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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “Johnny B. Goode” (performance w/Chuck Berry, 1972)

Posted by on June 11, 2012 at 6:00 am.

Welcome to The Beatles Rarity Of The Week. Between January 31 and February 7, 1972 John Lennon and Yoko Ono filmed five episodes of the Mike Douglas Show where they joined Mike as co-hosts. Along with the guest appearances and musical performances are John and Yoko discussing their love for each other, Lennon’s boyhood recollections, Ono’s unique art projects, and lots of other candid discussion. Nobody describes these shows better than Mike Douglas himself who says “It was probably the most memorable week I did in all my 20-something years on air.”

Guests on the show during that week included soul music group The Chambers Brothers, political activist Ralph Nader, comedian Louis Nye, actress Barbara Loden, social activist Jerry Rubin, musical duo Yellow Pearl, Dr. Jesse Steinfeld, comedian George Carlin and rock and roll legend Chuck Berry, among others. Obviously most of these were picked by the Lennons to appear that week. The shows aired a couple weeks later between the 14th and 18th of February.

I had a request this past March to feature one of the performances that Chuck Berry performed with John and Yoko during that week and am honoring that this week. It is no secret that Chuck Berry’s music had a profound affect on the career of The Beatles and was an idol among each member of the band – especially John Lennon.

John said on the show “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.'”

John covered a large list of Chuck’s songs throughout his career including “I’m Talking About You”, “Too Much Monkey Business”, “I Got To Find My Baby”, “Rock And Roll Music”, “Almost Grown”… and there are lots more. In 1975 John’s album of 50’s classics Rock ‘N’ Roll featured the Chuck Berry tunes “You Can’t Catch Me” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.” When Chuck appeared on the show on February 2nd, it was the first time John had met him in person.

Backed by the Plastic Ono Elephants Memory Band (John’s back up crew at the time), Chuck and John performed the Berry classic “Memphis, Tennessee” along with this track which I’m sure will ring a bell for most reading.

John Lennon/Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode

John Lennon, Chuck Berry, & Gary Van Scyoc, on stage 1972

John Lennon, Chuck Berry, & Gary Van Scyoc, on stage 1972

Extra info:

John provided backing vocals and rhythm guitar and Chuck played lead vocal and rhythm guitar while Yoko played a bongo drum. The Plastic Ono Elephants Memory Band consisted of:

Wayne “Tex” Gabriel on guitar, Gary Van Scyoc on bass, Richard Frank Jr. on drums, Adam Ippolito on keyboards and Stan Bronstein on sax.

Special thanks goes out to Jerry H. for making this request.

Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:

1) Sometime In New York City – 2010 2-CD remaster of original 1972 double LP featuring John Lennon/Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Elephants Memory Band.

2) Rock ‘N’ Roll – 2010 remaster of original 1975 LP including many rock and roll 50’s classic by John Lennon and Chuck Berry classics “You Can’t Catch Me” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

3) More Amazon links for any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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