Rock and Roll Music

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"Rock and Roll Music"
Single by Chuck Berry
from the album One Dozen Berrys
B-side"Blue Feeling"
ReleasedSeptember 1957 (1957-09)[1]
Format7" 45-RPM, 10" 78-RPM
RecordedMay 6 or 15, 1957, Chicago, Illinois[2]
GenreRock and roll
LabelChess 1671[1][2]
Songwriter(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s)Leonard Chess, Phil Chess[2]
Chuck Berry singles chronology
"Oh Baby Doll"
"Rock and Roll Music"
"Sweet Little Sixteen"

"Rock and Roll Music" is a 1957 hit single written and recorded by rock and roll star Chuck Berry. The song has been widely covered and is recognized as one of Berry's most popular and enduring compositions.[3] In the fall of 1957, his recording reached number 6 on Billboard magazine's R&B Singles chart and number 8 on its Hot 100 chart.[4]

The song has been recorded by many well-known artists. The Beatles' 1964 recording topped singles charts in Europe and in Australia, and the Beach Boys had a U.S. top ten hit with the song in 1976.[5] Other artists who have cover the song include Bill Haley & His Comets, Dickie Rock and the Miami Showband, REO Speedwagon, Mental As Anything, Humble Pie, Manic Street Preachers, and Bryan Adams. Berry performed it on December 16, 1957, on ABC's short-lived variety program The Guy Mitchell Show.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Berry's version number 128 on its list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[6] The song is also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.[7]

Chuck Berry original[edit]


The sessions for "Rock and Roll Music" took place on either May 6 or May 21, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. The session was produced by Leonard Chess and Phil Chess. Backing Berry were Lafayette Leake (piano), Willie Dixon (bass), and Fred Below (drums).[2]

Release and chart performance[edit]

Sometime after the single was released in September 1957,[1] "Rock and Roll Music" reached #6 on Billboard magazine's R&B Singles chart and #8 on the Billboard Top 100 chart before the year's end.[4]

Single track listings[edit]

Chess 7" single[edit]

Side one
  1. "Rock and Roll Music"
Side two
  1. "Blue Feeling"

Chess 7" EP[edit]

Side one
  1. "Rock and Roll Music"
  2. "Blue Feeling"
Side two
  1. "Oh Baby Doll"
  2. "La Jaunda"

Chess 7" maxi single[edit]

Side one
  1. "Rock and Roll Music"
Side two
  1. "Johnny B. Goode"
  2. "School Days"

Golden 45 7" Single[edit]

Side one
  1. "Rock and Roll Music"
Side two
  1. "Sweet Little Sixteen"

The Beatles version[edit]

"Rock and Roll Music"
Rock and Roll Music - The Beatles.jpg
The Belgian single release of the song, backed with "I'm a Loser"
Song by the Beatles
from the album Beatles for Sale
ReleasedDecember 4, 1964 (1964-12-04)[8]
Recorded18 October 1964
GenreRock and roll
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 show 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. Among these was a version of Berry's tune that eventually became as well known as the original. The lead vocal in the Beatles' version was performed by John Lennon. In contrast to Berry's even-toned rendition, Lennon sang it as loudly and dynamically as his voice would permit. In the United States, it was released on the LP Beatles '65. The song was part of the set list for the group's final tour in 1966 - the performance from their June 30 show 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.

The Beatles' version of "Rock and Roll Music" was released as a single in some countries. It topped the charts in Finland, Norway, the Netherlands (as double A-side with "No Reply"), Sweden[9] and Australia.[10] The single peaked at number 2 in West Germany.[11]


Personnel according to The Beatles Bible[12][better source needed]

Sources have varied in crediting the piano on the track. The original Beatles for Sale liner notes, by Derek Taylor, said that "George Martin joins John and Paul on one piano", implying an overdub by all three that was added after the basic take.[13] 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.[14] The tape engineer for the session, Geoff Emerick, provided yet another account in his 2006 book; he recalled that McCartney played piano while Harrison covered on bass and that the only overdub was for double-tracking Lennon's vocal.[15]

The Beach Boys version[edit]

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

The Beach Boys' version is notable for the use of backing vocals which repeat the phrase "Rock, roll, rockin' and roll." There is a difference between the LP version and the single version in that the LP version has more synthesizer. Their version reached No. 5 on the US chart and No. 11 in Canada during the summer of 1976.[16]




  1. ^ a b c Rudolph, Dietmar. "A Collector's Guide to the Music of Chuck Berry: The Chess Era (1955–1966)". Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Anthology (CD liner). Chuck Berry. United States: Geffen Records/Chess Records. 2005. pp. 21, 27. 0602498805589.
  3. ^ "Chuck Berry: Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. 1926-10-18. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  4. ^ a b "Chuck Berry: Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  5. ^ "The Beach Boys: Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  6. ^ Jann S. Wenner, ed. (December 9, 2004). "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. United States (963). Archived from the original on June 22, 2008.
  7. ^ "The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Howlett, Kevin; Mike Heatley (2008). "Beatles for Sale - Historical Notes". Beatles for Sale (CD liner). The Beatles. Capitol. p. 16. 0946 3 82414 2 3.
  9. ^ "Swedish Charts 1962–March 1966/Kvällstoppen – Listresultaten vecka för vecka > Mars 1965" (PDF) (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)". Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  12. ^ "The Beatles Bible: Rock and Roll Music". Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  13. ^ "Album Liner Notes: Beatles for Sale". Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  14. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 50. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
  15. ^ Emerick, Geoff; Massey, Howard (2006). Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles. New York: Gotham. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-1-59240-179-6.
  16. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly".
  17. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  18. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  19. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 7/31/76".
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1976/Top 100 Songs of 1976".

External links[edit]