Skip to main content

The Best Musical References in ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’

Music is good for the soul, right?

kira and killer queen dealing with shigechi in JJBA pt. 4

When discussing JJBA (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure) it’s hard not to think about the impressive musical references. Araki has a very visible love for music, given all the notable musical references. Some of them are so blatant that you can’t help but chuckle (in an endearing way of course). It inspires moments that’ll make someone who also loves all sorts of genres go, “I know what that’s referencing!” Of course, that’s not the sole reason any of us are fans of this very bizarre anime. But it’s fun when a lot of love is put into even the smallest of references.

Given there are so many parts (the anime isn’t close to being caught up to adapting the manga), I’m focusing on just the anime. Since Part 6 has experienced a wonky release by Netflix (don’t get me started on that), I’m only including references to a certain point. Other than that, let’s get into this!

Phantom Blood references

jonathan holding dio's head in JJBA pt. 1
(Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Viz Media)

Without Phantom Blood, we wouldn’t have anything. So no, you can’t skip Phantom Blood or Battle Tendency simply because there are no Stands. You’ll miss a lot of important details surrounding the story, characters, and also prime musical references.

Best musical references:

  • Dio Brando (Namesake: Dio, a former American heavy rock band)
  • Will A. Zeppeli (Namesake: Led Zeppelin)
  • Straizo (Namesake: Dire Straits)
  • Speedwagon (Namesake: R.E.O Speedwagon)

Battle Tendency references

joseph x caesar in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency
(Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Viz Media)

Battle Tendency introduced us to Joseph Joestar (dub voice by Ben Diskin), who appeared in multiple parts beyond his own. Part 2 is certainly recognized as very good, and who could forget the iconic musical references throughout?

Best musical references:

  • Esidisi (Namesake: ACDC)
  • Kars (Namesake: The Cars)
  • Smokey Brown (Namesake: Smokey Robinson and James Brown)
  • Santana (Namesake: Carlos Santana)

Stardust Crusaders references

group photo in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

This is where Stands make their introduction into the series. And even though that’s exciting, I’ll repeat that it’s no reason to skip to part 3. Once you reach this part though, you’re in for a fucking ride. It’s a very emotional journey (which may seem surprising at first) and this part was very inspired by the time it’s occurring in. Remember the beefcakes of the ’80s? Most of the male characters very much follow that trend. I must mention that Stardust Crusaders doesn’t have an overabundance of musical references. An interesting note by way of JoJo Wiki says:

In Stardust Crusaders, most of the first Stands introduced are named after the Major Arcana of the Tarot (early on, also modified by a color or metal name). Rider-Waite-Smith numbering is also used (the Justice card visual manifestation features the number eleven). Later on, the remaining Stands excluding The WorldCream, and Tenore Sax are named after Egyptian deities.

Best musical references:

  • Mohammad Avdol (Namesake: Paula Abdul)
  • Iggy (Namesake: Iggy Pop)
  • Hol Horse (Namesake: Hall & Oates)
  • Impostor Captain Tenille (Namesake: Captain & Tennille)
  • Senator Phillips (Namesake: Wilson Phillips)

Diamond is Unbreakable references

josuyasu in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
(Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Viz Media)

The late ’90s was a rough time for the town of Morioh. Josuke (dub voice by Billy Kametz), in particular, was dealing with the sudden appearances of family members (including his dad, Joseph Joestar), a serial killer, other Stand users trying to kill him and his crew, and all sorts of other issues. Diamond is Unbreakable is also known for its slice-of-life nature. Which makes it such a treat to watch (it’s also one of my personal favorites).

Best musical references:

  • Rohan’s Stand: Heaven’s Door (Namesake: “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan)
  • Kira’s Stand: Deadly Queen/Killer Queen (Namesake: “Killer Queen” by Queen)
  • Mikitaka’s Stand: Earth Wind and Fire (Namesake: Earth, Wind & Fire)
  • Tonio’s Stand: Pole Jam/Pearl Jam (Namesake: Pearl Jam)
  • Yukako’s Stand: Love Deluxe (Namesake: “Love Deluxe” album by Sade)
  • Tama’s Stand/hybrid identity: Stray Cat (Namesake: Stray Cats)
  • Killer Queen’s Bomb: Bite the Dust/Bites the Dust (Namesake: “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen)
  • Killer Queen’s 2nd Bomb: Heart Attack/ Sheer Heart Attack (Namesake: “Sheer Heart Attack” album by Queen)

Golden Wind references

team bucci and trish posing in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
(Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Viz Media)

Golden Wind is also a personal favorite part of mine. There’s so much to love about it, including Giorno (dub voice by Phillip Reich), who is the biological son of both Jonathan Joestar (dub voice by Johnny Yong Bosch) and Dio Brando (dub voice by Patrick Seitz). Overall the part is great and has a lot of emotional beats combined with intense action and gorgeous scenery. I could go on and on about part 5, but that’s not the point of this. Rather, I’ll say flat out that every musical reference in this part is great. So I won’t list them off like the others. You can find them all here.

Stone Ocean (Part 1) references

FF, jolyne, & hermes in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean opening

Netflix has fumbled quite a bit with the release of Stone Ocean. Considering it’s one of the most beloved parts in the series, it’s a bit of a shame that the release has been a bit of a mess. Otherwise, it’s a great adaptation and it’s a delight to be experiencing it in real-time. Especially when Jolyne (dub voice by Kira Buckland) is the first female JoJo and that definitely means something. And this part (which was mostly spoiled to me before) is quite the journey. But since there’s only so much that’s been adapted, I’m only listing off Stone Ocean part one references.

Best musical references:

  • Jolyne’s Stand: Stone Free/Stone Ocean (Namesake: “Stone Free” by Jimi Hendrix)
  • Ermes Stand: Kiss/Smack (Namesake: Kiss)
  • FF (Namesake: Foo Fighters)
  • Emporio’s Stand: Burn Down the House/Burning Down the House (Namesake: “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads)
  • Savage Guardian/Savage Garden (Namesake: Savage Graden)
  • Gwess’s Stand: Cry Cry Dolls/Goo Goo Dolls (Namesake: Goo Goo Dolls)
  • Thunder McQueen’s Stand: Freeway Thru Hell/Highway to Hell (Namesake: “Highway to Hell” by ACDC)
  • Pucci’s Stand: Pale Snake/White Snake (Namesake: Whitesnake)

(featured image: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Viz Media)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a queer Blerd and contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She first started writing for digital magazines in 2018 and her articles have appeared in Pink Advocate (defunct), The Gay Gaze (defunct), Dread Central and more. She primarily writes about movies, TV, and anime. Efforts to make her stop loving complex/villainous characters or horror as a genre will be futile.