rolling stones bye bye johnny 1964Can You Hear the Music?


Rolling Stones songs: Bye Bye Johnny
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Her own little son named Johnny B Goode/ Was gonna make some motion pictures out in Hollywood…

Written by: Chuck Berry
Recorded: De Lane Lea Studios, Kingsway, London, England, Nov. 14-15 1963
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Songfacts:
This song follows the same character heard in Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” Johnny is now a grown man who boards a bus to start his life.

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
After the success of “I Wanna Be Your Man,” which reached number 12 on the British charts, Decca and Andrew Loog Oldham wanted to test the Rolling Stones’ popularity. To this end they had the band record a four-track EP that they named The Rolling Stones. The first number was “Bye Bye Johnny” by Chuck Berry, recorded in 1960 for Berry’s album Rockin’ at the Hops and also released as a single with “Worried Life Blues” as the B-side. “Bye Bye Johnny” is a sequel to the celebrated “Johnny B. Goode,” which tells the story of a country boy and brilliant guitarist whose mother predicts he will be a star. In “Bye Bye Johnny,” the guitarist’s mother is the heroine. She is described putting her son on a Greyhound bus heading west, where
he is to make motion pictures in Hollywood. She later receives a letter from Johnny, telling her that he has fallen in love and will return to the Southern states as soon as he has got married…

The Stones’ version is far more dynamic than Chuck Berry’s. Keith launches right in, re-creating the original introduction note for note on his Harmony Meteor. His sound is pretty saturated, resulting no doubt from the Top Boost function on his new Vox AC30 guitar amp. He also plays the solo in the style of his American idol, acquitting himself extremely well. Brian, who had also recently acquired a Vox AC30, plays rhythm on his Gretsch. Unfortunately, he is too loud, impairing the overall balance to
some degree. Bill is as nimble as ever on his fretless Dallas Tuxedo and combines with Charlie to form the same rock-solid rhythm section. Mick has no difficulty with the lead vocal and is supported by a highly enthusiastic, although unfortunately totally saturated, backing vocal. It should be said that Oldham, who was in charge of production, had not succeeded in mastering the art during the three months since he assumed the role for “Come On” on May 10. Hence the rather unmethodical ensemble and accelerations in tempo. During the first refrain, between 0:22 and 0:29, the group can be heard suddenly stepping on the gas.

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