To begin with, “Johnny B Goode” is a Beatles cover song on their 1994 album,”Live At The BBC”. It was originally a hit record for Chuck Berry, of course.
Recorded: 7th January, 1964
Record Label: Apple
BBC Radio show: Saturday Club, 15th February, 1964
Songwriter: Chuck Berry
Producer: Bernie Andrews
Johnny B Goode
Chuck Berry first recorded “Johnny B Goode” in January, 1958, releasing it as a single with the B-side being, “Around and Around”. The single peaked in the American Billboard charts at number 2 in the R&B section, while in the Hot 100 charts it reached number 8. So, this song has a good history.
“Johnny B Goode” is part autobiographical. Chuck Berry sings about an illiterate “country boy” from the New Orleans area. The original lyrics said “coloured boy”, but to ensure air play, he decided to change that. The country boy can play a guitar “just like ringing a bell”, not only that, but one day might have his “name in lights”.
Rock And Roll Beatles
The Beatles’ early repertoire contained many covers versions of rock and roll songs from American artists. The band members were big fans of Chuck Berry, of course. In fact, the Fab Four sung more Chuck Berry songs than from other artist.
“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.”
“In the Fifties, when people were virtually singing about nothing, Chuck Berry was writing social-comment songs, with incredible metre to the lyrics. When I hear rock, good rock, of the calibre of Chuck Berry, I just fall apart and I have no other interest in life. The world could be ending if rock ‘n’ roll is playing.”
The Beatles recorded the song on the 7th January, 1964, during a session at the Playhouse Theatre in London. This recording was for the BBC Radio show “Saturday Club” which went on air on the 15th February, 1964.
Although “Johnny B Goode” is not on any of The Beatles 12 studio albums, it is available on their 1994 album, “Live At The BBC”.