Album: Chuck Berry is on Top.
Is there any sound more perfect than Chuck Berry’s guitar open to “Roll Over Beethoven?” We are almost 60 years from when he wrote and recorded that song, and yet the immediacy of his guitar intro – and that solo!! – is as powerful as ever. And that’s despite the fact that approximately 5,694,875,634 other guitarists have played that lick in the intervening decades!
And the words. While Chuck Berry wrote more than a few songs extolling the rock and roll music he was the real king of, the beauty of “Roll Over Beethoven” was that it was also a “fuck you” song to older forms of music, specifically classical.
I’m gonna write a little letter,
gonna mail it to my local DJ
It’s a rockin’ rhythm record
I want my jockey to play
Roll Over Beethoven, I gotta hear it again today
You know what? The day I’m writing this — nearly two weeks before you’re gonna read it — is a shitty day. One of the worst days I’ll ever have, as I got some really bad, life-altering news this morning. I’m only writing at all because I have a few minutes free — and it’s you know, what I do, I guess — and you know what? “Roll Over Beethoven,” a song that I’ve heard approximately 5,694,875,634 times in my life, is making me feel better.
Well, if you feel you like it
go get your lover, then reel and rock it
Roll it over and move on up just
a trifle further and reel and rock it,
roll it over,
Roll Over Beethoven rockin’ in two by two
That folks, is how you write a bridge in a rock ‘n’ roll song. Not only does it add extra momentum to the song, it’s damn good advice. Reel and rock it. Keep moving. Good advice in 1956. Good advice in 2015. Good advice forever and ever world without end amen.
“Roll Over Beethoven” performed Live