Singer and musician Chuck Berry, who died on Saturday in the USA at 90 years old, is famed for his influential rock 'n' roll songs. One of them, Johnny B. Goode, was done over by Peter Tosh and released ion his 1993 Mama Africa album.
At the 2011 Peter Tosh Symposium held at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Tosh's former manager, Copeland Forbes, spoke about how Tosh came to do over the song. On October 23, 2011, The Sunday Gleaner reported that guitarist Donald Kinsey brought the song to Tosh's attention.
"The rhythm was laid at Dynamic Studios in Kingston, but when Tosh heard the lyric "you got to be the leader of a rock and roll band", he refused to do the song.
Forbes said "I call him one side and say, 'Peter, is you teach me how to cook porridge and soup." In those processes, the seasoning comes last, and Forbes told Tosh, "I see you as the seasoning for this song now. I think you should voice it." However, someone else was there saying differently and Tosh was listening to him. However, the hanger-on left the studio to do something and Forbes seized the opportunity to rewrite the disagreeable lyrics, changing 'Louisiana' to 'Mandeville' and 'rock and roll' to 'reggae', injecting 'skenge, skenge' to reinforce the reggae feel.
Tosh said he would do the song once and any mistakes would have to remain. But when he started to sing, there was an error and he instructed, "come forward". As Tosh got more enthused, they used more and more tracks (on the tape) until 12 were utilised in all." As him done, him jump in the Volvo and gone," Forbes said. "We sat and worked on it that whole night."
Bushman also does Johnny B. Goode on his 2011 album Bushman Sings the Bush Doctor: A Tribute to Peter Tosh.
An album of mostly new Chuck Berry songs is material expected this year, as AP has reported.