The Paul McCartney Project

Johnny B. Goode

Written by Chuck Berry

Album This song officially appears on the Live At The BBC Official live.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1994
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

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.

The song is one of Berry’s most famous. It has been covered by many artists and has received several honors and accolades. It is also considered one of the most recognizable songs in music history. The song is ranked as number seven on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time“.

Composition and recording

Written by Berry in 1955, the song is about a “country boy” who plays a guitar “just like ringing a bell,” and who might one day have his “name in lights.” Berry has 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. 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. The song was initially inspired by Johnnie Johnson, the regular piano player in Berry’s band, 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.

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. 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.

Berry has written three more songs involving the character Johnny B. Goode, “Bye Bye Johnny“, “Go Go Go“, and “Johnny B. Blues“; and titled an album, and the nearly 19 min instrumental title track from it, as “Concerto in B. Goode“. […]

The Beatles’ version

The Beatles recorded their version of the song on 7 January 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. […]

Chuck Berry was another massive influence with Johnny B Goode. We’d go up to John’s bedroom with his little record player and listen to Chuck Berry records, trying to learn them.

Wings played “Johnny B. Goode” duringĀ a rehearsal session in 1980, one of the latest sessions before the end of the group.

Last updated on December 1, 2016

Lyrics

Deep down in Louisianna
close to New Orleans,
way back up in the woods
among the evergreens,
there stand a country cabin
made of clay and wood,
where lives a young country boy
named Johnny B.Goode,
he never ever learned
to read or write a book so well,
but he could play his guitar
just like a-ringing a bell.

Go go, go Johnny go go go!
Go Johnny go go go!
Go Johnny go go go!
Go Johnny go go go!
aah Johnny B.Goode!

He used to carry his guitar
in a gunny sack,
sit beneath the trees
by the railroad track.
Oh sitting and a-playing
in the shade,
drumming to the rhythm
that the drivers made.
People passing by
used to stop and say:
my oh my,
that country boy can play.

Go go, go Johnny go go go!
Go Johnny go go go!
Go Johnny go go go!
Go Johnny go go go!
Aah Johnny B.Goode!

Well his mama told him:
someday you will be a man.
And you will be the leader
of a big old band.
Many people coming
from miles around,
to hear you play your music
till the sun goes down.
Maybe some day
your name will be in light,
saying: Johnny
B. Goode tonight!

Go go, go Johnny go go go!
Go Johnny go go go!
Go Johnny go go go!
Go Johnny go go go!
aah Johnny B.Goode!

Officially appears on


Live At The BBC

Official live • Released in 1994

2:51 • Radio showL1 • Not a British hit for Chuck Berry in 1958, but a song that was hammered out by almost every British beat group of the sixties and one of the most frequently performed tunes on Saturday Club.

Paul McCartney:
Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar

Concert From "Saturday Club" in London, United Kingdom on Feb 15, 1964

Bootlegs


Tug Of War Rehearsal

Unofficial album

3:44 • Studio rehearsal

Recording:
Oct 30, 1980
Studio:
Pugin's Hall


The Beatles At The Beeb - Volume 8

Unofficial live • Released in 2003

3:12 • Live

Concert From "Saturday Club" in London, United Kingdom on Feb 15, 1964


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 14th, 1969 - 3 & 4

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

1:46 • Rehearsal • Jan.14 - D3-09 - Johnny B. Goode 14.39

Session Recording:
Jan 14, 1969
Studio:
Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 14th, 1969 - 3 & 4

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

1:31 • Rehearsal • Jan.14 - D3-10 - Johnny B. Goode 14.40

Session Recording:
Jan 14, 1969
Studio:
Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 22nd, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

2:48 • Rehearsal • Jan.22 - D1-20 - Johnny B. Goode 22.08

Session Recording:
Jan 22, 1969
Studio:
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Live performances

“Johnny B. Goode” has been played in 1 concerts.

Latest concerts where “Johnny B. Goode” has been played


Saturday Club

Feb 15, 1964 • Part of BBC Sessions


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