No list of great guitar riffs would be taken seriously if it didn’t include one of the greatest rock and roll songs (for some, THE greatest) with one of the most recognizable opening guitar riffs. It is this song which makes the next on the latest “Song of the Day” series focusing on great guitar riffs.
Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” was released in 1958 by Chess Records and it quickly rose up the charts. This was the early days of rock and roll. As musicians and bands began to combine the rhythm of blues to the tempo of gospel music, more and more people began to discover what will become rock and roll. It helped that starts such as Elvis Presley would push this so-called “rebellious music” right up the mainstream public whether the moral authority accepted it or not.
One artist who would pave the way for this growing musical trend was Chuck Berry and he would never get a hit as influential and as popular as “Johnny B. Goode”. This song and it’s riff would become his signature song right up to his death and would influence countless others artists right up to this day.
The song itself would become part of another iconic pop culture event when it became a major plot device for Robert Zemeckis’ first Back to the Future. So many different musicians and bands from all corners of the musical landscape that one would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t know the song “Johnny B. Goode” in one for or another.
Johnny B. Goode
Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans,
Way back up in the woods among the evergreens
There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood,
Where lived a country boy named of Johnny B. Goode
Who never ever learned to read or write so well,
But he could play the guitar like ringing a bell.
Go Johnny Go
Johnny B. Goode
He use to carry his guitar in a gunny sack
Or sit beneath the trees by the railroad track.
Oh, the engineers used to see him sitting in the shade,
Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made.
The People passing by, they would stop and say
Oh my that little country boy could play
His mother told him someday you will be a man,
And you would be the leader of a big old band.
Many people coming from miles around
To hear you play your music when the sun go down
Maybe someday your name will be in lights
Saying Johnny B. Goode tonight.
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