97: Chuck Berry and The Beatles

March 20, 2017

Podcast, Podcasting

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The esteem held by The Beatles for Chuck Berry is obvious if one considers that they performed more songs penned by him than any other single artist. This musical icon’s shadow looms large: as a performer – as a songwriter – as a guitarist. Not for no reason were his songs among the first learned by aspiring rock guitarists, and the Beatles were no exception. In this show, Robert and Richard examine the admiration they had for him and how it manifested itself through the years. 

Songs include “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music.” 

Find Richard’s books here.

Find Robert’s books here.

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    13 Responses to “97: Chuck Berry and The Beatles”

    1. Littlelady Says:

      Dudes, you lost me at at about 0:27 mins and you start bagging Yoko. Whatever your opinion, it was pretty damming.


    2. WingsJer Says:

      Great show guys. RIP Chuck. My fave solo Beatles covers of Chuck are “You Can’t Catch Me” on “Rock and Roll” and “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” on “Run Devil Run”. Many think Chuck “jumped the shark” with “My Ding A Ling” as it was once voted on a music poll years ago as the worst #1 single in Billboard chart history…. I am guessing the “Macarena” has since replaced it…..


    3. Tish Casey Says:

      You made a slight reference to the way Chuck manipulated words in his songs, but that is a large part of his appeal to me.
      In “My Ding a Ling” he talks about the vestibule. Who else would rhyme “school” and “vestibule” in a rock song.
      He was “motorvatin” over the hill in “Maybelline”
      He talked about going to the “Calaboos” in another song.
      Only a very intelligent guy would know that term, which comes from the Spanish for jail.
      His phrasing and word play were just fabulous.
      He wasn’t writing “moon” “spoon” and “June”, which probably was incredibly appealing to a wordy guy like John.
      I enjoy your podcasts. Thanks.


      • Dave S Says:

        My Ding-a-Ling was a cover song written by Dave Bartholmew and was charted on the R&B charts in 1952. Recently, I was listening to a very old Pee Wee Clayton record from the fifty’s of whom Chuck has sighted as a big influence and sure enough you can hear the double stop guitar style that sounds like it could be Chuck Berry playing. I believe that CB even reappropriated Pee Wee’s “Blues After Hours” for his song “Low Feeling” on the LP “On Dozen Berrys”. The point is, even geniuses steal, and make no mistake, Chuck Berry was a towering musical and poetic genius. He was steeped in poetry from a very early age and poetry was openly recited and encouraged. Truely, one of the world’s greatest entertainers.


    4. Bill Says:

      Very interesting to hear the warm-up session between Chuck and his English audience before launching into “My Ding-A-Ling.” I knew there was an edit after “We must do our alma mater” but it is funny to hear the whole thing. I wonder if this is the longest time ever he spent rehearsing his accompanists.


    5. Robert Says:

      The Beatles covered Chuck Berry more than any artists(if you include BBC albums) – it was a total of 9 recordings. This is a bit more than Carl Perkins and Larry Williams amongst others. I find it bizarre that the media (eg Rolling Stone magazine last week in their tribute) make no mention of how greatly the Beatles were inspired by Chuck Berry. They mentioned The Doors, Beach Boys etc being influenced by Berry, but nothing on the Beatles. Surely it is time to draw the linkage between The Beatles and Berry.


    6. J Neo Marvin Says:

      I think you meant T-Bone Walker, not T-Bone Burnette. Fascinating episode, nonetheless.


    7. J Neo Marvin Says:

      Actually those lyrics are:

      Pay phone, something wrong, dime gone, will mail
      I ought to sue the operator for telling me a tale.


    8. Scott Says:

      According to Aaron Krerowicz research, The Beatles performed 31 songs of Elvis Presley, live in concert, before hitting it big in 1963/64,… and 14 songs by Gene Vincent, 13 by Carl Perkins, 13 by Buddy Holly,.. 4 by Eddie Cochran, 11 by Little Richard,….. so how many songs by Chuck Berry?


      • Us Says:

        “Written by” is the key here. Elvis was not a writer, and therefore, the 31 is spread over an array of songwriters. They are known to have performed no less that 15 Berry originals, possibly more.

        While Elvis inspired them to rock, along with the attitude and – to a certain extent – the look, Chuck’s influence was deeper, as a lyricist as well as an overall musician and guitarist.


    9. Esteban Horio Says:

      Absolutely pent written content, regards for selective information. “The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly.” by Corra Harris.


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