Johnny B. Goode

Johnny B. Goode

Single infobox |
Name = Johnny B. Goode
Artist = Chuck Berry
from Album = Chuck Berry Is on Top
B-side = "Around and Around"

Caption =
Recorded = January 6, 1958, Chess Records studio, Chicago
Released = March 31, 1958
Format = vinyl record (7")
Genre = Rock and roll
Length = 2:40
Label = Chess 1691
Producer =
Reviews = [ Amazon]
Last single = Sweet Little Sixteen
This single = Johnny B. Goode
Next single = Beautiful Delilah
Misc = Extra musicsample |filename=Chuck_Berry_-_Johnny_B._Goode.ogg |title=Johnny B. Goode |Type=single
Infobox Single
Name = Johnny B. Goode

Artist = Buck Owens and the Buckaroos
from Album = Buck Owens in London
A-side =
B-side =
Released = June 1969 (U.S.)
Format = 7"
Recorded = 1969
Genre = Country
Length = 2:01
Label = Capitol Records
Writer = Chuck Berry
Producer =
Last single = "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass"
This single = "Johnny B. Goode"
Next single = "Tall Dark Stranger"
Infobox Single
Name = Johnny B. Goode
Type = Single
Artist = Elton John
from Album = Victim of Love
B-side = "Thunder in the Night" (UK)"Georgia" (USA)

Released = December 1979
Genre = Disco
Length = 3:22
Label = Rocket Records
Writer = Chuck Berry
Producer = Pete Bellotte
Last single = "Victim of Love" (1979)
This single = Johnny B. Goode (1979)
Next single = "Little Jeannie" (1980)
Infobox Single
Name = Johnny Be Good

Artist = Judas Priest
from Album = Ram It Down
B-side =
Released = 1988
Format =
Recorded = 1987
Puk Studios
Copenhagen, Denmark
Genre = Heavy metal
Length = 4:39
Label = Columbia
Writer = Chuck Berry
Producer = Tom Allom
Certification =
Last single = "Parental Guidance"
This single = "Johnny Be Good"
Next single = "Painkiller"
Misc = Extra tracklisting
Album = Ram It Down
Type = Studio
prev_track = "I'm a Rocker"
prev_no = 7
this_track = "Johnny Be Good"
track_no = 8
next_track = "Love You to Death"
next_no = 9
"Johnny B. Goode" is a seminal 1958 rock and roll song by Chuck Berry, ranked by "Rolling Stone" as the seventh greatest song ever on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and the best guitar song on their list of the 100 greatest guitar songs of all time.


Written by Berry in 1955, the song is a rock and roll version of the American dream — a poor country boy becomes a star by hard work and inspired guitar playing. Indeed, this image of unknowns with no future achieving fame and fortune through music became a paradigm for countless songs and even careers to follow.

The opening guitar riff on "Johnny B. Goode" may be the most famous single riff in rock and roll history. It 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. [Miller, James (1999). "Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977". Simon & Schuster, 104. ISBN 0-684-80873-0.]

Although partly autobiographical, the inspiration for the song is said to have been Johnnie Johnson who played the piano and composed several songs with Berry, and is considered a major contributor to the unmistakable Berry sound. On earlier unreleased takes Chuck sang "colored boy" instead of "country boy", but it was changed for fear of it not being played on the radio. As a possible source for the last name, it has been noted that Berry was born on Goode Avenue in St. Louis. [] Aware of the importance of the song to his fame and his image, Berry has written two more songs about Johnny, "Bye Bye Johnny" and "Go Go Go", and also 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 three American songs included among many cultural achievements of humanity.

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 place it at #1 on their list of The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs Of All Time. [ [ The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time : Rolling Stone ] ]

Cultural references

*Judas Priest recorded the song for the movie "Johnny Be Good" and for their album "Ram it Down" in 1988.
*In the movie "Back to the Future", the back-in-time Marty McFly performs this song at a high school dance in 1955 (actually sung by Andrew Marr), after the band's guitarist (who happens to be named Marvin Berry) injures his hand. Astounded by McFly's rather prescient guitar heroics (which include imitations of the future Pete Townshend and Eddie Van Halen), Marvin calls his cousin Chuck, who listens in on "the new sound [he's] been looking for". This creates an apparent paradox, with the song "Johnny B. Goode" having never actually been written by anyone. The scene was also revisited in "Back to the Future Part II"."Johnny B. Goode" has been mentioned many times by other artists and writers, with references in movies, television shows, commercials, books and other songs, including the following notable examples:

*The song's title is often used as a literary allusion. An excellent example is in an Australian advertisement for The OC: while a character named Johnny is robbing a convenience store, a caption appears, ironically reading "Johnny be good". Similarly, Devo used references to Johnny in their song "Come Back Johnny" which, (along with their cover of the Rolling Stones' early hit Satisfaction) clearly delineates the contrasting nature of their stylized electronic approach. Also, "Johnny B. Goode" is mentioned for comedic effect in Joe South's song "The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor."

*In , the episode's title "Stewie B. Goode" is a refrence to this song.

*In 2004, Democratic nominee for United States president John Kerry used the song as a theme song at most of his campaign events, and New York Mets relief pitcher John Franco warmed up to the song for most of his career

*"Johnny B. Goode" has also been used in several hit musicals. The song is the finale in "Return to the Forbidden Planet" and also is the final song in the finale act of "The Buddy Holly Story".

*The "Histeria!" episode "Hooray For Presidents" featured a Kid Chorus song about Susan B. Anthony sung to this song's tune.

*One of the main characters in the short-lived 80's comedy Misfits of Science, a rock guitarist and singer, goes by the name Johnny B (for Bukowski). He is offered a Chuck Berry ("C the B") compilation on audio cassette, as a peace offering, and later sings "Johnny B. Goode" while using his lightning powers to hold off the military during a rescue operation.

*The episode of Gimme A Break titled "Nell's Secret Admirer" opens with Joey and Matthew Lawrence performing "Johnny B. Goode", with Joey on keyboard and Matthew with a baby-sized electric guitar.

*A song in the video game Final Fantasy VI is titled as "Johnny C Bad". (The two songs are not otherwise similar.)

*Kelly Brook and Brendan Cole danced their Jive to this song in Week 7 of Strictly Come Dancing.

*A recording of the song by Berry was included in the Voyager Golden Record to represent the culture of the United States to any extraterrestrial life which might encounter it.

* Author Terry Pratchett included a key reference to the song in his book "Soul Music" in which the protagonist Imp Y Celyn ("Bud of the Holly" in Welsh) sings and plays two versions of a song Imp wrote. The song's title is "Sioni Bod Da" - Llamedos (Welsh) for "Johnny Be Good".

* Johnny Lazo of the Tri-City Americans is introduced in the starting line-up as "Go Johnny Go, Johnny Lazo!"

*The song was reused in the EarthBound video game series as the Hippie battle theme.

*The song is used at many John McCain campaign events.

*The song is used at Dodger Stadium when Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton comes out of the bullpen.

Cover versions

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

Buck Owens version


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