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Happy Birthday, Chuck!

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Bow Down Before The Master!

I can’t think of a single guitarist I’ve ever known in my life that didn’t do the duckwalk given half a chance. And I’ve never known a single guitarist that didn’t give all the credit to Chuck Berry. The first time I heard a full Chuck Berry album was in the summer of 1974. I was 14, and Big Bad Love was in the air. I’d heard the Stones, of course. Hearing that Chuck Berry album front-to-back meant I never quite thought as much of Mick and Keith as I did before. My teenage crush couldn’t understand why I wanted to just sit and stare at the speakers instead of French Kissing. Roll Over Beethoven was a sledge-hammer to my noggin, though, and I wasn’t doing anything until I’d heard everything I could. Twice.


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, my temperature’s risin’
and the jukebox blows a fuse.
My heart’s beatin’ rhythm
and my soul keeps on singin’ the blues.
Roll Over Beethoven and tell Tschaikowsky the news.

I got the rockin’ pneumonia,
I need a shot of rhythm and blues.
I think I’m rollin’ arthiritis
sittin’ down by the rhythm review.
Roll Over Beethoven rockin’ in two by two.

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.

Well, early in the mornin’ I’m a-givin’ you a warnin’
don’t you step on my blue suede shoes.
Hey diddle diddle, I am playin’ my fiddle,
ain’t got nothin’ to lose.
Roll Over Beethoven and tell Tschaikowsky the news.

You know she wiggles like a glow worm,
dance like a spinnin’ top.
She got a crazy partner,
oughta see ’em reel and rock.
Long as she got a dime the music will never stop.

Roll Over Beethoven,
Roll Over Beethoven,
Roll Over Beethoven,
Roll Over Beethoven,
Roll Over Beethoven and dig these rhythm and blues.

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About Scott Chaffin

  • Eric Olsen

    Chuck Berry is the essence of rock ‘n’ roll – everything that’s great about it and dangerous and strange. Whenever I think of Chuck, I think of the SNL skit from the ’70s where the time capsule comes back from space with the admonition: “Send more Chuck Berry.” Now that’s a tribute.

  • I love the overdriven blast from the first few notes of Maybelline. That’s rock & roll.