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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"Roll Over Beethoven" (1956)

"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.

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