Episode Air Date: April 22, 2016
Artist: Chuck Berry
Recording Title: Roll Over, Beethoven
That riff can only mean one thing…you’re listening to Chuck Berry…and you’re on the Sound Beat. Okay, two things.
Hearing your daughter play classical music must be a tremendous joy for a parent…and perhaps a source of sheer torment for a sibling. Especially if said sibling is Chuck Berry, who reportedly wrote this song as a response to his sister monopolizing the family piano. He recorded it for Chess records in 1956. It’s the quintessential “us vs. them” song, a signal that the Beethovens and Tchaikovskys had been replaced by the Louis Jordans, Carl Perkins’ and Bo Diddleys. They’re all referenced, somewhat indirectly, in the song’s fourth verse.
If you missed the references, the “blue suede shoes” is a Carl Perkins nod, “Hey diddle-diddle” is a little Bo Diddley shout-out, and “Early in the mornin'”refers to the same-titled Louis Jordan song. Berry claimed that some of his most well-known riffs were inspired by those of Jordan’s guitarist Carl Hogan. Read more here.
And, of course, if you caught ‘em…good job.