Song Name: Come Back Jonee

Artist: DEVO

Appears On: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!, DEV-O Live (Re-release only), E-Z Listening Disc, Greatest Hits, DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years, DEVO Live: 1980, Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977

Year: 1977

Year Released: 1978

Years Performed: [1] [2] 1977-1980, 1982,  1989, 1996 (Irvine Meadows, Irvine, CA show only), 2002 (Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, CA show only), 2003, 2004 (Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, OR show only)[3], 2005, 2009 (Q/A shows only), 2012 (with Debbie Harry, The Chicago Theatre, Chicago, IL, show only) [4]

Run Time: 3:46 (album version)

Writing Credits: Gerald V. Casale/Mark Mothersbaugh

Sung By: Mark Mothersbaugh (lead), Gerald Casale, Bob Mothersbaugh, Bob Casale (backing vocals)

Shorter Version: Single Edit Version

Alternate Versions: E-Z Listening Version

Demo Versions: None known

Song Connections: DEVO Has Feelings Too (JFK reference)

Trivia / Info:[edit | edit source]

  • The song is about John F. Kennedy, using the metaphor of a dead rock musician
  • Some music critics believed this song to be a cover of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" because of the lyric "jonee be good, treat her like you should" and the guitar licks played by Bob1
  • The name "Jonee" is pronounced "Johnny" and spelled "Johnnie" in a collage printed in the "Pioneers Who Got Scalped" CD booklet. [5]
  • The single edit / video version omits the lyrics "now she calls his name, jonee you're to blame — come back jonee!" The album version lyrics are printed on the back of the single sleeve [6]
  • J.F.K.'s 1963 assassination is referenced in the lyrics to "Devo Has Feelings Too"
  • The Rope Song's lyrics also include a guitar
  • Several seconds of "Come Back Jonee" (live 1978-11-10) are on the Flimsy Wrap flexi-disc
  • Debbie Harry sang it while appearing on SNL
  • In a 2002 performance sponsored by Nissan, Mark changed the (by then) anachronistic lyric from "jumped in his Datsun" to "jumped in his Nissan". [7] )

Onstage Behavior:

  • Very chaotic when performed live, and often features a large interaction with the audience

Lyrics: Transcription of album version lyrics. Unclear lyrics italicized.

well, come back jonee
gotta come back now, jonee
well, come back, jonee
jonee be good
treat her like you should
you made her cry
jonee, you're bad
you're gonna make her sad
jonee went to the pawnshop
bought himself a guitar
now he's gonna go far
you gotta love 'em and leave 'em
sometimes you deceive 'em
you made her cry
jonee, you're bad
you're gonna make her sad
eyes full of teardrops
jonee jumped in his Datsun
drove out on the expressway
went head-on into a semi
his guitar's all that's left now
he made her cry
now she calls his name
jonee you're to blame
come back jonee!
well come back jonee
you gotta come back now, jonee, jonee, jonee
well come back jonee
oh, jonee be good
treat her like you should
you made her cry
jonee you're bad
you're gonna make her sad
come back jonee!
well, come back jonee (jonee, jonee)
jonee, jonee, jonee
(jonee, jonee)
you gotta come back now, jonee (jonee, jonee)
well, jonee be good (jonee, jonee)
treat her like you should (jonee, jonee)
you made her cry (jonee jonee)
well, jonee you're bad (jonee jonee)
you're gonna make her sad (jonee jonee)
(jonee jonee)
(jonee jonee)
(jonee jonee)
(jonee jonee)
(jonee jonee)
(jonee jonee)

Video:[edit | edit source]

Appears on The Men Who Make the Music, The Complete Truth About De-Evolution
Spazz Attack appears in the audience, though he is not featured as he was in Satisfaction or Peek-A-Boo!

Live Video:

"Come Back Jonee" appears on DEVO Live 1980, Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun


  1. DEVO Live Guide. Website keyword search for "come back jonee".
  2. Sep. 26 2012 DEVO Setlist. CBJ also performed 9/26/2012.
  3. Youtube. DEVO - Come Back Jonee - Nike Run Hit Wonder. uploaded by trentj.
  4. Youtube. Devo with Blondie Singing "Come Back Jonee." uploaded by Brian Ronningen.
  5. Skate and Annoy (2002). "Pioneers Who Got Scalped" compilation review by Kilwag (editor). image: JFK head/damaged football collage.
  6. Discogs image. "Come Back Jonee - Virgin single - back sleeve"
  7. Wikipedia. "Datsun in the American market". The Nissan Motor Company originally sold all their cars under the acquired "Datsun" brand name.

Further Reading:

Blog: 2 or 3 lines (and so much more)  Friday, August 24, 2012   Devo -- "Come Back Jonee" (1978)

External Links:

"Come Back Jonee" (master list) - Discogs
"Come Back Jonee" (tracks) - 45cat
"Come Back Jonee" (single) - MusicBrainz
"Come Back Jonee" (overview) - AllMusic
Mark Mothersbaugh | Gerry Casale | Bob Mothersbaugh
Bob Lewis | Bob Casale | Jim Mothersbaugh | Alan Myers
David Kendrick | Josh Freese
Jeff Friedl | Josh Hager
Record Labels / Publishers
Booji Boy Records | Warner Brothers | Enigma | Devo, Inc. 
Stiff | Virgin | Rykodisk | Infinite Zero | Restless | Discovery | Rhino 
MVD Audio | The Orchard | Superior Viaduct | Futurismo
Brian Eno | Ken Scott | Robert Margouleff | Roy Thomas Baker | DEVO 
The Teddybears | Greg Kurstin | Santi White | John King | John Hill | Mark Nishita 
Official Studio Albums
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) | Duty Now For The Future (1979) | Freedom of Choice (1980) | New Traditionalists (1981) | oh, no! it's DEVO (1982) | Shout (1984) | Total DEVO (1988) | SmoothNoodleMaps (1990) | Something for Everybody   (2010)
Other Albums
Be Stiff EP (1977) | E-Z Listening Disc (1987) | Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace (1989) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1 74-77 (1990) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 2 1974-1977 (1991) | DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years (1992) | DEV-O Live (1999) | Recombo DNA (2000) | Live In Central Park (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (2012) | Something ELSE for Everybody  (2013) | Miracle Witness Hour  (2014) | Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977  (2014) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
The Men Who Make The Music (1981) | Human Highway (1982) | We're All DEVO (1984) | The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (1993) | DEVO Live (2004) | DEVO Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Related Articles
History | Bootlegs | Booji Boy | Devolution | Influence | The Wipeouters | Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers | Devo 2.0 | Akron, Ohio | Music Videos | Versions | Outfits
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