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"
Released September 1956 (1956-09)[1]
Format 7" 45 RPM, 10" 78 RPM
Recorded April 16, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois[2]
Genre Rhythm and blues, rock and roll
Length 2:56
Label Chess 1635[1][2]
Writer(s) Chuck Berry
Producer(s) Leonard Chess, Phil Chess[2]
Chuck Berry singles chronology
"Roll Over Beethoven"
(May 1956)
"Too Much Monkey Business"
(September 1956)
"You Can't Catch Me"
(November 1956)

"Too Much Monkey Business" is a song written and performed by Chuck Berry. It was released as Berry's fifth single in September 1956 for Chess Records, and appeared as the third track on Chuck's first solo LP, After School Session in May 1957, as well as the EP of the same name.[1] The song reached #4 on Billboard magazine's "Most Played In Juke Boxes" chart, as well as #11 on the "Most Played by Jockeys" and #7 on the "Top Sellers in Stores" charts in 1956.[3][4]


"Too Much Monkey Business" was recorded on April 16, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois. The session was produced by the Chess brothers, Leonard and Phil, and backing Berry (vocals, guitar) were Johnnie Johnson (piano), Willie Dixon (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[5] and later released the song on Elvis Sings Flaming Star in 1969.

Many British Invasion bands recorded cover versions of "Too Much Monkey Business". The Beatles recorded their version of the song September 3, 1963, with John Lennon on vocals; it aired on the BBC Light Programme Pop Go the Beatles on September 10. The song was later released on the album Live at the BBC in 1994.[6] The Hollies used the song to open side two of their second LP, In The Hollies Style, in November 1964. The Yardbirds featuring Eric Clapton used the song to open up their performance at the Marquee Club, which was released on Five Live Yardbirds. The Kinks version on their self-titled debut album in 1964 was one of two Chuck Berry songs on the album, the other being "Beautiful Delilah". The Youngbloods released a version of the song on their 1967 album, Earth Music.[7] Eric Clapton did a cover version of this song on an album of the same name, released in 1984 on Astan records.[8] This album did not chart.[9]

The Beatles version[edit]

The Beatles played the song on many of their BBC performances, one of them being included on the Live at the BBC album, which was recorded on September 3, 1963.


Influences on other songs[edit]

The song was a heavy influence on Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues".[10] Punk rocker Johnny Thunders paid tribute to this song through his song titled "Too Much Junkie Business," which is a mix of "Pills" by Bo Diddley, and "Too Much Monkey Business." KMFDM also honored this song in "Too Much," released on their 84–86 compilation album. The song influenced Michael Jackson's "Monkey Business" which contains the line "Too Much Monkey Business" in the hook of the song. This song was released on Michael Jackson's Ultimate Collection in 2004.


  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). Chuck Berry. United States: Geffen Records/Chess Records. 2005. pp. 21, 27. 0602498805589 |url= missing title (help). 
  3. ^ "Chuck Berry - Billboard Singles". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 3, 2010. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B and Hip-Hop Hits. New York, NY: Billboard Books, 2006. Print.
  5. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998
  6. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1992). The Complete Beatles Chronicle. Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-60033-5. 
  7. ^ The Youngbloods, Earth Music Retrieved May 20, 2015
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Hilburn, Robert (2009). Cornflakes with John Lennon. Rodale. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-59486-921-1.