Johnny B. Goode

“Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans, way back up among the evergreens”

In the late 1950’s when Chuck Berry wrote this classic rock n’ roll tune, he tapped into the pulse of a generation.

Of course, Chuck had consciously developed a formula for writing a great song – cars, girls, and that rock n’ roll rebel beat.

“There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood, Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode

And all music starts with the beat…the heartbeat – the rhythm of life. That’s why music moves the spirit and stirs the soul; because those notes resonate into the human nervous system.

“Who never ever learned to read or write too well, but he could play a guitar just like a-ringing a bell”

That’s why when you listen to a certain special song, it triggers the same old feelings that you felt the first time you heard it. And you always remember who you were with, and what you were doing.

“Go – go, go Johnny go!”

Herb recently wrote a post called how to get motivated, but he left out something that always gets my juices flowing.

And that is, if you ever need to motivate yourself to exercise {who doesn’t?}, get to work on a project, or do something that you don’t particularly want to do, one trick is to put on some of those special songs that open up the flood gates of emotion.

“He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack, Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track”

The combination of enthusiasm and creativity that are unleashed will start the ball rolling, or should I say…rock n’ rolling?

Then you just got to keep the momentum going because a body in motion tends to stay in motion unless subjected to a force applied against it… such as fear.

“Oh, the engineers would see him sitting in the shade, Strummin’ with the rhythm that the drivers made”

Can you just imagine if while writing this legendary song, Chuck Berry gave into his doubts and fears, and stopped writing it?

Which he easily could have done because he had been convicted of armed robbery in his late teens, and spent three years incarcerated.

Then he settled into married life, and got himself a job at an automotive assembly plant.

“People passing by they would stop and say, Oh my how that little country boy can play”

Plus, Chuck had two other disadvantages that could have easily filled him with doubt and fear: He was playing rock n’ roll at a time when the parents of that generation of teens hated rock n’ roll.

And he was an African American at a time when prejudice and segregation were all too abundant.

But, Chuck Berry had something inside of him that drove him onward and upward, against all the odds.

“Go-go, Johnny go!”

Even after he made the big time, in 1962 Chuck still went to prison for three years for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines.

But, Chuck still kept on keepin’ on.

“His mother told him ‘someday you will he be a man, And you will be the leader of a big old band”

How many countless hours do you think Chuck Berry spent all alone practicing the guitar, singing, and writing songs?

Considering how many classic hits this rock n’ roll pioneer wrote, and how many generations of musicians he influenced, I can’t even begin to guess.

Nobody could say for sure, but even though Chuck died recently, he will forever live on through his music, and as a shining example of determination, perseverance, and hard work.

“Many people coming from miles around, To hear you play your music when the sun go down”

Personally, I always thought that Chuck wrote that song for himself, and about himself. Because after all, up until that point, he was the ultimate expression of Johnny B. Goode.

And many called Elvis Presley the King of rock n’ roll, but just who are we trying to kid here? Chuck blew Elvis away with a smokin’ six string gun.

“Maybe someday your name will be in lights, Saying Johnny B. Goode tonight”

Every generation since Chuck’s heyday, has had countless versions of what is probably the best rock n’ roll song ever written.

Everybody from:

Countless others have copied it, but isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in life? Learn from your mentors, pick up the torch, and add your own intense burning desire to it?

“Go-go, Johnny go, go-go … Johnny B. Goode!”

Vaya con dios, – The Unknown Musician.











© 2017, Herb Norcott. All rights reserved.


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