Thursday, May 21, 2009

Time to do some motivatin'

Chuck Berry, man. Give him a shout.

He went into the recording studio at Chess Records on this day in 1955 and came out with this:

Maybellene, why can't you be true?
Oh Maybellene, why can't you be true?
You've started back doing the things you used to do

"Maybellene'' was a reworked demo that began as "Ida Red'' and, in the hands of the duck-walking, guitar-scatting Berry, became a career-launching hit. It topped Billboard's R&B charts and rose to No. 5 on the rock list (making Berry the first African-American artist to crack the Top 10 in that category).

As Rolling Stone has succinctly noted, "Roll and Roll starts here.''

America was not entirely ready for the likes of Berry in 1955, and the influence of a powerful disc jockey like Allen Freed (who somehow shared the song-writing credit) cannot be understated. But Berry, well, he certainly didn't need much of a push.

As I was motivatin' over the hill
I saw Maybellene in a Coup de Ville.
A Cadillac a-rollin' on the open road
Nothin' will outrun my V8 Ford.
The Cadillac doin' 'bout ninety-five
She's bumper to bumber rollin' side by side

Motivatin' indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Chuck Berry not only invented rock'n'roll, he is also one of the greatest songwriters of all time.