Rock and Roll Music

"Rock and Roll Music" is a song written and recorded by rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry. It has been widely covered and is recognized as one of Berry's most popular and enduring compositions.

"Rock and Roll Music"
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Single by Chuck Berry
B-side"Blue Feeling"
Released1957 (1957)
Format7- & 10-inch records
RecordedChicago, May 1957
GenreRock and roll
Length2:30
LabelChess
Songwriter(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s)Leonard Chess, Phil Chess
Chuck Berry singles chronology
"Oh Baby Doll"
(1957)
"Rock and Roll Music"
(1957)
"Sweet Little Sixteen"
(1958)

"Rock and Roll Music" was a record chart hit for Berry, reaching the top 10 in the United States. The Beatles' 1964 recording topped singles charts in Europe and in Australia, and the Beach Boys had a U.S. top 10 hit with the song in 1976.

Original songEdit

The sessions for "Rock and Roll Music" took place in May 1957 in Chicago.[1] The session was produced by Leonard Chess and Phil Chess.[1] Backing Berry were Lafayette Leake (piano), Willie Dixon (bass), and Fred Below (drums).[1] Chess records issued the song as a single in September 1957 on both the 45 and 78 rpm formats. It reached number six on Billboard magazine's R&B Singles chart and number eight on Hot 100 chart before the year's end.[2]

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Berry's version number 128 on its list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[3] The song is also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll".[4]

The Beatles versionEdit

"Rock and Roll Music"
 
Belgian single picture sleeve (1965)
Song by the Beatles
Released
RecordedOctober 18, 1964
StudioEMI, London
GenreRock and roll
Length2:30
Label
Songwriter(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s)George Martin

The Beatles performed the song in many of their early Hamburg shows, and also played it on the BBC program Pop Go The Beatles. In late 1964, exhausted from non-stop touring and recording and short of original material, they decided to record several of their old rock and rhythm and blues favorites to fill out their LP release Beatles for Sale.[citation needed]

John Lennon provided the vocal. In contrast to Berry's even-toned rendition, Lennon sang it as loudly and dynamically as his voice would permit.[citation needed] In the U.S., it was released on the LP Beatles '65. The song was part of the set list for the group's final tour in 1966;[citation needed] the performance from their show of June 30 at the Nippon Budokan was included in 1996's Anthology 2 – and was also performed during the Get Back/Let It Be Sessions in January 1969. It also served as the title song to the Beatles' 1976 compilation album Rock 'n' Roll Music.

Credits for the piano vary. The original Beatles for Sale liner notes, by Derek Taylor, state that "George Martin joins John and Paul on one piano", implying an overdub by all three that was added after the basic take.[6] In the 1988 book The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn described the recording as a single take with no overdubs, with "all The Beatles on their familiar instruments" and Martin on piano.[7]

In some countries, "Rock and Roll Music" was released as a single, with "I'm a Loser" as the B-side, in early 1965. It topped the charts in Norway,[8] Sweden[9] and Australia.[10] The single peaked at number two in Germany[11] and the Netherlands, and number three in Belgium.[12]

The Beach Boys versionEdit

"Rock and Roll Music"
 
Single by the Beach Boys
from the album 15 Big Ones
B-side"T M Song"
ReleasedMay 24, 1976 (1976-05-24)
Format7-inch 45 RPM
Recorded1976
GenreRock, rock and roll
Length2:29
LabelBrother/Reprise
Songwriter(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s)Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Sail On, Sailor"
(1975)
"Rock and Roll Music"
(1976)
"It's O.K."
(1976)

The Beach Boys' version includes the use of backing vocals which repeat the phrase "Rock, roll, rockin' and roll".[citation needed] There is a difference between the LP version and the single version in that the LP version has more synthesizer.[citation needed] Their version reached No. 5 on the US chart and No. 11 in Canada during the summer of 1976.[13]

ChartsEdit

Weekly charts

Chart (1976) Peak
position
Canada RPM Top Singles[14] 11
UK[citation needed] 36
US Billboard Hot 100[15] 5
US Cash Box Top 100[16] 11

Year-end charts

Chart (1976) Rank
Canada[17] 112
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 81

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c The Chess Box (Box set booklet). Chuck Berry. Universal City, California: Chess Records/MCA Records. 1988. pp. 29, 31. CHD3-80,001.CS1 maint: others (link) CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). "Chuck Berry". Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 41. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  3. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. No. 963. U.S. December 9, 2004. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008.
  4. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 1995. Archived from the original on 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  5. ^ Howlett, Kevin; Mike Heatley (2008). "Beatles for Sale – Historical Notes". Beatles for Sale (CD liner). The Beatles. Capitol Records. p. 16. 0946 3 82414 2 3.
  6. ^ "Album Liner Notes: Beatles for Sale". Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  7. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York City: Harmony Books. p. 50. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
  8. ^ "The Beatles – Rock and Roll Music (song)". norwegiancharts.com. April 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "Swedish Charts 1962 – March 1966/Kvällstoppen – Listresultaten vecka för vecka > Mars 1965" (PDF). hitsallertijden.nl (in Swedish). Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  10. ^ "Australian Number One Hits 1960s". World Charts. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "The Beatles Single-Chartverfolgung (in German)". musicline.de. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  12. ^ "The Beatles – Rock and Roll Music". ultratop.be. April 23, 2019.
  13. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image: RPM Weekly". bac-lac.gc.ca.
  14. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". March 30, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  15. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  16. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 7/31/76". tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  17. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  18. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1976/Top 100 Songs of 1976". www.musicoutfitters.com.

External linksEdit