For the next installment Chuck Berry-related coverage, here we have an instance of Berry himself snatching the opening riff for “Johnny B. Goode” directly from 1940’s R&B icon Louis Jordan‘s guitarist Carl Hogan. Of course, the song is Chuck Berry’s best known work and a masterpiece in its own right, having been the representative rock n’ roll song shot up into space on the Voyager and just generally one hell of a tour de force. However, when Brian Wilson in turn came along and borrowed the same riff for the Beach Boys, which he was no stranger to doing, this time Chuck Berry was less the progenitor and more just the link.
Naturally, all this doesn’t stop Berry’s take from having exponentially more bite than the other two combined. Listen to how the same riff evolves to service pre-rock jump blues, then gritty rock n’ roll, and finally blithe little pop confection: