ST. LOUIS, Jan. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- New life has been breathed into one of the most iconic rock and roll songs of all time – Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" – featuring some serious star-power, including a previously unreleased piano track by the song's inspiration, Johnnie Johnson, as well as Grammy-winners Michael McDonald and David Sanborn.
The story of this new version of "Johnny B. Goode," recorded in New York, St. Louis and Los Angeles, goes back a few years to when drummer/producer Mike Mesey, who played and toured with Head East, Chuck Berry, and Johnson, asked Johnson to play piano on a recording of "Johnny B. Goode." Johnson was happy and excited to oblige, providing the only studio recording of him ever playing the song. Years after Johnson's death in 2005, Mesey heard a lap steel guitar performance by Steve Scorfina, formerly of Pavlov's Dog and REO Speedwagon, and immediately thought of Johnson's piano tracks. Scorfina recorded for the song on a 1934 Rickenbacker lap steel – regarded as the first electric guitar.
After recording his lap steel tracks, Scorfina suggested contacting his childhood friend and former Majestics band mate from Ferguson, Mo., five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald, about recording a vocal track. McDonald, a fan of both Berry and Johnson, liked the project and obliged by recording amazing vocals. Another St. Louis native, saxophone legend David Sanborn, lent his talents to the recording as well; and Jimmy Vivino, longtime music director for the Conan O'Brien band agreed to record additional guitar tracks.
During discussions about how to proceed with the new "Johnny B. Goode" recording, the conversation shifted to using the song to help raise funds for a new rock documentary, "Johnnie Be Good," about Johnnie Johnson's life, produced by Art Holliday and including interviews with McDonald, Sanborn and Vivino, as well as a "who's who" of rock music including: Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Bob Weir, the late Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt, John Sebastian, Joe Perry, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, film director Taylor Hackford, Bruce Hornsby, former Late Show band leader Paul Shaffer, Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, The Kentucky Headhunters, actor Malcolm
McDowell, Oscar-winner Lou Gossett, Jr., Eddie Money and Conan O'Brien band members Jimmy Mike Merritt, and James Wormworth.
The new version of "Johnny B. Goode" was officially released for download on October 18, 2015 in honor of Chuck Berry's birthday and is available on 25 websites including:
- ITUNES: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/johnny-b.-goode-feat.-michael/id1046734481
- CD BABY: https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/meseyscorfinafeaturingmi
- AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Michael--McDonald--%20Johnnie--Johnson--Sanborn/dp/B0168LQFX0
Track sales proceeds will help fund the release of the upcoming "Johnnie Be Good" documentary. The new "Johnny B. Goode" recording is written by Chuck Berry, produced by Michael Mesey, performed by Mesey/Scorfina, and features Michael McDonald (courtesy of Chonin Records), Johnnie Johnson, and David Sanborn. Special guest artists include Jimmy Vivino, Dona Oxford (vocals), Leslie Craig (vocals), Greg Hulub (bass), and Dan Duncan (congas).
The film's anticipated release is scheduled to be announced this year. Links to the movie trailer can be found at JJTheMovie.com.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact the following:
Amy Burger Strategic Communications
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SOURCE 825 Studios