Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B Goode” is one of the most iconic songs in rock and roll history. Released in 1958, it is a classic example of the “Chuck Berry sound” and has been covered by countless artists over the years. The song’s lyrics tell the story of a young, talented, and determined guitar player named Johnny, who dreams of making it big in the music industry. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the lyrics of “Johnny B Goode” and explore their meaning.
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 the guitar just like a-ringin’ a bell
In the first verse of the song, we are introduced to the protagonist, Johnny B. Goode. He is a country boy who lives in a log cabin in Louisiana. Although he never learned to read or write well, he is an incredibly talented guitar player. The lyrics paint a picture of a simple life, but one that is filled with music and passion.
Go Johnny go
Johnny B. Goode
The chorus is a catchy and energetic call to action. It encourages Johnny to keep playing and to pursue his dreams of becoming a successful musician. The repetition of “go go” and “Johnny B. Goode” creates a sense of urgency and excitement.
He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack
Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track
Old engineers would see him sittin’ in the shade
Strummin’ with the rhythm that the drivers made
People passing by they would stop and say
“Oh my that little country boy could play”
In the second verse, we learn more about Johnny’s backstory. He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack and would often play by the railroad tracks. Despite his humble beginnings, he quickly gained a reputation as a talented musician. The lyrics suggest that even strangers passing by were impressed by his skills.
Go Johnny go
Johnny B. Goode
Once again, the chorus serves as an upbeat and motivating refrain. It reminds us that Johnny is on a mission to make it big in the music industry and encourages him to keep playing.
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 goes down
Maybe someday your name will be in lights
Saying Johnny B. Goode tonight”
In the final verse of the song, we hear from Johnny’s mother. She is a supportive figure in his life, encouraging him to pursue his dreams and become a successful musician. The lyrics suggest that Johnny’s talent is not just appreciated by those in his immediate surroundings, but that he has the potential to become a household name.
Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B Goode” is a timeless classic that continues to inspire new generations of musicians. Its catchy melody and relatable lyrics have made it a staple of rock and roll culture. The song tells the story of a young musician who is determined to make it big, despite his humble beginnings. Its message of perseverance and dedication is as relevant today as it was over 60 years ago. If you haven’t heard “Johnny B Goode” before, do yourself a favor and give it a listen.