the context of Jamaican culture and history, where the rock symbolizes the strong foundation, stability, and protection of the Rastafarian faith. However, the song suggests that even the rock will not be a haven for Johnny, as he has lived his life outside of the law and will ultimately suffer the consequences of his actions.


The lyrics of "Johnny Too Bad" can be interpreted as a social criticism of the endemic violence and chaos in Jamaica at the time, as well as a call to accountability and responsibility for one's actions. The song's powerful message has made it a classic in Jamaican music history, and it has been covered by many artists over the years, including The Clash, UB40, and Jimmy Cliff.


Line by Line Meaning

Walking down the road
Johnny is casually walking along the road


With your pistol in your waist
He is carrying a gun in his waistband


Johnny you're too bad (oh boy)
This phrase indicates that Johnny is notorious for being a troublemaker


You're just robbing and you're stabbing and you're looting and you're shooting
Johnny is committing various crimes such as robbery, assault, theft, and murder


Now you're too bad (too bad)
Johnny has reached a point where his actions have become intolerable


One of these days when you hear a voice say come
Johnny will one day be called to account for his actions


Where you gonna run to (oh boy)
Johnny will have nowhere to run when he faces the consequences


You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
Johnny will try to find safety by seeking refuge


There will be no rock
Unfortunately, Johnny will not find safety or refuge from the consequences of his actions


Boy you're too bad (too bad)
This is another indication that Johnny has become infamous for his behavior


You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
Again, Johnny will try to find safety by seeking refuge


There will be no rock (no rock)
This reiteration emphasizes that Johnny will not find safety or refuge from the consequences of his actions


You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
Johnny's desperation for safety is emphasized


There will be no rock (no rock)
This final line reiterates that Johnny will not find safety or refuge from his actions




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, Peermusic Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: DERRICK CROOKS, HYLTON BECKFORD, TREVOR WILSON, WINSTON BAILEY

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found
Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@tengri6287

Walking down the road
With your pistol in your waist,
Johnny you're too bad.
Walking down the road
With your ratchet in your waist,
Johnny you're too bad.
You're just robbing and you're stabbing and you're looting and you're shooting
Now you're too bad.
You're just robbing and you're stabbing and you're looting and you're shooting
Now you're too bad.
One of these days when you hear a voice say come
Where you gonna run to
One of these days when you hear a voice say come
Where you gonna run to
You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
There will be no rock
You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
There will be no rock
{organ solo}
Walking down the road
With your pistol in your waist,
Johnny you're too bad.
Walking down the road
With your ratchet in your waist,
Johnny you're too bad.
You're just robbing and you're stabbing and you're looting and you're shooting
Now you're too bad.
You're just robbing and you're stabbing and you're looting and you're shooting
Now you're too bad.
One of these days when you hear a voice say come
Where you gonna run to
One of these days when you hear a voice say come
Where you gonna run to
You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
There will be no rock
You're gonna run to the rock for rescue
There will be no rock...



All comments from YouTube:

@LN031

Road House 2024 brought me here

@kendanzan8088

same. I hope Natalie Bergman (the girl who was performing it in the movie) releases a cover version of it. sounded so beautiful

@cuttablegold5

@@kendanzan8088 Same here. I'm crossing my fingers for it. Her voice is so soothing.

@karnauld4512

me too

@kemarhinds6874

Like wise😂

@loyle5451

although movie was not good to me but yes me too 🙌

33 More Replies...

@DudefromEvanston

Everyone should be able to hear this song, this is true reggae, doesn't get much better than this!

@shannono8397

since a kid...this has been my favorite song, its soooo good, yes!!

@crazymedwegian

How is it possible that such a small country has given the world so much great music?

@sirpercivalsmallcock-jones9585

***** No need for the correction. An island can be a country. There are many island nations on this globe.

More Comments

More Versions