Throwback Thursdays: Peter Tosh, “Johnny B. Goode”

Words by Jesse Serwer—

Peter Tosh's "Johnny B. Goode" cover

Tomorrow would be the 68th birthday of the late Peter Tosh, capping quite a big week for a figure who’s no longer with us. On Monday, National Heroes Day in Jamaica, the Stepping Razor was awarded a posthumous Order of Merit, a significant development for an artist whose relationship with the state during his lifetime was tenuous at best.

All this talk of Tosh got us thinking about one of Peter’s only music videos, for his reggae version of Chuck Berry’s rock and roll classic, “Johnny B. Goode.” (From his penultimate album, 83’s Mama Africa) As far as we know, it’s his only one besides the cut-and-dry, band rehearsal-style clip for his cover of the Temptations’ “(You Gotta Walk) Don’t Look Back” with Mick Jagger, featuring Sly and Robbie. (Read about that one in our 2011 Throwback Thursdays piece on “Don’t Look Back). While in some senses “Johnny B. Goode” is you’re basic, ’80s-era video, the clip has some things going for it, like some scenic footage of “country” and—best of all—a sequence of Peter riding his favorite mode of transportation: the unicycle.