Roll Over Beethoven

Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry)

  • 19 Sep 15:34
  • 3 lists

"Roll Over Beethoven" is a 1956 hit single by Chuck Berry originally released on Chess Records, with "Drifting Heart" as the B-side. The lyrics of the song mention rock and roll and the desire for rhythm and blues to replace classical music. The song has been covered by many other artists and Rolling Stone ranked it #97 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

According to Rolling Stone and Cub Koda of Allmusic, Berry wrote the song in response to his sister Lucy always using the family piano to play classical music when Berry wanted to play contemporary popular music.

In addition to classical composers Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, the lyrics mention or allude to several popular artists. "Early in the Mornin'" is the title of a Louis Jordan song and "Blue Suede Shoes" refers to the Carl Perkins song. Finally, "Hey Diddle Diddle" which comes from the nursery rhyme, "The Cat and the Fiddle", is an indirect reference to Berry's Chess stablemate Bo Diddley, who was an accomplished violin player. Although the lyrics mention rocking and rolling, the music that the classics are supposed to step aside for is always referred to as "rhythm and blues" (R&B). Arthur Alexander...


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