Country Throwback: John Denver Covers ‘Johnny B. Goode’ on TV in 1978

by Quentin Blount

Today we are bringing you a country throwback from more than 40 years ago: the late singer-songwriter John Denver covering the iconic song, “Johnny B. Goode,” on live TV.

“Johnny B. Goode” is a classic rock-and-roll song written and first recorded by the late rock star, Chuck Berry, in 1955. The song was, without a doubt, a major hit and wildly influential. It was able to peak at No. 2 on Billboard magazine’s Hot R&B Sides chart and No. 8 on its Hot 100 chart.

The Chuck Berry hit song is considered one of the most recognizable songs in the history of popular music. “Johnny B. Goode” is also known as “the first rock and roll hit about rock and roll stardom.”

In addition to being covered by Denver, it has also been recorded by many other artists along with receiving several honors and accolades. The song also comes in at seventh on Rolling Stone‘s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

The song is about an illiterate “country boy” from the New Orleans area. He’s able to play the guitar “just like ringing a bell,” and who might one day have his “name in lights.” It’s hard to read the lyrics of the song without singing along in your head.

Deep down in 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 country boy named Johnny B. Goode
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play a guitar just like a-ringin’ a bel
l, Go go
Go Johnny go go
, Go Johnny go go
Go Johnny go go
, Go Johnny go go
Johnny B. Goode

Watch the epic performance from below:

John Denver Legacy

When he passed away in 1997, John Denver left behind an unquestionable and lasting legacy. His music continues to garner new listeners and fans that enjoy his melodies and peaceful style.

Denver gave what ended up being his last performance on Oct. 5, 1997. He played a concert at the Selena Auditorium in Corpus Christi, Texas. The popular folk and country singer would die tragically just a week later in a plane crash.

However, some of the best John Denver moments came from him performing with Chuck Berry. Watch Denver and Berry jam out in the mid-’80s singing the Chuck Berry hit song, “Roll Over Beethoven” here.

Further, to view more of our country throwback series, take a visit this link.