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Johnny B. Goode: Wikis


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"Johnny B. Goode"
Single by Chuck Berry
from the album Chuck Berry Is on Top
B-side "Around and Around"
Released March 31, 1958
Format 45 rpm, 78 rpm
Recorded January 6, 1958 at Chess Records studio, Chicago, IL
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:45
Label Chess 1691
Writer(s) Chuck Berry
Producer Little "Bongo" Kraus
Chuck Berry singles chronology
"Sweet Little Sixteen"
"Johnny B. Goode"
"Beautiful Delilah"
Audio sample
file info · help

"Johnny B. Goode" is a much covered 1958 rock and roll song composed by Chuck Berry. It is one of Berry's most important songs, being listed #7 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1]

It reached #8 on the Billboard pop chart.



Written by Berry in 1955, the song is about a poor country boy who plays a guitar "just like ringing a bell", and who might one day have his "name in lights".[2] Berry has acknowledged that the song is partly autobiographical, and originally had "colored boy" in the lyrics, but he changed it to "country boy" to ensure radio play.[3] The title is suggestive that the guitar player is good, and hints at autobiographic elements because Berry was born on Goode Avenue in St. Louis.[2] The song was initially inspired by Berry's piano player, Johnnie Johnson,[4][5] though developed into a song mainly about Berry himself.[6] Even though Johnnie Johnson played on many other Chuck Berry songs, it was Lafayette Leake who played piano on this song.[7]

The opening guitar riff on "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 has written two more songs involving the character Johnny B. Goode, "Bye Bye Johnny" and "Go Go Go", and titled an instrumental album as "Concerto in B. Goode".




Berry's recording of the song was included on the 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.

The song was prominently featured in the film Back to the Future, in which Michael J. Fox's character Marty McFly plays a cover version of the song at a high-school dance. McFly, who subs in for the lead guitarist after he was injured, plays the song on stage. While McFly plays the song, the lead singer, Marvin Berry, calls his cousin Chuck about a "new sound he has been looking for." The scene is widely referenced throughout popular culture.

In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Johnny B. Goode" at number 42 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. In 2008, Rolling Stone placed it at #1 on their list of The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs Of All Time.[9] Guitar World rated the song #12 on the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos list. The song is currently ranked as the #6 song of all time in an aggregation of critics' lists at[10]

Cover versions

Johnny B. Goode is among the most widely covered rock and roll songs in history. The list of performers includes:


  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time : Rolling Stone". Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  2. ^ a b Richard Middleton, Reading pop: approaches to textual analysis in popular music, page 166. Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN 0198166117. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  3. ^ "Johnny B. Goode : Rolling Stone". Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  4. ^ "Johnnie Johnson". Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  5. ^ "The New York Times > Arts > Music > Johnnie Johnson, 80, Dies; Inspired 'Johnny B. Goode'". Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  6. ^ Richard Middleton, Reading pop: approaches to textual analysis in popular music, page 167. Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN 0198166117. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Richard Middleton, Reading pop: approaches to textual analysis in popular music, page 177. Oxford University Press, 2000, ISBN 0198166117. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  8. ^ Miller, James (1999). Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977. Simon & Schuster, 104. ISBN 0-684-80873-0.
  9. ^ The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time: Rolling Stone
  10. ^ "Acclaimed Music Top 3000 songs". 27 May 2009. 
Preceded by
"I Love You More Today"
by Conway Twitty
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single
(Buck Owens and The Buckaroos version)

July 26-August 2, 1969
Succeeded by
"All I Have to Offer You Is Me"
by Charley Pride


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