Rock & Roll Music
Composer(s) : Chuck Berry
Year : 1957
Chords/Tabs: Rock & Roll Music
Rock and Roll Music
KEY A Major
------ 4X ------
Intro -> Refrain -> Verse -> Outro (complete ending)
COMPOSER Chuck Berry
INFLUENTIAL VERSION Chuck Berry (1957)
- Within this batch of six covers, this was clearly the "longest running"
number, still hanging in there at the bitter end of their touring days.
Along with "Twist and Shout", it is one of a very small number of *non*
original songs which might be described nonetheless as one of the group's
emblematic "anthems". Curiously though, this particular Chuck song
appears to have not been on the playlist of the Quarrymen era in spite
of the fact that they were already playing back then the likes of "Roll Over Beethoven", "Johnny B. Goode", and "Sweet Little Sixteen".
- While the harmonic material of this song is limited entirely to the
familiar I-IV-V of the blues, the formal schema used in both refrain
and verse are more flexible here than the rigid 12-bar formula we're
so used to finding in Berry's other songs. The refrain comes close to
the 8+4 sub-species of the 12-bar form, though a petit-reprise-like
repetition of the final half-phrase ("if you wanna dance with me")
rounds the section out to an unusual fourteen measures. The verse
is only eight measures long and harmonically opens *and* closes
on the V chord.
- The Beatles version follows the formal outline of the original, but
both the arrangement and John's vocal peformance suggest a harder-
driven interpretation of the song rather than a stylized impersonation.
Once having gotten used to the Beatles version as the default, I find
myself a bit "surprised" to rediscover how much more melodic and layed
back the original sounds in comparison.
- Beyond this, the two versions differ in a matter of some details. For
example, Chuck played it in the lower key of E (or is it E-flat -- the CD
re-issue from MCA is mastered at what sounds like off-speed), and there is
some variation in the scanning of the words (e.g. "*PI*an*O* versus
"pi*AN*o"). Note too how Chuck cues himself with a I chord at the
beginning, whereas the Beatles sensibly change this to V.
Ook op Beatles for Sale:
Ook op Live At The BBC:
(c) 2020 Serge Girard