The greatest music hits over the years have involved romance, adventure, and heartbreak. Where would they be without addressing the boys that inspired them?
From thought-provoking to outright provocative, many artists have told stories about all manner of boys they’ve met as well as personal stories from their lives. Here are some of the greatest songs with ‘boy’ in the title.
1. Boys of Summer by Don Henley
Song year: 1984
We’re kicking off the list with a classic hit by Don Henley, Boys of Summer.
This reminiscent tune revolves around looking back at what you used to have in a past relationship. Boys of Summer tells the story of Henley’s lost summer love—they’ve all moved on to other seasons while Henley is hanging onto the memories.
This song was a big accomplishment for Henley, earning MTV Video of the Year after its release and topping the charts at #5 in 1985.
2. If I Were a Boy by Beyonce
Song year: 2008
If I Were a Boy by Beyonce is a powerful anthem about giving her significant other a taste of his own medicine. She wonders how he would feel if the roles were reversed and she did the things he did on a daily basis.
In this song, Beyonce hopes that her partner will become a better man by putting himself in her shoes. It was nominated for Video of the Year at the 2009 BET Awards and for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
3. The Boy Is Mine by Brandy and Monica
Song year: 1998
This is yet another powerful female song involving relationships and boy drama. In this song, Brandy and Monica are feuding with another woman over a mutual love interest.
The lyrics speak of jealousy and lust, and they are telling the other woman to back off and stop playing games.
The Boy is Mine was nominated twice for the 1998 VMAs, once for Video of the Year and another time for Best R&B Video. It was also nominated for the 1998 Soul Train Awards as the Best R&B/Soul or Rap Music Video.
4. Dear Boy by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney
Song year: 1971
Released in May 1971, Dear Boy is an ode to a man that doesn’t know what he has and doesn’t realize how lucky he is to have his partner.
There have been several theories about what McCartney wrote this song about.
John Lennon theorized that McCartney wrote the song about him, but McCartney cleared up the speculation in an interview. According to Paul McCartney, Dear Boy was an autobiographical piece with commentary on Linda McCartney’s ex-husband, Joseph.
5. American Boy by Estelle featuring Kanye West
Song year: 2008
This lighthearted tune sings of romance from across the world. Estelle speaks of how she longs for the glamour of New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. She wants to explore all of those wonders with her new American lover.
In American Boy, Estelle describes fancy clothes, glamorous cafes, and her 5-foot-7 love interest.
This was Estelle’s breakout debut and earned her several awards and nominations. She received a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. It was also nominated for four different awards at the 2008 MTV VMAs, including Best Video.
6. Boys Are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy
Song year: 1976
Their notorious tune from the album Jailbreak, The Boys Are Back in Town, tells the story of Phil Lynott’s roots and reflects the groups’ partying lifestyle. Thin Lizzy, led by Lynott, drank heavily and stirred up trouble.
There is also speculation among England natives that the song references a Manchester street gang. This was the hit that allowed the group to gain fame beyond their homeland of the UK.
This song has also become infamous in America, being featured in several commercials, television shows, and movies over the years.
7. The Little Drummer Boy by Babyface (Covered by Several Artists)
Song year: 1998
Babyface is one of several artists and groups that have covered this classic ballad. The Little Drummer Boy is a popular song for Christmastime and has religious connotations. It is believed to reference the story of the Nativity.
8. Rude Boy by Rihanna
Song year: 2009
This promiscuous tune is one of many of Rihanna’s bold hits. According to Rihanna, it's about the “bad boy,” rebel type of man, and the danger that comes with him that many women are attracted to.
The song tells a story of lust and the experience that Rihanna wants to have with the bad boy love interest.
Rude Boy was nominated for the 2010 iHeartRAdio Much Music Video Award for International Video of the Year and for Best Editing at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.
9. The Boys of Fall by Kenny Chesney
Song year: 2010
This feel-good, reminiscent song captures the story of a proud, small-town football star. This song was, according to Chesney, specifically written about high school football. His inspiration was his hometown, its values, and his own experience as a high school football player.
It is a prideful song that captures the feeling of loving a sport. Chesney was hopeful that his fans would relate to him with this song.
Boys of Fall topped the Billboard Hot 100 Country Songs chart at number one in October 2010. It was Chesney’s 18th number one hit.
10. Boys by Britney Spears featuring Pharrell Williams
Song year: 2002
Apparently, this sassy hit was Spears’ favorite song on her third album.
Boys is a sexual and bold tune where Spears is urging her brown-eyed love interest to make the first move. The scene seems to be set in a club and references a dance floor several times.
This promiscuous hit gained more fame when it was featured in the Austin Powers Goldmember movie. It was nominated in 2003 for Best Video from a Film at the MTV Video Music Awards.
11. Boys ‘Round Here by Blake Shelton featuring Pistol Annies & Friends
Song year: 2013
Boys ‘Round Here by Blake Shelton is a proud country boy anthem. In this lighthearted song, Shelton sings of cowboy boots, honky-tonks, and hard work. It is upbeat and doesn’t have a deep storyline.
It tells the story of what a country boy is all about: ice-cold beer, God, girls, and chewing tobacco. Boys’ Round here was nominated for Vocal Event of the Year at the 2014 ACM Awards.
12. A Boy Named Sue by Johnny Cash
Song year: 1969
This song has an interesting backstory because Cash didn’t write it—it is a creation of Shel Silverstein, a well-renowned children’s poetry author.
The story behind A Boy Named Sue is a sad one. The scene is set when a little boy’s alcoholic, deadbeat father, left him, and the only thing he had ever given to him was his name: Sue.
The lyrics tell the story of his ridicule and how he’s had to fight through most of his life. His bullying hardened him as he became an adult. One day, he encountered his dad at a saloon, and the two had an altercation. His father eventually explained that he gave his son that name and left him to toughen him up to face the world.
Cash isn’t the only music artist that has recorded one of Silverstein’s songs. Country stars like Blake Shelton and Willie Nelson have done the same.
13. She’s In Love With the Boy by Trisha Yearwood
Song Year: 1991
This song tells the story of young, unapologetic, and unconditional love. The main character in the song is a young girl from a small town named Katie. She is in love with a boy named Tommy, despite her father’s clear disapproval.
She’s In Love with the Boy describes their experiences together. Katie and Tommy’s love perseveres through criticism from Katie’s father and financial stability.
14. Lost Boy by Ruth B
Song Year: 2015
In Lost Boy, the lyrics are parallel to the story of Peter Pan. It describes loneliness and the feeling of not belonging but eventually being found.
Ruth B thanks a metaphorical Peter Pan, helping her escape reality and cure her loneliness. She references Lost Boys, Neverland, Captain Hook, and other characters from the story of Peter Pan.
This was Ruth B’s first song, and she wanted to make sure that it had a message that people could take away from it.
15. Let’s Hear It for the Boy by Deniece Williams
Song year: 1984
Let’s Hear It for the Boy is a classic story of a lovestruck woman bragging about her significant other. Although he isn’t perfect, he is perfect to her. She wants everyone to see him how she does and wants him to be applauded.
He isn’t rich, but he is frugal with his money. He can’t sing, but he has a great time with her. He does everything perfectly in her eyes, and it makes her want to dance and cheer.
Let’s Hear It for the Boy was also the key feature on the Footloose soundtrack.
16. A BOY IS A GUN* by Tyler, The Creator featuring Solange
Song year: 2019
Tyler, The Creator is an eclectic music artist that gained popularity in the late 2010s. A BOY IS A GUN* was inspired by Kanye West’s Yeezus.
There is speculation that Tyler may be nodding to his potential bisexuality, comparing his lover with owning a gun throughout the song. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks and wants to be with his love interest at all times, just like a gun is to a gun owner.
17. Like a Boy by Ciara
Song year: 2007
Like a Boy is another woman-empowering anthem that talks about role reversals in relationships. What would a relationship be like if a man and a woman switched roles?
Throughout the song, Ciara references several tasks that are typically referenced in pop culture as things that only men do. This includes owning a secret phone, never returning phone calls, staying out late, and having women on the side.
She boldly asks if men could handle it if women gave them a taste of their own medicine by doing all of these things.
18. One of Those Boys by Lauren Alaina
Song year: 2011
One of Those Boys is a song about a woman daydreaming about the perfect man. He is a southern boy that loves fishing, gets her home before curfew, respects his mother, and goes to church every Sunday.
Alaina doesn’t care about a man being rich or driving a new vehicle; she just wants a simple man. She describes her type as a man that is the perfect balance of recklessness and respect.
19. Country Boy’s World by Jason Aldean
Song year: 2010
Country Boy’s World is the story of a southern boy that wants to show a suburban girl what his world is all about. While she wants Starbucks and Wifi, he wants to show her the beauty of peach-picking in Georgia and gazing at the stars.
Aldean asks his love interest to give his world a chance, and she eventually does and falls in love with it. The song ends with her riding shotgun in his truck and ready to take on his country reality.
Top Songs With ‘Boy' in the Title
Whether it’s a powerful anthem for women that are challenging them, or a proud fellow telling the story of his roots, there are many great songs with “boy” in the title. Ranging from old classics to new hits, songs about boys are often something many people can relate to and, as such, are a popular theme in music.