Johnny Be Good

Nothing like making the big time a decade before you were born…

I’d like to thank everyone for their kind words and sympathy on yesterday’s post… or even if you didn’t have the words to say, I understand and appreciate all the good thoughts.  But for now, the show must go on… and on Mondays, that show involves pulling another lost song rabbit out of that magic hat we like to call the Dusty Vinyl Archive.  DJ Scratchy and the Sponkies know the drill, and are ready to provide this week’s retro earworm for your listening pleasure…

Mama may have warned you not to associate with bad company, but she probably didn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to the British band Bad Company.  Headed by underrated lead vocalist Paul Rodgers (Who’s been featured on the DVA before in another of his groups), Bad Co. was the darling of the 1970’s album oriented rock radio station movement… with almost as many well known songs that were never even released as a single as they had bonafide chart hits.

One such song, which I’ve always loved and has now become a frequently heard Mecca earworm, is their 1975 cut from the album Straight Shooter about the highs and lows of making it in the music business, “Shooting Star”…

You would never guess the song wasn’t a hit, and I sure didn’t after hearing it often on 70’s rock stations around the turn of the millennium.  It’s the typical story song that was prevalent at the time… we get to meet Johnny, a young kid who listens to The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” and decides then and there that he’s going to become a rock and roll star!

Mama must be so proud of you, Johnny!

And Johnny becomes the next American world idol!  Only to have it all come crashing down on him as he dies of a drug overdose in the final verse.  If it sounds familiar, Paul Rodgers states that the song was definitely inspired by the untimely deaths of iconic musicians Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix that all occurred within a few years before “Shooting Star” was written.

It would have been weird if Johnny had a bottle of whiskey and a half eaten ham sandwich(***) by his bed….

*** Yes, I know that’s bullshit, but it’s more interesting than dying of a heart attack, is it not?

One final tidbit on “Shooting Star” is that I often “twin” this song with Foreigner’s “Juke Box Hero.”  While that song was a hit (#26), came seven years later, and didn’t feature the death of the wannabe star protagonist…. I’ll still take Bad Company’s tale of Johnny any day…

Johnny has to beat the groupies off of him with a laser since becoming a shooting star…

Join me again next Monday for another lost hit by a shooting star of the past…


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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23 Responses to Johnny Be Good

  1. Oh yes, being older than you, I do remember that song playing while hanging with my own gang of “Bad Company.” Nice nostalgic trip back to those good ole days.

  2. ha! like it! another gem for my playlist…. thanks to you!!!

  3. Bad Company is British? Well knock me over with a flying acorn. Now I’m feeling super stupid.

    Shooting Star and Juke Box Hero make an excellent pairing. Well done.

    And don’t tell my daughter I said this but… life is too short not to sleep with the guitar player.

    • I don’t think I would have guessed that either…. especially if I was told half of them came from the group Free, which I’d always assumed was American as well. And here I thought the bass players got all the chicks…

  4. Thom says:

    Played and sang this in a couple of bands I was in. Of course, I couldn’t touch the vocal of Paul Rodgers, possibly the most underrated rock singer of all time. Soulful, gritty, and never overdoing the vocal acrobatics, giving you just enough to realize he could do it if he WANTED to.

  5. Trisha says:

    I was just thinking about this song! I was thinking it may be the only rock song from the 70s that I remember hearing IN the 70s. My parents always had country on the radio so I didn’t hear much rock until I got my own radio some time in the early 80s. Shooting Star always makes me think of my Aunt Tonya, so I think I must have been with her when I heard it. I saw Bad Company a few years ago so I must have known they were British….

    • My Dad’s parents listened to country, and I’m glad he didn’t carry that over into the family so I could learn all the good rock songs. That old country and western certainly has its fans, but I’m not one of them…

      • Trisha says:

        Most of the old country from the 70s was just ear-assaultingly awful! It’s no wonder hearing Shooting Star made an impression on me!

  6. I really loved Bad Company back in “the day”……..and remember “Shooting Star” but SO many others too. Gosh – considering the times, amazing I remember anything (!) but I DO remember a lot of the music – at least so wasted that I didn’t hear a lot of the great music.


  7. draliman says:

    Poor Johnny. I like the occasional ballad!

  8. ghostmmnc says:

    This is such a good song, but so sad in the end. Now I know why you mentioned “Love Me Do” on my SLS post. Yes, the Beatles first single record, and I would imagine it would have inspired a lot of kids to be rock stars later on. 🙂

  9. Mer O'Leary says:

    Damn, I loved that movie…Short Circuit. I sorta had a crush on that dang robot…
    Good tune!

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