Chuck Berry ~ Maybellene
45 RPM record
photo by Styrous®
Chuck Berry died 3 days ago on March 18, 2017. This sent my memory back to the mid-fifties when I first heard his song, Maybellene. Of course, I had to dig out my 45 RPM recording of it as tribute to him.
I was still in Junior High (they call it middle school now) and i was listening to rhythm 'n blues, which originated in the 1940s, at the time. The song talked of hot rods and unfaithful love but with a fast, driving beat unlike any other rhythm song I'd heard before, I thought, "Wow, what is this?" I was snagged!
Berry was famous for his "Duckwalk" but it was years later that I actually saw him do it on television and was transfixed by it. I actually tried to do it but without success; could get the legs and walk part but just couldn't get the head to bob right. I tried the same thing decades later with the "Moonwalk" by Michael Jackson, also with no success. Oh, well!
Maybellene is one of the first rock-and-roll songs. It was written and recorded in 1955 by Berry, and inspired/adapted from the Western Swing fiddle tune, Ida Red, which was recorded in 1938 by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Ida Red is a country western song with instrumental breaks firmly based in jazz.
In 1988 Maybellene was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its influence as a rock-and-roll record. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included Maybellene in its list of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". In 1999, National Public Radio included it in the "NPR 100", the one hundred most important American musical works of the 20th century, chosen by NPR music editors. Maybellene is currently ranked as the 98th greatest song of all time, as well as the second best song of 1955, by Acclaimed Music. The song is ranked number 18 on the Rolling Stone list of "500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Recorded May 21, 1955
- Chuck Berry – vocals, guitar
- Johnnie Johnson – piano
- Willie Dixon – bass
- Jerome Green – maracas
- Jasper Thomas or Ebby Hardy – drums
Maybellene with lyrics on YouTube
Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys ~ Ida Red on YouTube
Styrous® ~ Tuesday, March 21, 2017