Too Much Monkey Business

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"Too Much Monkey Business"
Single by Chuck Berry
from the album After School Session
B-side"Brown Eyed Handsome Man"
ReleasedSeptember 1956 (1956-09)[1]
RecordedApril 16, 1956[2]
StudioUniversal Recording Corp. (Chicago)[3]
GenreRock and roll, rhythm and blues
LabelChess (1635)[1][2]
Songwriter(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s)Leonard Chess, Phil Chess[2]
Chuck Berry singles chronology
"Roll Over Beethoven"
"Too Much Monkey Business"
"You Can't Catch Me"

"Too Much Monkey Business" is a song written and recorded by Chuck Berry, released by Chess Records in September 1956 as his fifth single. It was also released as the third track on his first solo LP, After School Session, in May 1957; and as an EP.[1] The single reached number four on Billboard magazine's Most Played R&B In Juke Boxes chart, number 11 on the Most Played R&B by Jockeys chart and number seven on the R&B Top Sellers in Stores chart in the fall of 1956.[4][5]


"Too Much Monkey Business" was recorded at Universal Recording Corporation in Chicago, Illinois on April 16, 1956. The session was produced by Leonard Chess and Phil Chess. Backing Berry were Johnnie Johnson (piano), Willie Dixon (double bass), and Fred Below (drums).[2]

Cover versions[edit]

Elvis Presley recorded a cover of the song during a warm-up at the sessions for Stay Away, Joe[6] and later released the song on Elvis Sings Flaming Star in 1969.

Several British invasion bands recorded cover versions of "Too Much Monkey Business". The Beatles recorded their version on September 3, 1963, with John Lennon on vocals; it aired on the BBC Light Programme Pop Go the Beatles on September 10. This recording was released on the album Live at the BBC in 1994.[7] The Hollies recorded the song for their second album, In The Hollies Style, in November 1964. The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton used the song to open up their performance at the Marquee Club, which was released on Five Live Yardbirds. The Kinks recorded their version for their self-titled debut album in 1964; it was one of two songs by Berry on the album, the other being "Beautiful Delilah". The Youngbloods released a version of the song on their 1967 album, Earth Music.[8] Swedish group Shakers reached number 4 on Tio i Topp and number 10 on Kvällstoppen with their version in mid-1965.[9]

Influences on other songs[edit]

"Too Much Monkey Business" was an influence on Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues".[10] The glam rocker Johnny Thunders paid tribute to Berry's song in "Too Much Junkie Business", a mix of "Pills" (by Bo Diddley) and Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business". Berry's song was the basis for KMFDM's song "Too Much", released on their compilation album 84–86. The song influenced Michael Jackson's "Monkey Business" from his album Ultimate Collection (2004), which contains the lyric "too much monkey business".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Rudolph, Dietmar. "A Collector's Guide to the Music of Chuck Berry: The Chess Era (1955-1966)". Retrieved 2009-09-03.
  2. ^ a b c d Gold (CD liner notes). Chuck Berry. Geffen Records/Chess Records. 2005. pp. 21, 27. 0602498805589.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ "The Chuck Berry Database Details For Recording Session: 19. 4. 1956". A Collector's Guide to the Music of Chuck Berry. Dietmar Rudolph. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  4. ^ "Chuck Berry - Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2006). The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B and Hip-Hop Hits. New York: Billboard Books.
  6. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998
  7. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1992). The Complete Beatles Chronicle. Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-60033-5.
  8. ^ The Youngbloods, Earth Music Retrieved May 20, 2015
  9. ^ Hallberg, Eric (193). Eric Hallberg presenterar Kvällstoppen i P 3: Sveriges radios topplista över veckans 20 mest sålda skivor 10. 7. 1962 - 19. 8. 1975. Drift Musik. ISBN 9163021404.
  10. ^ Hilburn, Robert (2009). Cornflakes with John Lennon. Rodale. pp. 256. ISBN 978-1-59486-921-1.