Chuck Berry: 20 Essential Songs

"Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven" and other masterpieces that laid the groundwork for rock & roll as we know it

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"Carol" (1958)

Berry blends protective advice ("Oh, Carol, don't let him steal your heart away") with good-natured innuendo ("Come into my machine so we can cruise on out") in this hard-grooving 1958 gem, inspired by the high-school-age daughter of a woman the singer-songwriter was involved with. Berry's assistant, Francine Gillium, looked after the girl, and as he wrote in his autobiography, the situation helped him greatly in the writing of the song. "Discussing her teenage environment with Francine was much help in putting 'Carol' together," he wrote. "Details from my schooling like meat-loaf and potatoes costing only 5 cents and a notebook with paper for 12 cents were far outdated. Whereas some guy stealing another boy's girl was a thing that hadn't changed any."

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