This song reached #2 on the American R&B charts in 1958 and #8 on the pop charts. Both blacks and whites liked it. Berry sounded white on the radio. He changed the lyrics from “coloured boy” to “country boy” so it would get played on white radio. This is the song that made Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones want to become a guitarist. Carl Sagan put it on the Golden Record on the two Voyager spacecrafts that are leaving the Solar System. The two golden records will probably last a billion years.
Deep down 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
colored country boy named of Johnny B. Goode
Who never ever learned to read or write so well,
But he could play the guitar like ringing a bell.
Go Johnny Go
Johnny B. Goode
He use to carry his guitar in a gunny sack
Or sit beneath the trees by the railroad track.
Oh, the engineers used to see him sitting in the shade,
Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made.
The People passing by, they would stop and say
Oh my that little country boy could play
His mother told him someday you will be a man,
And you would be the leader of a big old band.
Many people coming from miles around
To hear you play your music when the sun go down
Maybe someday your name will be in lights
Saying Johnny B. Goode tonight.