‘The Donna Reed’ Star Shelley Fabares Also Had Two Hit Singles

by Amanda Glover

In the 1960s, many young women would’ve desperately wanted to be in Shelley Fabares’s shoes. She was a successful singer with two hit singles. Those songs were titled “Johnny Angel” and “Johnny Loved Me.” She also sang a song titled “Johnny Get Angry.” We think Fabares might’ve had a thing for someone named, Johnny.

The pretty young woman won the role of Mary on The Donna Reed show. She stared in three movies with the great Elvis Presley. Alongside Presley, she stared in Girl HappySpinout, and Clambake. In the late 70s and early 80s, she played Francine on One Day at a Time.

In the 1990s, she played Christine on Coach. This role earned her a nomination for two Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Her other roles included The PracticeMork & Mindy, and Superman: The Animated Series.

Although her career changed a bit since her younger years, she hasn’t forgotten how to look her best. The former actress has been rocking pink, orange, and blonde hair. We think she would agree that life’s too short to have boring hair!

At 77-years-old, Fabares hasn’t done much acting. We haven’t seen the former actress on the screen since 2006. But, we can never forget her Johnny-inspired songs.

Shelley Fabares and The Tale of Johnny

Johnny Angel” was written and released in 1962. The song tells the story of a young woman who has a crush on a boy named Johnny. Unfortunately, Johnny had no clue the woman exists. Due to her love for Johnny, she turns down every other boy who tries to gain her affection. Fabares sang the hit in an episode of The Donna Reed Show.

Songwriting partners, Lyn Duddy and Lee Pockriss wrote the song while in Duddy’s home during a blackout. Looks like creative minds sometimes work best when there is nothing to do. Pockriss was the one to decide the song title.

Apparently, the name of the boy has no real meaning. “I just picked that name out of thin air. It didn’t mean anything.” So, turns out there was no real-life boy in Fabares’s life named Johnny who she was madly in love with. Kind of a disappointment.

“I had always wanted to write a soliloquy – a song written from the point of view of someone who waited on the corner every night for someone to pass by,” Duddy expressed to Billboard. This was the last song the duo worked on together.

“Johnny Loves Me” was the sequel to Fabares’s first hit. This song tells the story of how the young woman can win Johnny’s heart. Yes, sometimes that happens. These songs likely told many young women’s stories of wanting to be with their crush so badly.