Johnny B. Goode


This song is so classic it’s like one of those primordial sea creatures that every branch of life evolved from. Only with rock’n’roll and the evolution only took a few years. People – a lot of ’em – have built entire careers out of mimicking Chuck Berry’s riffs. Then younger people mimicked those people, and then the next generation mimicked them, to the point where half of them don’t even know what they’re mimicking anymore. How many young ‘uns don’t even realize that the basic structure of a rock’n’roll song hasn’t just always existed in the ether, that it came from somewhere and that somewhere was Chuck Berry’s noggin? Meanwhile, old Chuck keeps a’rockin’ and he’s outlived a fair number of his acolytes. It’s unfortunate that apparently the legend is not a very nice guy in real life, so much so, that even his Number One Fan Keith Richards can’t pen a blurb for Rolling Stone magazine without lamenting what an asshole the dude turned out to be. Bummer. The old perv got busted for having surveillance cameras in the ladies’ room of his restaurant, for Pete’s sake! Not that being a creep in real life should discourage anyone from enjoying his music or anything, but if that makes you somewhat lose respect for Chuck Berry, I don’t blame you. For myself, in this particular instance, I honestly prefer listening to Peter Tosh’s version of Johnny B. Goode.

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