“Johnny B. Goode” is a famous rock and roll song written and originally performed by Chuck Berry. The song was released as a single in 1958 and became one of Chuck Berry’s most well-known and enduring hits. It is often considered one of the pioneering songs in the rock and roll genre.
Chords Used (GCEA Tuning):
Ukulele Tutorial Video
“Johnny B. Goode” has a classic rock and roll strumming pattern. The main strumming pattern for the song can be described as follows:
Down, down, up, up, down, up.
In written form, it would look like this:
D D U U D U
Keep in mind that this is just a basic strumming pattern to get you started. As with many songs, there can be some variations and fills in the strumming as you become more comfortable with the song and want to add your own style to it.
Practice the strumming pattern along with the song, and don’t forget to incorporate Chuck Berry’s signature riffs and energetic playing style into your performance.
Here are some notable facts about the song:
- Tribute to Johnnie Johnson: The song is widely believed to be a tribute to Johnnie Johnson, a pianist and Chuck Berry’s longtime collaborator. Johnson was a key influence on Berry’s music, and the character of “Johnny B. Goode” in the song is based on Johnson’s life and talent.
- Influential Guitar Riff: The opening guitar riff of “Johnny B. Goode” is one of the most recognizable and iconic guitar riffs in rock and roll history. Its infectious melody has inspired countless musicians and has become synonymous with the genre.
- Berry’s Signature “Duck Walk”: Chuck Berry was known for his unique stage presence and guitar-playing style. He popularized a move known as the “duck walk,” where he would hop on one leg while dragging the other foot behind him. This dance move became synonymous with Berry’s live performances and added to his charisma on stage.
- NASA’s Voyager Golden Record: In 1977, NASA included “Johnny B. Goode” on the Voyager Golden Record, a phonograph record launched into space aboard the Voyager spacecraft. The record was intended to represent the diversity of life and culture on Earth to potential extraterrestrial civilizations.
- Rolling Stone’s Greatest Guitar Song: In Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” “Johnny B. Goode” was ranked at number 7. It’s also considered one of the greatest guitar songs ever recorded.
- Cultural Impact: The song’s success and popularity played a significant role in breaking down racial barriers in the music industry during the late 1950s. Chuck Berry’s success as a black artist in a predominantly white industry helped pave the way for future generations of musicians.
- Covered by Numerous Artists: “Johnny B. Goode” has been covered by a wide range of artists across various genres. Some of the notable covers include renditions by The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and Judas Priest, among many others.
- Influence on Other Songs: The song has been referenced and alluded to in numerous other songs and popular culture. For example, the band AC/DC paid homage to “Johnny B. Goode” in their song “You Shook Me All Night Long,” mentioning “Playing in a rocking band” just like Johnny in the lyrics.
Text Version of Chords
[Intro] Bb Eb Bb F Eb Bb [Verse 1] Bb Way down Louisiana close to New Orleans, Way back up in the woods among the evergreens. Eb There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood, Bb Where lived a country boy named Johnny B Good. F He never ever learned to read and write so well, Bb But he could play the guitar just like the ringin' a bell. [Chorus] Bb Go, go. Go, Johnny go, go. Eb Go, Johnny go, go. Bb Go, Johnny go, go. F Go, Johnny go, go. Bb Johnny B Good. [Verse 2] Bb He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack And sit beneath the trees by the railroad track. Eb Oh, engineers would see him sitting in the shade Bb Strumming to the rhythm that the drivers made. F People passing by they would stop and say: Bb "Oh, my how that little country boy could play." [Chorus] Bb Go, go. Go, Johnny go, go. Eb Go, Johnny go, go. Bb Go, Johnny go, go. F Go, Johnny go, go. Bb Johnny B Good. [Solo] Bb Eb Bb F Bb Bb Eb Bb F Bb [Verse 3] Bb His mama told him: "Someday you will be a man, And you will be the leader of a big old band. Eb Many people coming from miles around Bb To hear you play your music when the sun go down. F Maybe someday your name will be in lights Bb Sayin' Johnny B Good tonight." [Chorus] Bb Go, go, go, Johnny, go. Go, go, go, Johnny go. Eb Oh, go, go, Johnny go. Bb Oh, go, go, Johnny, go. [Outro] F Bb Go. Johnny B Good.
Ukulele Chords for “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry: Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the ukulele chords for “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry?
- The main ukulele chords for “Johnny B. Goode” are A, D, and E.
- Is “Johnny B. Goode” a common song to play on the ukulele?
- While it’s not as common as other genres for ukulele, it can still be played and enjoyed by fans of the song.
- Where can I find ukulele chords and tabs for “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry?
- Ukulele chords and tabs for this song can be found on various online platforms and music websites.
- What strumming pattern works well for playing “Johnny B. Goode” on the ukulele?
- You can use a straightforward down-up strumming pattern to keep the song’s rock and roll rhythm.
- Who wrote “Johnny B. Goode” and when was it first released?
- “Johnny B. Goode” was written and performed by Chuck Berry and was released in 1958.
- Can “Johnny B. Goode” be played in different keys on the ukulele?
- The song is typically played in the key of A on the ukulele, but you can transpose it to match your vocal range.
- What is the tempo and style of “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry?
- It’s an upbeat rock and roll song with a fast tempo, giving it an energetic feel.
- Are there alternative chord progressions or variations for “Johnny B. Goode” on the ukulele?
- While the basic chords are typically used, you can add some chord variations or embellishments for your own style.
- Is it common to perform “Johnny B. Goode” with a capo on the ukulele?
- Using a capo isn’t common for this song on the ukulele, as it’s usually played with open chords.
- What emotions and sentiments does “Johnny B. Goode” convey when played on the ukulele?
- The song carries a sense of youthful enthusiasm and celebrates rock and roll, making it fun to play on the ukulele.
- Is “Johnny B. Goode” suitable for ukulele players of all skill levels, including beginners?
- While it’s not the easiest song due to its speed, beginners can learn it with practice.
- Are there any resources or tutorials for learning to play “Johnny B. Goode” on the ukulele?
- You can find tutorials and chord charts online to help you learn the song.
- What role does the ukulele play in capturing the essence of “Johnny B. Goode”?
- The ukulele can bring a unique twist to the song, adding a different flavor to the rock and roll classic.
- Can “Johnny B. Goode” be adapted to different musical genres or styles on the ukulele while preserving its core melody?
- While it’s primarily a rock and roll song, creative ukulele players can experiment with different genres and arrangements.
- What is the connection between the lyrics and the universal experiences they reflect in “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry?
- The lyrics tell the story of a talented young musician, a theme that resonates with many aspiring artists.
- How does “Johnny B. Goode” resonate with audiences when played on the ukulele in an intimate, unplugged setting?
- It can create a fun and nostalgic atmosphere, especially if the audience is familiar with the song.
- Are there any notable ukulele cover versions of “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry that stand out?
- While not as common on the ukulele, there are creative covers that put a unique spin on the song.
- What role has “Johnny B. Goode” played in Chuck Berry’s musical legacy, and how has it endured as a beloved song through the years?
- It’s one of Chuck Berry’s signature songs and has remained a classic in rock and roll history.
- Can you share a personal experience or story of playing “Johnny B. Goode” on the ukulele and its impact on your musical journey?
- Playing this iconic rock and roll song on the ukulele can be a lot of fun, evoking memories of the golden era of rock music. Share your own story if you like.
- What techniques or embellishments can ukulele players use to add their unique style to “Johnny B. Goode”?
- You can experiment with strumming variations and even try to incorporate some rock and roll-style picking.
- Can “Johnny B. Goode” be adapted for ukulele duets or ensemble performances, and if so, how can players harmonize effectively?
- Yes, it can be adapted for duets or ensembles, with players harmonizing vocally or through coordinated chord progressions.
- How can ukulele players use dynamics and tempo changes to convey the song’s energy effectively in “Johnny B. Goode”?
- Varying strumming intensity, volume, and tempo can help capture the song’s rock and roll energy during the ukulele performance.
- What is the historical context or significance of “Johnny B. Goode” in Chuck Berry’s career and in rock and roll history?
- “Johnny B. Goode” is considered one of the most iconic songs in rock and roll history and played a pivotal role in Chuck Berry’s career.
- Can “Johnny B. Goode” on the ukulele be used in live performances or jam sessions?
- Yes, it can be a fun addition to live performances and jam sessions, especially for those who enjoy rock and roll classics.
- What is the role of the ukulele in capturing the essence of “Johnny B. Goode,” given the song’s original instrumentation?
- The ukulele offers a more intimate and acoustic interpretation of the song while maintaining its recognizable melody.
- Can “Johnny B. Goode” be adapted to different languages on the ukulele while preserving its energy and vibe?
- While the lyrics can be adapted to different languages, capturing the same energy may require creativity in translation.
- Can you provide recommendations for ukulele players looking to perform “Johnny B. Goode” in a group setting or with vocal harmonies?
- Practice vocal harmonies and coordinate strumming patterns to achieve an exciting group performance of the song.
- How can ukulele players use the song “Johnny B. Goode” to bring nostalgia and excitement to their audiences during performances?
- Playing this classic rock and roll hit can transport audiences back to a memorable era of music, creating excitement and nostalgia.
- Are there any specific challenges ukulele players may face when learning to play “Johnny B. Goode,” and how can they overcome them?
- The main challenge may be mastering the song’s speed. Practice playing slowly at first and gradually increase your speed.
- What impact has “Johnny B. Goode” had on the evolution of rock and roll music, and why is it a song worth preserving and playing on the ukulele?
- “Johnny B. Goode” has had a profound impact on the rock genre, and playing it on the ukulele can introduce a new generation to its timeless rock and roll spirit.