YMMV / Chuck Berry

  • Covered Up:
    • Dave Bartholomew originated "My Ding-a-Ling" in 1952. Berry's hit live version Covered Up his 1968 studio version ("My Tambourine").
    • "Memphis, Tennessee" is unusual since everyone knows it's a Chuck Berry song, but it didn't become a hit until Lonnie Mack's 1963 instrumental version and the 1964 Johnny Rivers take (which used Mack's arrangement). Basically every version of the song since then uses the Mack/Rivers arrangement instead of Berry's original.
  • Ear Worm
  • Epic Riff: All over the place. Berry's tunes were some of the first to be based on catchy riffs, often played in a call and response pattern with the vocals.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • His original 1959 version of "Memphis, Tennessee", with its rhythm guitar emphasizing off-beats and a busy bass line, sure sounds a lot like early Reggae. His vocal on the song also sounds a little like Paul Simon at times.
    • Louis Jordan's 1949 hit "Ain't That Just Like a Woman" was obviously very influential on Berry, especially that opening guitar solo. Berry frequently credited Jordan as one of his musical heroes, and eventually did a Cover Version of "Ain't That Just Like a Woman".
    • The lyrics of "Downbound Train" are a slightly rewritten version of an anonymous poem that dates to the early part of the 20th century.
  • Periphery Demographic: He became a popular choice for Country Music Cover Versions starting in The '60s. Buck Owens ("Johnny B. Goode"), Waylon Jennings ("Brown Eyed Handsome Man"), George Jones ("Maybellene", with Johnny Paycheck), Emmylou Harris ("You Never Can Tell") and Mel McDaniel ("Let It Roll (Let It Rock)") all had Top 10 hits with Berry covers. He even got inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1982.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • He sued over the similarities of "Surfin' USA" to "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Come Together" to "You Can't Catch Me".
    • As "Surfin' USA" was to "Sweet Little Sixteen", "Sweet Little Sixteen" was to "Route 90" by Clarence Garlow.
    • Berry acknowledged that "Maybellene" was a rewrite of the old country song "Ida Red".
    • "It's My Own Business" is one to "Mind Your Own Business" by Hank Williams.
  • Values Dissonance: "Little Queenie," which describes a girl who's "too cute to be a day over seventeen." Note that he was actually arrested for his relationship with a 14 year old girl.
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