May 1,1955 Chuck Berry was signed to Chess Records.
Johnny B Goode in my day was the #1 bar band song. It was Brooklyn in the 70’s.
We hung out at a bar called Mahony’s on Avenue D. (I can date most sections of my life according to the Irish bar I was hanging out in – currently my Irish Bar of choice is the Red Lion). I must’ve played in five different bar bands, and sure enough Johnny B Goode was in each of them.
It’s got one of most identifiable signature guitar licks in history. I can still picture various drunken crowds screaming GO -GO-JOHNNY GO!! I love when the audience sings along. I always try to instigate sing-alongs. It comes from playing piano in my living room on East 19th Street in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. In my family everybody had to perform. It didn’t matter if you played kazoo or if you knew two notes on the saxophone, my Uncle Jack would have the video camera ready and everybody joined in. We’ve kept that tradition going even now with my kids, their friends, dinner guests — everybody has to perform! No pressure over at the Brevis house, but we do have some hysterical footage of family performances. Dylan and my niece Heather on the erhu. Casey in a long blonde wig. Dukes Men. Guitars. Piano. Grandma Joan tap dancing. I’ll have to dig up some of those videos for another post.
Anywho, I still play Johnny B Goode at all my gigs. There’s a funny youtube called Chuck Berry vs. Keith Richards (look for it) in a rehearsal. It’s a riot and worth watching. I never played with Chuck but I’ve heard he’s tough to work for. Hope I’m still gigging when I’m in my 80’s.