Just Like Ringing a Bell

On ‘Johnny B. Goode’ as a story of exceptional talent

Jane Elliott PhD
The Riff
Published in
14 min readNov 18, 2023

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Chuck Berry, c. 1958. Universal Attractions (management), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I think about Chuck Berry’s 1958 song ‘Johnny B. Goode’ a lot. Not the guitar playing or the awful scene from Back to the Future where the Michael J. Fox character writes the song. I think about the lyrics because they capture something crucial for me about exceptional talent and the ways we try to make sense of its existence.

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Jane Elliott PhD
The Riff

Coach, Prof, Writer, Swear-er | I help high-achievers overcome internal resistance—that mysterious thing that makes us struggle to do the work we want to do.