The inspiration behind ’Johnny B Goode’ passes away…

JOHNNIE JOHNSON, the rock ‘n’ roll pioneer who was the inspiration behind the CHUCK BERRY hit ’JOHNNY B GOODE’, has died.

Johnson, who is survived by his wife, 10 children and several grandchildren, passed away at his St Louis home on Wednesday (April 13) at the age of 80.

His publicist Margo Lewis said that the cause of death was not immediately known.

Johnson collaborated with Berry on hits such as ’Roll Over Beethoven’ and ’No Particular Place To Go’ and according to BBC News, Berry has said he will perform a concert in his late collaborator’s honour.

Paying tribute, Berry described Johnson as “the man with a dynamite right hand… the greatest piano player I ever had.”

After moving to St Louis in the early 1950’s, Johnson formed the Johnnie Johnson Trio and, when a band member fell ill on New Year’s Eve in 1952, gave Berry his first paid gig.

The pair worked together until the 1970’s, with Johnson composing the tunes to some of Berry’s best known songs.

Johnson however sued Berry in 2000 claiming that the singer had taken advantage of the pianist’s alcoholism and misled Johnson over copyright issues.

Johnson was seeking a share of the royalties to more than 50 songs he alleged they had composed together, but a judge dismissed the case two years later ruling that too many years had passed since the disputed songs had been written.

Johnson’s career had also seen him play with legends such as Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Bo Diddley.

Diddley said: “It was so much fun to play with Johnnie. The world has lost a great man and a great musician.”