500 Greatest Songs of All Time
Chuck Berry, 'Roll Over Beethoven'
Producers: Leonard and Phil Chess
Released: May '56, Chess
5 weeks; No. 29
"I wanted to play the blues," Chuck Berry told Rolling Stone. "But I wasn't blue enough. We always had food on the table." Berry originally wrote this guitar anthem as an affectionate dig at his sister Lucy, who spent so much time playing classical music on the family piano that young Chuck couldn't get a turn. But "Roll Over Beethoven" became the ultimate rock & roll call to arms, declaring a new era: "Roll over, Beethoven/And tell Tchaikovsky the news." Berry announced this changing of the musical guard with a blazing guitar riff and pounding piano from sidekick Johnnie Johnson.
Appears on: The Anthology (Chess)