Johnny Run Away

"Johnny Run Away" is the debut single by Australian singer Tones and I, released on 1 March 2019 as the lead single from Tones and I's debut EP The Kids Are Coming. The song was recorded with Konstantin Kersting and has peaked at number 12 on the ARIA Singles Chart. Upon release, Tones and I said "'Johnny Run Away' is about my best friend coming out to his disapproving father at a young age. The song shows how people are dealing with judgement and rejection within their own family, as well as the world."[2]

"Johnny Run Away"
Johnny Run Away by Tones and I.jpg
Single by Tones and I
from the EP The Kids Are Coming
Released1 March 2019 (2019-03-01)
LabelBad Batch/Elektra Records[1]
Tones and I singles chronology
"Johnny Run Away"
"Dance Monkey"
Music video
"Johnny Run Away" on YouTube

Background and releaseEdit

In May 2020 Tones and I explained to Poppy Reid of Rolling Stone (Australia), how she had met Kurt in 2012 and eventually they lived together, "One night at their home, [he] opened up to Tones in the way only someone who knows their heart is safe can do. He told her of his coming out journey and how it had almost broken him."[3]

"Johnny Run Away" became her first song writing effort.[3] Kurt reminisced, "I've had people come up to me and say they've gone through similar things and it's really helped them. I wish there was something like that ten years ago for me."[3]

The song was uploaded onto Triple J Unearthed on 15 February 2019[4] and within 12 hours, received airplay on Triple J.[5] The song was officially released for download and streaming on 1 March 2019.

Critical receptionEdit

Natalie O'Drisscol from Blank GC described the song as "a melodic slice of Nordic-inspired electro-pop that tells a very important story."[6] Declan Byrne from Triple J said the song "is a bouncy, beautifully crafted, catchy af pop jam and Tones' striking voice will grab you straight away."[5]

Music videoEdit

The music video was directed by Luke Dunning and released on 28 February 2019.[7]


Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (2019) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[8] 12
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 83

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2019) Position
Australia (ARIA)[10] 32


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[11] 2× Platinum 140,000 

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format(s) Label
Australia[12] 1 March 2019 Bad Batch


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Tones And I - Johnny Run Away". AIRIT. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Reid, Poppy (May 2020). "Tones and I". Rolling Stone (001): 28–35. ISSN 2652-5194.
  4. ^ "Indie Tones And I". Triple J Unearthed. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Meet Tones And I, the busker with the bop that got Unearthed buzzing". ABC. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Tones and I release new single Johnny Run Away and it's going Gangbusters". Blank GC. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  7. ^ "TONES AND I – JOHNNY RUN AWAY (OFFICIAL VIDEO)". YouTube. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  8. ^ " – Tones and I – Johnny Run Away". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  9. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  10. ^ "ARIA End of Year Singles Chart 2019". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  11. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 23 September 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Johnny Run Away – Single". iTunes. Retrieved 6 April 2019.