Rock And Roll Music

“Rock And Roll Music” is a cover song by the Fab Four from their album “Beatles For Sale”. Originally sung by Chuck Berry, The Beatles would often sing this song on stage as part of their live repertoire right through until they finished touring.

In Detail

Albums

Release Date: December 4, 1964 (UK), 15 December, 1964 (US)
Recorded: 18th October, 1964
Genre: Rock and roll
Track Duration: 2:30
Record Label: Parlophone (UK)
Songwriter: Chuck Berry
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Performers

John Lennon: lead vocals, also rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: bass guitar
George Harrison: lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums
George Martin: piano

Track Sources

Beatles For Sale
Live At The BBC
Anthology 2

Rock And Roll Music

In the Autumn of 1957, Chuck Berry took “Rock And Roll Music” into the American charts where it peaked at number eight in the Billboard Hot 100. The Beatles were great fans of Chuck Berry, so the Fab Four began to sing it while gigging. Indeed, they covered more Chuck Berry songs than from any other artist.

John Lennon

The Beatles would often sing cover songs in their early days when they had the name of The Quarrymen.

Rock And Roll Music is a cover song by The Beatles on their Beatles For Sale album

Beatles For Sale Album (1964)

Rock And Roll Music is a Beatles cover song which is also on their Live At The BBC album

Live At The BBC Album (1994)

Rock And Roll Music is a cover song by The Beatles on their Anthology 2 album

Anthology 2 Album (1996)

This song, together with their other cover songs, would obviously help establish the band while building up a faithful fan base. In general, John Lennon would sing the rip-roaring Chuck Berry numbers. The notable exception being “Roll Over Beethoven” that George Harrison sang. However, this one had John Lennon written all the way through it.

In late 1964, The Beatles were running short of original material. This is because the non-stop touring and extensive recording duties took it’s toll. This meant that they needed to rely on some old rock and R&B for their next album, “Beatles For Sale”. Of course “Rock And Roll Music” fitted the bill perfectly.

Recording Studio

The Beatles started recording “Rock And Roll Music” on the 18th October, 1964, in Studio Two at the EMI Studios in London during the 2.30pm-11.30pm session. The band were obviously familiar with the song having performed it so many times, only one take was necessary.

We simply don’t know whether overdubbing began during these sessions, if any, because there is a slight disagreement about the piano playing. The notes on “Beatles For Sale” say “George Martin joins John and Paul on one piano” which suggests an overdub occurred. On the other hand, Mark Lewisohn says in the 1988 book, “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions”, “all The Beatles on their familiar instruments” and Martin on piano, suggesting that there was no overdubbing.

Be that as it may, it was a hectic marathon session overall that day with the band recording many other tracks such as “I’ll Follow The Sun” and “I Feel Fine“.

In the early 1960’s, The Beatles would record shows for BBC Radio and they recorded the song for many of those programmes. Indeed, they sang it for the BBC’s Saturday Club which broadcast on the 26th December, 1964. They recorded that particular show the 25th November, 1964, and that version appears on the 1994 album, “Live At The BBC”. That album also has many alternative cover versions of Chuck Berry’s songs from the Fab Four.

There is another Beatles’ version of this song on their 1996 album, Anthology 2. This is a live recording from the Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan on the 30th June, 1966.

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About Bobby

I have been a Beatles fan since the early 1960s so I speak from my heart and soul. It was a pleasure to accept the role of Editor on The Beatles Forum when we left our old site. If you feel that something needs correcting with the information I provide, please contact me.

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