Rock and Roll Music

This article is about the song. For the general style of music, see Rock music. For the specific genre of music, see Rock and roll. For the compilation album by The Beatles, see Rock 'n' Roll Music (The Beatles album).
"Rock and Roll Music"
Single by Chuck Berry
from the album One Dozen Berrys
B-side "Blue Feeling"
Released September 1957 (1957-09)[1]
Format 7" 45-RPM, 10" 78-RPM
Recorded May 6 or 15, 1957, Chicago, Illinois[2]
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:30
Label Chess 1671[1][2]
Writer(s) Chuck Berry
Producer(s) Leonard Chess, Phil Chess[2]
Chuck Berry singles chronology
"Oh Baby Doll"
(June 1957)
"Rock and Roll Music"
(September 1957)
"Sweet Little Sixteen"
(January 1958)

"Rock and Roll Music" is a 1957 hit single written and recorded by rock and roll icon Chuck Berry. The song has been widely covered and is recognized as one of Berry's most popular and enduring compositions.[3] In the fall of 1957, his recording reached number 6 on Billboard magazine's R&B Singles chart and number 8 on its Hot 100 chart.[4]

The song has been recorded by many well-known artists, including Bill Haley & His Comets, the Beatles, the Beach Boys (who had a top ten hit with the song on the Hot 100 in 1976),[5] REO Speedwagon, Mental As Anything, Humble Pie, Manic Street Preachers and Bryan Adams. Berry performed it on December 16, 1957, on ABC's short-lived variety program The Guy Mitchell Show.

The film Backbeat derived its title from the Berry's lyric in "Rock and Roll Music": "Just let me hear some of that rock 'n' roll music / Any old way you choose it / It's got a back beat, you can't lose it."

Single track listings

Chess 7" single

Side one
  1. "Rock and Roll Music"
Side two
  1. "Blue Feeling"

Chess 7" EP

Side one
  1. "Rock and Roll Music"
  2. "Blue Feeling"
Side two
  1. "Oh Baby Doll"
  2. "La Jaunda"

Chess 7" maxi single

Side one
  1. "Rock and Roll Music"
Side two
  1. "Johnny B. Goode"
  2. "School Days"

Golden 45 7" Single

Side one
  1. "Rock and Roll Music"
Side two
  1. "Sweet Little Sixteen"



The sessions for "Rock and Roll Music" took place on either May 6 or May 21, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. The session was produced by Leonard Chess and Phil Chess. Backing Berry were Lafayette Leake (piano), Willie Dixon (bass), and Fred Below (drums).[2]

Release and chart performance

Sometime after the single was released in September 1957,[1] "Rock and Roll Music" reached #6 on Billboard magazine's R&B Singles chart and #8 on the Billboard Top 100 chart before the year's end.[4]


On December 9, 2004 Rolling Stone magazine ranked Berry's version number 128 on its list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[6] The song is also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.[7]

The Beatles' version

"Rock and Roll Music"

The Belgian single release of the song, backed with "I'm a Loser"
Song by The Beatles from the album Beatles for Sale
Released December 4, 1964 (1964-12-04)[8]
Recorded 18 October 1964
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:30
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Chuck Berry
Producer(s) George Martin

The Beatles performed the song in many of their early Hamburg shows, and also played it on the BBC show Pop Go The Beatles. In late 1964, exhausted from non-stop touring and recording and short of original material, they decided to record several of their old rock and rhythm and blues favorites to fill out their LP release Beatles for Sale. Among these was a version of Berry's tune that eventually became as well known as the original. The lead vocal in The Beatles' version was performed by John Lennon. In contrast to Berry's even-toned rendition, Lennon sang it as loudly and dynamically as his voice would permit. In the United States, it was released on the LP, Beatles '65. The song was part of the set list for the group's final tour in 1966 - the performance from their June 30 show at the Nippon Budokan was included in 1996's Anthology 2 - and was also performed during the Get Back/Let It Be Sessions in January 1969.

It also served as the title song to The Beatles' 1976 compilation album, Rock 'n' Roll Music.

The Beatles' version of "Rock and Roll Music" was released as a single in some countries, and topped the charts in Finland, Norway, the Netherlands (double a-side with "No Reply") and Australia.


Personnel according to The Beatles Bible[9]

Sources have varied in crediting the piano on the track. The original Beatles for Sale liner notes, by Derek Taylor, said that "George Martin joins John and Paul on one piano", implying an overdub by all three that was added after the basic take.[10] In the 1988 book The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn described the recording as a single take with no overdubs, with "all The Beatles on their familiar instruments" and Martin on piano.[11] The tape engineer for the session, Geoff Emerick, provided yet another account in his 2006 book; he recalled that McCartney played piano while Harrison covered on bass and that the only overdub was for double-tracking Lennon's vocal.[12]

The Beach Boys' version

"Rock and Roll Music"
Single by The Beach Boys
from the album 15 Big Ones
B-side "T M Song"
Released May 24, 1976
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded 1976
Genre Rock
Length 2:29
Label Brother/Reprise
Writer(s) Chuck Berry
Producer(s) Brian Wilson
The Beach Boys singles chronology
"Sail On, Sailor"
"Rock and Roll Music"
"It's O.K."

The Beach Boys' version is notable for the use of backing vocals which repeat the phrase "Rock, roll, rockin' and roll." There is a difference between the LP version and the single version in that the LP version has more synthesizer. Their version reached number 5 on the US chart and number 11 in Canada during the summer of 1976.[13]



  1. 1 2 3 Rudolph, Dietmar. "A Collector's Guide to the Music of Chuck Berry: The Chess Era (1955–1966)". Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Anthology (CD liner). Chuck Berry. United States: Geffen Records/Chess Records. 2005. pp. 21, 27. 0602498805589.
  3. "Chuck Berry: Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. 1926-10-18. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  4. 1 2 "Chuck Berry: Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  5. "The Beach Boys: Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  6. Jann S. Wenner, ed. (December 9, 2004). "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. United States (963). Archived from the original on June 22, 2008.
  7. "The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010.
  8. Howlett, Kevin; Mike Heatley (2008). "Beatles for Sale - Historical Notes". Beatles for Sale (CD liner). The Beatles. Capitol. p. 16. 0946 3 82414 2 3.
  9. "The Beatles Bible: Rock and Roll Music". Retrieved 2009-04-15.
  10. "Album Liner Notes: Beatles for Sale". Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  11. Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 50. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
  12. Emerick, Geoff; Massey, Howard (2006). Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles. New York: Gotham. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-1-59240-179-6.
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