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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

45RPM: #112 Roll Over Beethoven - Chuck Berry (1956)

A bit of a special 45RPM today as one of the Fathers of Rock and Roll has reached the grand old age of 90!

Here's what a few other musicians have said about Berry down through the years:

“There’s only one true king of rock ‘n’ roll. His name is Chuck Berry.”
- Stevie Wonder

“[My mama] said, ‘You and Elvis are pretty good, but you’re no Chuck Berry.’”
- Jerry Lee Lewis

“To me, Chuck Berry always was the epitome of rhythm and blues playing, rock and roll playing. It was beautiful, effortless, and his timing was perfection. He is rhythm supreme. He plays that lovely double-string stuff, which I got down a long time ago, but I’m still getting the hang of. Later I realized why he played that way - because of the sheer physical size of the guy. I mean, he makes one of those big Gibsons look like a ukulele!”
- guitarist Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones

“the epitome of what it is to be a rock ‘n’ roll guitar player, songwriter and singer.”
- Joan Jett

if you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'.
- John Lennon 

“You are most certainly the inspiration for all of today’s rock ‘n’ roll guitarists. Your music is timeless.”
- Motown legend Smokey Robinson

Roll Over Beethoven was Chuck Berry's fourth single for Chess Records and it is one of his most covered songs in his catalogue with the likes of The Beatles, Electric Light Orchestra, Jerry Lee Lewis releasing versions of it to name but a few.

Berry's single was one of 50 recordings chosen in 2003 by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. In 2004, Roll Over Beethoven was ranked number 97 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The accompanying review stated that it "became the ultimate Rock & Roll call to arms, declaring a new era".

For me, Roll Over Beethoven is easily one of the records that would be on my All-Time Favourite Rock and Roll Singles List (not that one actually exists except inside my own head!).

Happy 90th Birthday Chuck Berry - "Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news"

Roll Over Beethoven / Drifting Heart - Chuck Berry and his Combo
(Both written by Chuck Berry)
Chess Records
Produced by Leonard and Phil Chess
Released May 1956
US Chart #29
US R&B Chart #2 

A-Side: Roll OVer Beethoven

Roll Over Beethoven
French TV 1958

B-Side: Drifting Heart

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