Johnny B. Goode

"Johnny B. Goode" is a 1958 rock-and-roll song written and first recorded by Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit, peaking at number two on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B Sides chart and number eight 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]

"Johnny B. Goode"
Chuck berry - johnny b goode - record label
Single by Chuck Berry
from the album Chuck Berry Is on Top
B-side"Around and Around"
ReleasedMarch 31, 1958
RecordedJanuary 6, 1958
StudioChess, Chicago
GenreRock and roll
Songwriter(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s)Little "Bongo" Kraus
Chuck Berry singles chronology
"Sweet Little Sixteen"
"Johnny B. Goode"
"Beautiful Delilah"
Audio sample
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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] Berry, in accordance with his custom, first recorded the intro and rhythm guitar and later overdubbed the other 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".


Chart history

Weekly charts

Chart (1958) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 8
US Billboard Hot R&B Sides[11] 2
US Cash Box Top 100[12] 11
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[13] 9

Year-end charts

Chart (1958) Rank
US Billboard Hot 100 [14] 73


The Sounds of Earth - GPN-2000-001976
The Voyager Golden Record contains "Johnny B. Goode" among various musical pieces from many cultures.

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".[15] In Billboard, Jason Lipshutz 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."[16]

The song is used after Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames scores a goal at home games at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

When Chuck Berry was inducted during the first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony 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]

This song was featured in the 1985 time-travel film Back to the Future and in one of the main scenes of the 1973 coming-of-age comedy-drama American Graffiti.[20] The song is featured several times in the 1984 nuclear-war film Threads.


List Publisher Rank Year of publication
500 Greatest Songs of All Time Rolling Stone 7 2004
100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Q 42 2005
100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time Rolling Stone 1 2008
Top 3000 Songs Acclaimed Music 6 N/A
500 Songs That Shaped Rock Rock and Roll Hall of Fame N/A 1995
50 Greatest Guitar Solos Guitar World 12 2009

Cover versions

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

Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush recorded a version of the song on their 1978 live album.[21]

A 1962 recording by The Rolling Stones is available on YouTube.

The Beatles recorded a version of the song on January 7, 1964, at the Playhouse Theatre in London for the BBC radio show Saturday Club. The Beatles' version featured John Lennon on vocals and rhythm guitar, Paul McCartney on bass guitar, George Harrison on lead guitar, and Ringo Starr on drums.[22] Chuck Berry was a favorite of the band members. They 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, along with several others that subsequently were released on Live at the BBC.[22]

Country musician Buck Owens's version of "Johnny B. Goode" topped Billboard magazine's Hot Country Sides chart in 1969.[23]

Jimi Hendrix had a posthumous hit with "Johnny B. Goode", which peaked at number 35 on the UK Singles Chart in 1972[24] and number 13 on the New Zealand Top 50 in 1986.[25]

Leif Garrett released a version of the song on his 1977 album, Leif Garrett.[26]

Peter Tosh's version of the song peaked at number 84 on the Billboard Hot 100,[27] number 48 on the UK Singles Chart,[28] number 10 in the Netherlands, and number 29 in New Zealand in 1983.[29]

Judas Priest's version reached number 64 on the UK Singles Chart in 1988.[24]

Brazilian comedy rock band João Penca e Seus Miquinhos Amestrados made a Portuguese-language parody of the song, entitled "Johnny Pirou". It is present in their 1989 album Sucesso do Inconsciente.

John Denver recorded a version on his self-titled album.

Elvis Presley performed the song in many of his concert appearances from 1969-1973. Recorded live versions can be heard on two Elvis concert albums: Elvis in Person at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada from 1969 and Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite in 1973.

NOFX recorded a version on their 1987 EP The P.M.R.C. Can Suck on This.[30]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 42. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
  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 Taylor, Timothy D. (2000). "Chapter 7 – His Name Was in Lights: Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode'". In Middleton, Richard (ed.). 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. ^ Rudolph, Dietmar. "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 Singles 5/31/58".
  13. ^ "Chuck Berry Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  14. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1958/Top 100 Songs of 1958". Music Outfitters.
  15. ^ Queenan, Joe (June 21, 2007). "The story of Johnny B Goode". The Guardian. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
  16. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (March 18, 2017). "How Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode' Helped Define 'Back to the Future'". Billboard. Retrieved March 22, 2017.
  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. ^ "The 50 greatest film soundtracks". The Guardian. March 18, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b "The Beatles Bible: Johnny B Goode". Retrieved May 21, 2016.
  23. ^ "Charts & Awards: Buck Owens – Billboard Singles". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  24. ^ a b "Johnny B. Goode - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  25. ^ ""Johnny B. Goode" by Jimi Hendrix" (ASP). New Zealand Top 50 Singles. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  26. ^ "Leif Garrett, Leif Garrett". Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  27. ^ "Charts & Awards: Peter Tosh – Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  28. ^ "Peter Tosh: Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  29. ^ ""Johnny B. Goode" by Peter Tosh" (ASP). australian-charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  30. ^ "The P.M.R.C. Can Suck on This - NOFX - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
Ain't That Just Like a Woman (They'll Do It Every Time)

"Ain't That Just Like a Woman (They'll Do It Every Time)" is a 1946 song by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five. The song went to number one on the R&B Jukebox chart for two weeks and peaked at number seventeen on the pop chart. Chuck Berry, who acknowledged the influence of both Louis Jordan and Carl Hogan, copied the latter's guitar intro to the song for his 1958 classic "Johnny B. Goode".

Ann Druyan

Ann Druyan ( DREE-ann; born June 13, 1949) is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning American writer, producer, and director specializing in the communication of science. She co-wrote the 1980 PBS documentary series Cosmos, hosted by Carl Sagan, whom she married in 1981. She is the creator, producer, and writer of the 2014 sequel, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and its upcoming new season, Cosmos: Possible Worlds. She is credited with directing episodes of both series as well.

She was the Creative Director of NASA's Voyager Interstellar Message Project, the golden discs affixed to both the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft. Druyan's role on the project was discussed on the July 8, 2018 60 Minutes segment "The Little Spacecraft That Could." In the segment, Druyan explained her insistence Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" be included on the Golden Record, saying, "...Johnny B. Goode, rock and roll, was the music of motion, of moving, getting to someplace you've never been before, and the odds are against you, but you want to go. That was Voyager." The segment also discussed Sagan's suggestion, in 1990, that Voyager 1 turns its cameras back towards Earth to take a series of photographs showing the planets of our solar system. The shots, showing Earth from a distance of 3.7 million miles as a small point of bluish light, became the basis for Sagan's famous "Pale Blue Dot" passage, first published in Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. (1994)

Druyan and Sagan's working and resulting romantic relationship has been the subject of numerous treatments in popular culture, including the Radiolab episode "Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan's Ultimate Mix Tape" and a segment of the Comedy Central program Drunk History's episode, "Space." In 2015, it was announced Warner Brothers was in development on a drama about Sagan and Druyan's relationship, to be produced by producer Lynda Obst and Druyan.

The asteroids 2709 (Sagan) and 4970 (Druyan) are in perpetual wedding ring orbit around the Sun.

Around and Around

"Around and Around" is a 1958 rock song written and first recorded by Chuck Berry. It originally appeared under the name "Around & Around" as the B-side to the single "Johnny B. Goode".

Back to the Future (soundtrack)

Back to the Future: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack album to the film of the same name. It was released on July 8, 1985 by MCA Records. The album included two tracks culled from Alan Silvestri's compositions for the film, two tracks from Huey Lewis and the News, two songs played by the fictional band Marvin Berry and The Starlighters, one played by Marty McFly and The Starlighters, and two pop songs that are only very briefly heard in the background of the film.

"The Power of Love" was the first number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 for Huey Lewis and the News, certified Gold and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The album spent 19 weeks on the Billboard 200, peaking at number 12 in October 1985.

Band of Gypsys 2

Band of Gypsys 2 is a posthumous live album by American rock musician Jimi Hendrix, released in October 1986 by Capitol Records. This was the second time producer Alan Douglas supervised a Hendrix record for the label, the first being the live mini LP Johnny B. Goode, which was released earlier the same year.

Carl Hogan

Carl D. Hogan (October 15, 1917 – July 8, 1977) was an American jazz and rhythm and blues guitarist and bassist. He is known for playing the lead guitar riff on Louis Jordan's "Ain't That Just Like a Woman (They'll Do It Every Time)" which was later imitated by Chuck Berry for his hit "Johnny B. Goode".

Chuck Berry

Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive. Writing lyrics that focused on teen life and consumerism, and developing a music style that included guitar solos and showmanship, Berry was a major influence on subsequent rock music.Born into a middle-class African-American family in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he was convicted of armed robbery and was sent to a reformatory, where he was held from 1944 to 1947. After his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of the blues musician T-Bone Walker, Berry began performing with the Johnnie Johnson Trio. His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May 1955 and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess, of Chess Records. With Chess, he recorded "Maybellene"—Berry's adaptation of the country song "Ida Red"—which sold over a million copies, reaching number one on Billboard magazine's rhythm and blues chart. By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star, with several hit records and film appearances and a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis nightclub, Berry's Club Bandstand. However, he was sentenced to three years in prison in January 1962 for offenses under the Mann Act—he had transported a 14-year-old girl across state lines. After his release in 1963, Berry had several more hits, including "No Particular Place to Go", "You Never Can Tell", and "Nadine". But these did not achieve the same success, or lasting impact, of his 1950s songs, and by the 1970s he was more in demand as a nostalgic performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality. However, in 1972 he reached a new level of achievement when a rendition of "My Ding-a-Ling" became his only record to top the charts. His insistence on being paid in cash led in 1979 to a four-month jail sentence and community service, for tax evasion.

Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986; he was cited for having "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance." Berry is included in several of Rolling Stone magazine's "greatest of all time" lists; he was ranked fifth on its 2004 and 2011 lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll includes three of Berry's: "Johnny B. Goode", "Maybellene", and "Rock and Roll Music". Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" is the only rock-and-roll song included on the Voyager Golden Record. He was nicknamed by NBC as the, "Father of Rock and Roll."

Chuck Berry House

The Chuck Berry House is the former home of American rock and roll musician Chuck Berry in St. Louis, Missouri located at 3137 Whittier Street. The house was Berry's home when he wrote and first performed the majority of songs with which he is identified, including "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Too Much Monkey Business" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957), "School Day" (1957), "Sweet Little Sixteen" (1958), and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958).

Chuck Berry Live in Concert

Chuck Berry Live in Concert is a live album by Chuck Berry which was released in 1978, nine years after it was recorded at the 1969 Rock and Roll Revival concert at Varsity Stadium in Toronto, Canada.

Garden Party (Rick Nelson song)

"Garden Party" is a 1972 hit song written by Rick Nelson and recorded by him and the Stone Canyon Band on the album Garden Party. The song tells the story of Nelson being booed at a concert at Madison Square Garden.

Hendrix in the West

Hendrix in the West is a posthumous live album by Jimi Hendrix, released in January 1972 by Polydor Records, and later in February by Reprise Records. The album contains songs from Hendrix's performances at the Royal Albert Hall on February 24, 1969, the San Diego Sports Arena on May 24, 1969, Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970 and the Isle of Wight Festival on August 30, 1970. The album's credits mislabel "Little Wing" and "Voodoo Child" as being recorded at the San Diego Sports Arena, when in fact these two tracks were recorded at the Royal Albert Hall on February 24, 1969. The album reached No. 7 in the UK albums chart, and No. 12 in the Billboard 200.This album was re-released on September 13, 2011 as part of the Hendrix family's project to remaster Hendrix's discography. Since the rights to the Royal Albert Hall performance of "Little Wing" and "Voodoo Child" on the original LP are in dispute, the newly released CD contains alternate performances of the two songs.

Johnny B. Goode (album)

Johnny B. Goode is a posthumous live album by Jimi Hendrix released in June 1986. It contains three songs from Hendrix's performance at the 1970 Atlanta International Pop Festival on July 4, 1970, and two songs from Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970.Marketed as a "mini LP" soundtrack, it was released at the same time as a video album with the same title, but with more performances from Atlanta Pop. More complete performances from both concerts were released on Live at Berkeley (2003) and Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival (2015) (see Jimi Hendrix videography for more information about video releases).

Johnny Be Good

Johnny Be Good is a 1988 American comedy film directed by Bud S. Smith, starring Anthony Michael Hall as the main character, Johnny Walker. The film also features Robert Downey Jr., Paul Gleason, Steve James, Jennifer Tilly and Uma Thurman. Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon along with sportscaster Howard Cosell make cameo appearances.

Judas Priest, Saga and Ted Nugent, among others, contributed to the soundtrack. The title track, "Johnny B. Goode", originally recorded by Chuck Berry, was re-recorded by Judas Priest for their album, Ram It Down.

Let It Rock (Chuck Berry song)

"Let It Rock" is a song by Chuck Berry from his 1960 album Rockin' at the Hops. The same year, it was released as a single and reached #64 in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was released as a single in the UK in 1963, where it reached #6.

The song was originally credited to Edward Anderson; Chuck Berry's complete name is "Charles Edward Anderson Berry".

The song is about working on a train track as a train is headed toward the workers. Its opening guitar riff, chord structure and verse tune are reminiscent of Berry's 1958 mega-hit, "Johnny B. Goode", which also mentions trains.

Live Phish Volume 11

Live Phish Vol. 11 was recorded live at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado on November 17, 1997.

The 1997 fall tour will always be remembered by fans as the funky era of Phish, during which the band de-emphasized their often technical approach in favor of more ambient, groove-based jams and extended space improvisations. Some of this was predicated on their transition from a club band, then to medium theaters, and finally to arena rock which required a change in the band's approach and overall sound. This show from Denver was instantly a band and fan favorite, and Phish had plans to release the show as an album long before the Live Phish Series was conceived.

The concert is considered to be one of the best of Phish's career by the band's fans. On the website, the largest Phish fan community on the internet, the show is rated the band's fourth best out of the nearly 1500 concerts they have played since 1983, only bested by their 1999 New Year's Eve concert in Big Cypress, Florida; their show at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 3, 1998; and their August 22, 2015 show at Watkins Glen International, the second show of their Magnaball festival.Bonus tracks include two songs from the concert at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Illinois on November 19, 1997, featuring a 28-minute version of "Wolfman's Brother".

Live in Chicago 1965

Live in Chicago 1965 is a live album by The Beach Boys, released on December 6, 2015. It was originally recorded in 1965. All tracks were previously unreleased.

Mercenaries of Metal Tour

The Mercenaries of Metal Tour was a 1988 concert tour by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, in support of their most recent release, Ram It Down. Unlike their other tours of the 1980s, no official Judas Priest release includes any live recordings from this tour. It was the final tour the band did with longtime drummer Dave Holland. The week before the tour started, the band visited Stockholm, Sweden for full production rehearsals at Hovet. Before the official tour start, the band played a few warm-up shows including one in a club in Amsterdam, Netherlands in early April 1988, where the footage for the Johnny B. Goode video was shot.

Ram It Down

Ram It Down is the eleventh studio album by Judas Priest, released in 1988 through Columbia Records; a remastered edition containing two bonus tracks was reissued in 2001. The album earned gold certification (500,000 sales) on 18 July 1988. The band toured in Europe and North America to support the release of the album. This is the last album to feature long-time drummer Dave Holland.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience (album)

MCA continued the series of definitive masters of the Jimi Hendrix catalogue in 2000, releasing the self-titled box set The Jimi Hendrix Experience, consisting of four discs. The material includes alternative recordings, live performances and some rarities. Although most of the material had been released in earlier compilations, some previously unreleased material (such as live versions of "Killing Floor" and "The Wind Cries Mary") was also included.

The alternative recordings include some tracks from Hendrix's studio albums, even including some from First Rays of the New Rising Sun. This list includes "Purple Haze", "Highway Chile", "Little Wing", "Gypsy Eyes", "Stone Free", among others. The live songs are taken from performances such as the Monterey Pop Festival, the Royal Albert Hall, and the Isle of Wight and includes a near-complete version of Hendrix in the West.

On some tracks, especially on those from Hendrix in the West, the recordings have been slightly altered to clean up the sound, but even when modifications were made the result does not differ too much from the original masterings.

Another edition of this boxed set was released on 28 November 2005, which, under the Universal music group label, included an exclusive bonus DVD featuring a 30-minute documentary called "Hendrix and the Blues", originally created as part of the Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues series. As well as this, this bonus DVD also includes several live tracks, including "Johnny B. Goode" which was recorded live at Berkeley Community Theatre, Berkeley, California on May 30. 1970, "Red House" and "In from the Storm", both of which were recorded live at Isle of Wight, England, London on August 30, 1970.

The set was re-issued with four bonus tracks on August 2013.

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