Chuck Berry recorded ‘Johnny B. Goode’ in December 1957 and it has since become one of his best-known songs. The reasons for its lasting popularity are varied, and one of the goals of this article is to elucidate and discuss them. But the main purpose is to raise ‘Johnny B. Goode’ as an example of the choices and problems Berry faced in his career as an African-American musician in the 1950s and 60s and the ways he dealt with them in this tune.
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