What Chuck Berry Thought of The Beatles’ Cover of ‘Rock and Roll Music’

TL;DR:

  • Paul McCartney revealed Chuck Berry was a huge influence on The Beatles’ songs.
  • Berry commented on The Beatles as a whole and their cover of “Rock and Roll Music” in particular.
  • The Beatles’ “Rock and Roll Music” appeared on a hit album.
Chuck Berry holding a guitar
Chuck Berry | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

During their early career, The Beatles covered Chuck Berry‘s “Rock and Roll Music.” Berry revealed what he thought of The Beatles as artists. He also explained what he thought about the cover.

Paul McCartney revealed how The Beatles reacted to Chuck Berry’s songs

Paul McCartney posted an article on his website describing Berry’s impact on The Beatles’ songs. “From the first minute we heard the great guitar intro to ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’ we became fans of the great Chuck Berry,” he revealed. “His stories were more like poems than lyrics — the likes of ‘Johnny B. Goode’ or ‘Maybellene.'”

The Beatles saw Berry as almost supernatural. “To us he was a magician making music that was exotic yet normal at the same time,” Paul recalled. “We learnt so many things from him which led us into a dream world of rock ‘n’ roll music. Chuck was and is forevermore one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest legends all over the world.” Paul said he couldn’t put into words how much the “Johnny B. Goode” singer meant to the Fab Four.

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Chuck Berry revealed he loved the Fab Four’s ‘Rock and Roll Music’

According to the book A Walk Down Abbey Road, Berry said The Beatles were geniuses. He also praised The Beatles’ rendition of “Rock and Roll Music.” “I thought it was wonderful,” he said.

Subsequently, Berry discussed how The Beatles’ copied the work of others. “One thing that The Beatles did when they copied other artists, they laid with not only the feeling but the music which was great because you can recognize it right off that it’s the original artist’s number,” he said. “It’s like The Beatles playing from the written scroll which is great because everybody recognizes it.”

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The way listeners in the United States reacted to the original ‘Rock and Roll Music’ and The Beatles’ cover

The original “Rock and Roll Music” hit No. 6 on Billboard‘s R&B chart. Berry released the track on the album Chuck Berry’s Greatest Hits. Chuck Berry’s Greatest Hits reached No. 34 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 21 weeks.

The Beatles never released their version of “Rock and Roll Music” as a single off the album Beatles for Sale, so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The cover appeared on the similarly-titled album Rock ‘n’ Roll Music. That album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 30 weeks.

The Beatles’ “Rock and Roll Music” appeared on a popular album and Berry himself enjoyed it.

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