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Great live versions of «Bye bye Johnny» and «Johnny B. Good» by Chuck Berry in 1972 with Michael Snow on piano.

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Johnny B. Goode on Wikipedia
"Johnny B. Goode"
Chuck berry - johnny b goode - record label.jpg
Single by Chuck Berry
from the album Chuck Berry Is on Top
B-side"Around & Around"
ReleasedMarch 31, 1958
Format7" 45 RPM, 10" 78 RPM
RecordedJanuary 6, 1958, Chess Studios, Chicago, Illinois
GenreRock and roll
Writer(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s)Little "Bongo" Kraus
Chuck Berry singles chronology

"Johnny B. Goode" is a 1958 rock-and-roll song written and first recorded by Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit among both black and white audiences, peaking at number 2 on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and number 8 on its Hot 100 chart.[1]

"Johnny B. Goode" is considered one of the most recognizable songs in the history of popular music. Credited as "the first rock & roll hit about rock & roll stardom",[2] it has been recorded by many other artists and has received several honors and accolades. The song is also ranked seventh on Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[3]


  • 1 Composition and recording
    • 1.1 Personnel
  • 2 Charts
    • 2.1 Weekly charts
  • 3 Musical significance
  • 4 In popular culture
    • 4.1 Legacy
    • 4.2 Accolades
    • 4.3 Cover versions
    • 4.4 The Beatles' version
      • 4.4.1 Personnel
    • 4.5 Other songs
  • 5 References

Composition and recording

Written by Berry in 1955, the song is about an illiterate "country boy" from the New Orleans area, who plays a guitar "just like ringing a bell," and who might one day have his "name in lights."[4] Berry acknowledged that the song is partly autobiographical and that the original lyrics referred to Johnny as a "colored boy", but he changed it to "country boy" to ensure radio play.[5] As well as suggesting that the guitar player is good, the title hints at autobiographic elements, because Berry was born at 2520 Goode Avenue, in St. Louis.[4] The song was initially inspired by Johnnie Johnson, the regular piano player in Berry's band,[6][7] but developed into a song mainly about Berry himself. Johnson played on many other recordings by Berry, but Lafayette Leake played the piano on this song.[4]

The opening guitar riff of "Johnny B. Goode" is essentially a note-for-note copy of the opening single-note solo on Louis Jordan's "Ain't That Just Like a Woman" (1946), played by guitarist Carl Hogan.[8] Neither the guitar intro nor the solo are played at once. Berry played the introductory parts together with the rhythm guitar and later overdubbed the solo runs.[9]

Berry wrote four more songs involving the character Johnny B. Goode, "Bye Bye Johnny", "Go Go Go", "Johnny B. Blues" and "Lady B. Goode"; and titled an album, and the nearly 19-minute instrumental title track from it, as "Concerto in B. Goode".


  • Chuck Berry - vocals, guitars[4]
  • Lafayette Leake - piano[4]
  • Willie Dixon - bass[4]
  • Fred Below - drums[4]

Musical significance

In The Guardian, Joe Queenan wrote that "Johnny B. Goode" is "probably the first song ever written about how much money a musician could make by playing the guitar," and argued that "no song in the history of rock'n'roll more jubilantly celebrates the downmarket socioeconomic roots of the genre."[14] In Billboard, Jason Upshutz stated that the song was "the first rock-star origin story", and that it featured "a swagger and showmanship that had not yet invaded radio."[15]


A golden record

The use of Johnny B. Goode in the 1973 coming-of-age comedy-drama American Graffiti resurrected the song's popularity, as it was used in one of the main scenes of the film.[16]

Berry's recording of the song was included on NASA's Voyager Golden Record, attached to the Voyager spacecraft as representing rock and roll, one of four American songs included among many cultural achievements of humanity.

When Chuck Berry was inducted into the first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 23, 1986, he performed "Johnny B. Goode" and "Rock and Roll Music", backed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.[17] The Hall of Fame included these songs and "Maybellene" in their list of the 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll.[18] It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, for its influence as a rock and roll single.[19]

In the 1984 film Threads, the song is heard three times. The first time is when core characters Ruth Beckett and Jimmy Kemp discuss the future of their relationship before the outbreak of nuclear war, in his car overlooking Sheffield. The second time is when Jimmy is at a pub, drinking with his mate. The last time is fourteen years after the nuclear holocaust, as Ruth and Jimmy's daughter Jane, heavily pregnant, struggles to find a hospital in which to give birth. The song seems to be emanating from a nightclub, pub or brothel within the devastated post-apocalyptic town.

In the 1985 film Back to the Future, Marty McFly performs the song with the fictional band Marvin Berry and the Starlighters during the "Enchantment Under the Sea" high school dance, set in November 1955.[20] Mark Campbell (of Jack Mack and the Heart Attack fame) sang the vocals and Tim May played the guitar, with Michael J. Fox shown miming to both. During Marty's rendition of the song, Marvin telephones his cousin Chuck, who is insinuated to be Berry himself, to have him hear what might be the "new sound" Chuck is looking for. This scene was revisited in Back to the Future Part II (1989).

During his time in World Championship Wrestling, Marc Mero wrestled under the ring name Johnny B. Badd, an homage to the song.

This song plays whenever Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews, Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau, as well as Tampa Bay Lightning's Tyler Johnson score a goal.

Cover versions

"Johnny Be Good"
Johnny b.goode.jpg
Single by Judas Priest
from the album Ram It Down
B-side"Rock You All Around the World" (live)
Format7" 45 RPM, 12" maxi
GenreHeavy metal
Writer(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s)Tom Allom, Glenn Tipton, K. K. Downing, Rob Halford
Judas Priest singles chronology

The song has been recorded by a wide variety of artists in different genres.

Country musician Buck Owens's version of "Johnny B. Goode" topped Billboard magazine's Hot Country Sides chart in 1969.[21]

Jimi Hendrix had a posthumous hit with "Johnny B. Goode", which peaked at number 35 on the UK Singles Chart in 1972[22] and number 13 on the New Zealand Top 50 in 1986.[23]

Leif Garrett released a version of the song on his 1977 album, Leif Garrett.[24]

Peter Tosh's version of the song peaked at number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100,[25] number 48 on the UK Singles Chart,[26] number 10 in the Netherlands, and number 29 in New Zealand in 1983.[27]

Judas Priest's version reached number 64 on the UK Singles Chart in 1988.[22]

Bob Weir and the The Grateful Dead played the song 281 times in concert and released their version on multiple live albums.

Live Johnny Winter And covered "Johnny B. Goode" in this album released in 1971.<>

The Beatles' version

"Johnny B. Goode"
Song by The Beatles from the album Live at the BBC
ReleasedNovember 30, 1994 (UK)
December 5, 1994 (US)
RecordedJanuary 7, 1964, Playhouse Theatre, London, for the BBC radio show Saturday Club
Writer(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s)Bernie Andrews[28]

The Beatles recorded their version of the song on January 7, 1964 at the Playhouse Theatre in London for the BBC radio show Saturday Club. Chuck Berry was a favorite among the Beatles. They had previously and subsequently recorded versions of other songs by Berry, including "Roll Over Beethoven", released on the album With the Beatles in 1963, and "Rock and Roll Music", released on Beatles for Sale in 1964, and several others that subsequently were released on Live at the BBC.[28]


Adapted from The Beatles Bible[28]

  • John Lennon - vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Paul McCartney - bass
  • George Harrison - lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr - drums

Other songs

Leo Sayer included "The Last Gig of Johnny B. Goode", a song about a fallen rock star, on his 1975 album, Another Year.

This song is used in song "Афанасий" by Kozhaniy Olen'

Ed Sheeran references a lyric in his song Nina, claiming that he was able to "play a guitar just like ringing a bell".


  1. ^ "Charts & Awards: Chuck Berry – Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Rovi. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time: 7. Chuck Berry, 'Johnny B. Goode'". April 7, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time". Rolling Stone. April 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Taylor, Timothy D. (2000). "Chapter 7 – His Name Was in Lights: Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode'". In Middleton, Richard. Reading Pop: Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music. Oxford University Press. pp. 165–167, 177. ISBN 0-19-816611-7. 
  5. ^ "Johnny B. Goode : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on December 28, 2006. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Johnny Johnson". Blues Music Now. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  7. ^ Ratliff, Ben (April 14, 2005). "Johnnie Johnson, 80, Dies; Inspired 'Johnny B. Goode'". New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  8. ^ Miller, James (1999). Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947–1977. Simon & Schuster. p. 104. ISBN 0-684-80873-0.
  9. ^ Dietmar Rudolph. "Johnny B. Goode take 3 isn't - I mean take 3 - The Chuck Berry Collectors Blog". Retrieved August 29, 2016. 
  10. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  11. ^ "Charts & Awards: Chuck Berry – Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Rovi. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  12. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, May 31, 1958
  13. ^ "Chuck Berry – Chart history" Billboard Hot Rock Songs for Chuck Berry. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  14. ^ Queenan, Joe (June 21, 2007). "The story of Johnny B Goode". The Guardian. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  15. ^ Upshutz, Jason (March 18, 2017). "How Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode' Helped Define 'Back to the Future'". Billboard. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  16. ^ "The 50 greatest film soundtracks". The Guardian. March 18, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  17. ^ Barker, Derek (2009). Liner notes to Bruce Springsteen's Jukebox: The Songs that Inspired the Man [CD]. Chrome Dreams.
  18. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll by Artists (A-C)". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on May 24, 2007. 
  19. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame – Past Recipients (Letter J)". The Grammy Awards. United States: National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Chuck Berry Johnny B Goode". Blues Guitar Expert. February 26, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Charts & Awards: Buck Owens – Billboard Singles". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Johnny B. Goode - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 19, 2016. 
  23. ^ ""Johnny B. Goode" by Jimi Hendrix" (ASP). New Zealand Top 50 Singles. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Leif Garrett, Leif Garrett". Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Charts & Awards: Peter Tosh – Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Peter Tosh: Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 19, 2016. 
  27. ^ ""Johnny B. Goode" by Peter Tosh" (ASP). australian-charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 1, 2011. 
  28. ^ a b c "The Beatles Bible: Johnny B Goode". Retrieved May 21, 2016. 

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