Jimi Hendrix - Johnny B. Goode - Berkeley 1970



This song is based on Berry's life. It tells the tale of a boy with humble beginnings with a talent for guitar. Some details were changed: Berry was from St. Louis, not Louisiana, and he knew how to read and write very well. He graduated from beauty school with a degree in hairdressing and cosmetology.


The line "that little country boy could play" was originally "that little colored boy can play." Berry knew he had to change it if he wanted the song played on the radio, and he didn't want to alienate his white fans, who could better relate to the tale of a "country" boy.


Berry got the word "Goode" from the street in St. Louis where he grew up. He lived at 2520 Goode Avenue, which in 1986 was renamed Annie Malone Drive after the woman who financed a children's home on the street.


Berry recorded a sequel to this song called "Bye Bye Johnny," which tells the story of Johnny as a grown man.


In 1977, NASA sent a copy of this on the Voyager space probe as part of a package that was meant to represent the best in American culture. Someday, aliens could find it and discover Chuck Berry.






Lyrics


Deep down in 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 Johnny B. Goode Who never ever learned to read or write so well But he could play a guitar just like a-ringin' a bell

Go go Go Johnny go go Go Johnny go go Go Johnny go go Go Johnny go go Johnny B. Goode

He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track Oh, the engineers would see him sitting in the shade Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made People passing by they would stop and say "Oh my what that little country boy could play"

Go go Go Johnny go go Go Johnny go go Go Johnny go go Go Johnny go go Johnny B. Goode

His mother told him "someday you will be a man And you will 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"

Go go Go Johnny go Go go go Johnny go Go go go Johnny go Go go go Johnny go Go Johnny B. Goode




Songwriters: Chuck Berry

Johnny B. Goode lyrics © Ole Media Management Lp