At a time when Black music was helping to break down racial barriers, one artist stood at the crux of two vastly different cultures: Chuck Berry. Alongside other trailblazers like Little Richard, Berry helped create the genre of rock and roll by adapting a legacy of blues music to a wider audience. Between his catchy riffs and his on-stage persona, anyone who plays guitar today would cite Berry as an influence—or failing that, their influences would. He’s that ubiquitous.
While Berry scored many hits during his career, none resound quite as much as the tale of “Johnny B. Goode”. The rockin’ legend of the country boy was released on this date 65 years ago, on March 31st, 1958, as a single with “Around & Around” as the B-Side. Partly autobiographical (according to Berry), the song has been covered by hundreds of musicians and even played a role in the hit film, Back To The Future.
In honor of the “Johnny B. Goode” milestone, here are some of our favorite renditions of the song.
[Video: Diego Flanklim]
The Beach Boys
[Video: Whoa Dude Righteous]
Phish (Get ready to jam with this one)
John Lennon w/ Chuck Berry
[Video: Clément Monterastelli / Dr FeelGood]
Bruce Springsteen w/ Chuck Berry
[Video: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame]
John Mayer Trio
[Video: Rams Martinez]
Back To The Future (Michael J. Fox)
[Originally published 3/31/18]