Music Literature Film Index About

Chuck Berry Is on Top, Chuck Berry

Chess Records, July, 1959

Track Listing: 1. Almost Grown, 2. Carol, 3. Maybellene, 4. Sweet Little Rock & Roller, 5. Anthony Boy, 6. Johnny B. Goode, 7. Little Queenie, 8. Jo Jo Gunne, 9. Roll Over Beethoven, 10. Around and Around, 11. Hey Pedro, 12. Blues for Hawaiians

“Maybe some day your name will be in lights”

-fromJohnny B. Goode

All hail the king! Slip a coin in the jukebox and let her rip.

“I got the rockin’ pneumonia
I need a shot of rhythm and blues”

-fromRoll Over Beethoven

It’s movement—Go! Go! Go!—rolling to the rhythm, rocking to the blues, hips swaying, toe’s tapping, finger’s snappin’, heads-a-boppin’. No sitting still here. Shake! Shake! Shake!

“If she can dance we can make it
C’mon queenie, let’s shake it
Go, go, go, little queenie
Go, go, go, little queenie
Go, go, go, little queenie”

-fromLittle Queenie

A twist and twirl, a spin and a grin, a push and pull, a twist and shout! Come on, come on!

“Meanwhile, I was still thinkin’
If it’s a slow song, we’ll omit it
If it’s a rocker, that’ll get it
And if it’s good, she’ll admit it
C’mon queenie, let’s get with it!”

-fromLittle Queenie

It is a comet. A mighty rush. It is how it feels to be cruising with the top down in a Cadillac Coupe de Ville racing along the windswept Route 66 days of youth. To be king. King of the road. King of rock and roll. All hail the king!

“I saw Maybellene in a Coupe de Ville
A Cadillac a-rollin’ on an open road
Nothing will outrun my V-8 Ford
The Cadillac doin’ about ninety-five
She’s bumper to bumper, rollin’ side by side”


Of course, every king needs his queen. It’s all about the girl. Always, the girl.

“I got my eye on a little girl
Ah, she’s really out of this world
And I take her to a dance
We started to talk about romance”

-fromAlmost Grown

It’s a wink and a nod. I’ll pick you up at eight, don’t be late! The motor’s running. It’s a beep-beep! Be-bop-a-lula.

“Climb into my machine so we can cruise on out
I know a swinging little joint where we can jump and shout
It’s not too far back off the highway, not so long a ride
You park your car out in the open, you can walk inside”


It’s sock hops and soda fountains, cigarettes and rolled up T’s. Bowling alleys, bar rooms, drive-ins, drive-throughs.

It’s a jukebox triggering a much anticipated move.

“Well if you feeling’ like it
Go get your lover
Then roll and rock it
Roll it over and move on up just
A trifle further and reel and rock with it
Roll it over, Roll over Beethoven
Dig these rhythm and blues”

-fromRoll over Beethoven

With a full tank and Long Tall Sally in toe, this party is on, baby. It only pauses momentarily in between songs or at red lights, but even then, engines rev up the night as jittery feet prep to push the gas full throttle. Anticipation builds in congruence with the anxious exhale of exhaust pipes. Places to be, places to be! Ride, Sally, ride!

“You know, my temperature’s risin’
The jukebox blowin’ a fuse
My heart’s beatin’ rhythm
And my soul keep-a-singin’ the blues”

-fromRoll over Beethoven

No invite required. It didn’t matter who you were, what the color of your skin was, or where you were from. Anyone could join the party.

“Well they never stopped rockin’
’Till the moon went down”

-fromAround and Around

Best part? Hard to say. The party is still rockin’. Maybe the best part’s yet to come.

Let’s do this! C’mon, c’mon!