A rock ‘n’ roll legend left us on 18 March 2017. Born on 18 October 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri, Charles Edward Anderson ‘Chuck’ Berry, popularly known as Chuck Berry, was noted for his extravagant showmanship and swashbuckling guitar solos. If you are familiar with the rock ‘n’ roll genre, it’s likely that the first song to spring to mind is the catchy Johnny B. Goode. Created in the late ‘50s, long before there was heavy metal and when rock music was still at its infancy, Berry lit up the airwaves with his guitar licks and enthusiastic vocal, telling the story of an illiterate ‘country boy’ who could play a guitar ‘just like ringing a bell’, and who one day might have his ‘name in lights’.
Johnny B. Goode is ranked No.7 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Berry himself was among the first to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Here we take a look at three bands influenced by Berry and re-recorded his famous hits with their own take.
The Beatles — Rock and Roll Music
The Fab Four performed the song many times live long before they caught fame. However, the song was only recorded for their fourth studio album Beatles for Sale.
Electric Light Orchestra — Roll Over Beethoven
The progressive rock band from Birmingham, UK reworked the original song which foretells that rock ‘n’ roll will one day replace classical music in popularity, leading to famed composer Beethoven ‘roll over’ in his grave. ELO injected a dose of symphony, seamlessly fusing classical and rock music, and extended the song to over eight minutes, including an elaborated opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
Judas Priest — Johnny B. Goode
One of the greatest heavy metal bands, the Priest covered the song in 1988 and put their own spin on it. They sped it up with pounding bass drum, made it heavier with twin guitar harmonies and lifted it with lead singer Rob Halford’s high notes.