“Johnny B. Goode” – Who(?), What, When(?) & Where

Last week, I was putting together a “This Historic Day In Music” post to celebrate the anniversary of something good that happened on a January 6: the recording of “Johnny B. Goode.”

At least I thought that January 6, 1958, was the day Chuck Berry made that immortal recording.

As I looked around the internet, I was surprised to discover three dates being offered and, in several instances, an overriding amount of uncertainty.

January 6, 1958, is the date Wikipedia gives.

December 29, 1957, is the date given in the liner notes of my Chess Records Chuck Berry, His Best, Volume 1 CD and numerous websites.

February 28, 1958 is the date given in none other than: Chuck Berry: The Autobiography.

Then I discovered that who the musicians were that accompanied Chuck’s vocals and electric guitar on “Johnny B. Goode” is open for debate as well!

Specifically, is that Johnnie Johnson or Lafayette Leake on piano? Is the drummer Fred Below or Jasper Thomas?

Willie Dixon is definitely the bassist on the track.

The What and Where are definites, too: “Johnny B. Goode” is a Rock & Roll song, written (words & music) by Chuck Berry. “Johnny B. Goode,” the iconic, genre-defining recording, was made in the brand new studios of the Chess Recording Corporation at 2120 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

Whatever side of the Who and When debates you take, I think any day – even (especially!) January 14, 2021 – is a great day to listen to “Johnny B. Goode.”

So, go ahead. Listen!

That will never get old.

This entry was posted in Random Topics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “Johnny B. Goode” – Who(?), What, When(?) & Where

  1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    It’s a bar band must to know this…I think it’s a law.
    I had no clue Willie Dixon played bass on it.

    • Definitely an essential for any bar band! I used to do a “Folkified” version of it with just vocals and an acoustic guitar in my bar days. Knowing the actual day “JBG” was recorded and who actually played on the session may not be a big deal, but why didn’t the Chess Brothers keep records of their recording sessions? Why isn’t there a studio log, like we have for all of The Beatles’ sessions at Abbey Road? Oh, well! Thanks for the “like” and the comment! Always good to hear from you.

      • badfinger20 (Max) says:

        I would like to know that as well. It must have been been a comes as you can arrangement… I guess they didn’t think much about history… but it seems like the musician union would demand it.

        Great stuff!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.