You Never Can Tell (song)
|"You Never Can Tell"|
|Song by Chuck Berry from the album St. Louis to Liverpool|
|Recorded||December 1957–August 1964, Chess Studios, Chicago|
|Genre||Rock and roll|
|Producer||Leonard Chess, Philip Chess|
"You Never Can Tell", also occasionally referred to as "C'est La Vie" or "Teenage Wedding", is a rock and roll song written by Chuck Berry. It was composed in the early 1960s while Berry was in federal prison for allegedly violating the Mann Act. The song was originally released in 1964 on the album St. Louis to Liverpool, and has also been recorded or performed by Chely Wright, John Prine, New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Jerry Garcia Band, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and Emmylou Harris.
The song describes a wedding between a young couple and the events afterwards. Living in a modest apartment, the jobless young man finds work and, together with his spouse, they find prosperity. They use the money to expand their music collection and eventually purchase a family car to drive to New Orleans to celebrate their anniversary, where they had originally met. The chorus of the song is "'C'est la vie,' say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell." The melody was influenced by Mitchell Torok's 1953 hit "Caribbean".
The song became briefly popular again for a time in 1994 after the release of the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction. The music was played for a dance contest in which John Travolta as Vincent Vega and Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace danced for the contest's main prize. The music added an evocative element of sound to the narrative and Tarantino said that the song's lyrics of "Pierre" and "Mademoiselle" gave the scene a "uniquely 50's French New Wave dance sequence feel".
Emmylou Harris version
|"(You Never Can Tell) C'est La Vie"|
|Single by Emmylou Harris|
|from the album Luxury Liner|
|Released||February 2 1977|
|Emmylou Harris singles chronology|
Emmylou Harris' remake of "You Never Can Tell" - entitled "(You Never Can Tell) C'est La Vie" - served as the lead single from the January 1977 album release Luxury Liner, Harris' Warner Bros label debut.
Early in her career Harris had sung Chuck Berry songs as a member of a DC-based folk oriented trio: her decision to record "...C'est La Vie" was the result of her listening extensively to rock-&-roll oldies while on the road.  The track, which features a prominent Cajun fiddle contribution by Ricky Scaggs, was recorded in an August 10 1976 session in Beverly Hills, being recorded in the Enactron Truck, the mobile studio owned and operated by Harris' producer Brian Ahern: the same session yielded the track "Hello Stranger" which would serve as the B-side for "...C'est La Vie" in its single release.
Released February 2 1977, "...C'est La Vie" rose as high as #6 on C&W chart in Billboard that April. The track also became Top Ten hit in the Netherlands and also the Flemish Region of Belgium, with respective peaks of #4 and #5, also charting in Germany at #41.
In a 2013 interview Harris cited "...C'est La Vie" as a song she'd lost interest in: "'C’est la Vie' was a wonderful song to do, and I might [perform] it for nostalgic reasons, but it just lost its appeal for me after a while. I didn’t feel that I was bringing anything to it, I guess."
- 1974 Ronnie Lane, on Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance
- 1975 John Prine, on Common Sense
- 1975 Loggins and Messina, on So Fine
- 1976 New Riders of the Purple Sage, on New Riders
- 1981 Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, on Leather and Lace
- 1984 Ian A. Anderson and Mike Cooper, on The Continuous Preaching Blues
- 1985 Bill Wyman's "Willie and the Poor Boys" featuring Charlie Watts, Andy Fairweather-Lowe, Mickey Gee, Geraint Watkins
- 1993 Aaron Neville, on The Grand Tour
- 1994 Bob Seger, on Greatest Hits (as "C'est La Vie")
- 1996 Status Quo, on Don't Stop
- 2005 Chely Wright, on The Metropolitan Hotel (as "C'est La Vie (You Never Can Tell)")
- 2005 Texas Lightning, on Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (as "C'est La Vie")
- 2008 Roch Voisine, on Americana
- 2010 The Morlocks, on Play Chess
- 2013 Bruce Springsteen, on the Wrecking Ball tour, in Germany
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