22/06/2018: “Johnny B Goode” by Chuck Berry


This is real good times rock n roll, from one of the guys who pioneered the whole thing!

That guitar lick is just incomparable. It’s not the most technically demanding playing but it does give a great feeling, to be sure. And once you’ve heard it a few times, you know it forever. It’s a copy of the opening of “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” by Louis Jordan, which was released in 1946, but that’s a very different type of song altogether.

“Johnny B Goode” is from 1958, which is a few years earlier than many of rock music’s greatest hits. The song still has that rock n roll sound, with a few characteristics shared by blues and big band music. The bassline and the piano are particularly reminiscent  of a 40s dancing song. This period was where rock n roll started to transition into rock music proper.

The song is energised and on its toes, with the “go Johnny go” line providing a fun hook, while the bass struts around confidently, and the guitar drops into a clean blues strumming for the verses.

Still cool after 60 years!





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