Chuck Berry covers

On this day in 1963, at London’s Olympic Studios, the Rolling Stones recorded what would be their first single. As was common for aspiring British bands at the time, it was a Chuck Berry number. Anyone know which one?

The Rolling Stones also covered ‘Beautiful Delilah’, as, I’m sure you know only too well, did a certain Cambridge band called Jokers Wild.

Which are your favourite Chuck Berry songs, as covered by other acts? This page from Chuck Berry’s official website might help.

When I got to thinking about it, although it shouldn’t have taken much thought nor come as a surprise, there are several notable cover versions of the same songs. So, let me know which you like best; I’ve included some links for you.

– ‘Brown-Eyed Handsome Man’: Buddy Holly and The Crickets, Paul McCartney, Nina Simone

– ‘Carol’: The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Status Quo

– ‘Johnny B. Goode’: Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Sex Pistols

– ‘Memphis, Tennessee’: The Animals, Rod Stewart and the Faces, Johnny Winters

– ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’: Eddie Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Vee

– ‘You Never Can Tell’: Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance

Today is also Donovan’s birthday, another artist whose songs have been covered habitually and the ‘Cosmic King of the Sixties’, as he has been labelled. Perhaps you can play some of his gentle, airy tunes in honour of one of the finest, most naturally-talented poets and influential composers I can think of. This is one of my favourites, although ‘Mellow Yellow’ somehow seems so appropriate today, and has done since the early hours of Friday morning. Funny, that.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

37 thoughts on “Chuck Berry covers”

  1. Pingback: Topsy.com
  2. I am not as familiar with either of these artists as I should be, which is too bad.

    Family history re: Donovan. Probably around 20 years ago, my brother and his fiancee had a very nasty break-up. Because the fiancee went to see Donovan in concert, wound up meeting him after the show, and they… uh… became consenting adults.

  3. My favourite Chuck Berry Covers…

    Bye, Bye Johnny (Johnny B. Goode) by Status Quo… which is co-incidentally the Fedmeister’s favourite band… 8|

    Talkin’ Bout You by Dr. Feelgood

    It would probably be easier to list bands and artists who haven’t done a Chuck Berry cover. 🙂

    1. ‘Lo All.

      I can remember my Granddad “Dissing” this tune for being provocative. It was banned By The AUTHORITIES. In 1972. I never understood the context of it. ‘Til “later”. Wonder what Old Grammpy would be grumbling at nowadays, eh?

      P.S. Have they fixed that Oil leak yet? LOL. That’s gonna help, eh! Wonder if BP are starting to count their pen… Oh… Billions yet? Still its a good excuse to “Hike” fuel prices, in the UK probably? I’d like to read a report on why it blew up in the first place!

    2. Status Quo… which is co-incidentally the Fedmeister’s favourite band… 8|

      Now, you know that my favourite band is Radiohead… 😉

  4. Well just out of obscurity, I shall say John Denver did a cover of Berry’s ‘Johnny B. Goode’.

    I used to be a John Denver fan when I was a little kid, that is why I keep bringing his name up and I don’t think that many knew that he did the above mentioned cover song.

  5. And widening the scope a tad…

    Who can forget the dance sequence in Jack Rabbit Slim’s to “Teenage Wedding” from Pulp Fiction?

    C’mon… own up! You’ve tried to copy the dance… 8)

  6. Seeing as Angus Young & co have always performed dressed in short pants on stage, I’ll choose ‘School Days’ by AC/DC. :))

    Here, I would mention ‘Oh Carole’ by Johnny Hallyday.

    I think I know the first Rolling Stones single, but I have cheated, so it doesn’t count. The song title has two words; first letter, ‘C’ and last letter, ‘N’. Exact?

    As for Donovan, am I the only one to think that he sounds a bit like Bob Dylan?

    1. The song title has two words; first letter, ‘C’ and last letter, ‘N’. Exact?

      You’re absolutely right… you little cheat, you. 😉

  7. Would that single be Around and Around? The song was on The Stones 12×5 album in the US. I loved You Can’t Catch Me on The Rolling Stones, Now! which was released the following year, but my favorite cover from that album would have to be of Willie Dixon’s Little Red Rooster. 8)

    Happy birthday to Donovan! I have many favorites but this has got to be one of his best:

    “When I look out my window,
    Many sights to see.
    And when I look in my window,
    So many different people to be
    That it’s strange, so strange.
    You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
    You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
    You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
    Mmmm, must be the season of the witch.”

    Ain’t that just the truth? 8|

    Peace, y’all~
    Gabrielle

  8. My first guess that the Rolling Boulders probably did was “Maybellene”.

    My favourite has to be Johnny B. Goode.

  9. Hey, FEd ~

    I stumbled across this whilst reminiscing with Donovan’s songs. Turquoise is a beautiful song. Joan Baez did a really nice cover of it as well. The back story of John Lennon’s portable jukebox sounds intriguing to me — I want to know more details! 😀

    Must do more stumbling around…

    G

    1. …came across this groovy blast from the past: Donovan backed by The Jeff Beck Group. 😀

      Okay, back to Chuck Berry. As much as I like covers of his songs, it’s hard to beat the originals. Songs like Maybellene, Johnny B. Goode, No Particular Place To Go, Nadine, Rock and Roll Music, and Brown-Eyed Handsome Man are so unique with their vignette-style snappy lyrics. Nobody does them better than Chuck, in my humble opinion.

    2. The back story of John Lennon’s portable jukebox sounds intriguing to me — I want to know more details! 😀

      Absolutely, that’s news to me.

      This is a good start.

    3. Thanks for that, FEd!

      “How fantastic would it be to hear Otis Redding’s ‘My Girl’ or Bob Dylan’s ‘Positively 4th Street’ and not have their ecstatic inventions clogged with lazy over-familiarity, their innate beauty chipped away at by a million half-listens coughed-up through TV adverts, retro radio and shit films? Imagine how great it would be to hear the truly awesome Fontella Bass lean into the chorus of ‘Rescue Me’, particularly the part where she half-moans, half-cries “I’m lown-lee!” and not immediately think of the cretinous Whoopi Goldberg and her crucifyingly unfunny flick ‘Sister Act’.”

      It was great hearing these songs pouring out of a little transistor radio in their unadulterated form. Happily I had the pleasure of listening to these great songs before they were sold into slavery and coughed up for crap adverts and shit films! :))

      Thanks again for the link and the excuse to be nostalgic! You know how much I love nostalgia. 8)

    4. Okay, just one more.

      This is Joan Baez and her sister, Mimi Farina, covering Donovan’s Catch The Wind. Two angelic voices…

    5. And what a beautiful lyric. I don’t think a hopeless cause has ever been summed up quite so strikingly.

  10. Hands down for me it’s Johnny B. Goode by Marty McFly (with the Starlighters). One of the all-time classic guitar solos.

    And let’s not forget Surfin’ USA (Sweet Little Sixteen)!

  11. FEd, I’ll answer you question…

    On this day in 1963, at London’s Olympic Studios, the Rolling Stones recorded what would be their first single. As was common for aspiring British bands at the time, it was a Chuck Berry number. Anyone know which one?

    “Come On” was the A-side of the The Rolling Stones’ first single, released on 7 June 1963.

    Here’s a few other Chuck covers to peruse…

    Maybellene – Steve Howe (The Syndicats – 1964)
    No Particular Place to Go – George Thorogood and The Destroyers
    Rock and Roll Music – The Beatles, Manic Street Preachers
    Roll Over Beethoven – ELO, The Beatles

    Just one more season to go and The Mighty Whites will be playing your boys in the Prem again. 😛 😉

    …assuming you don’t get relegated, of course!!! 😀

    1. :)) Of course. What a dismal season it’s been for Liverpool. I’m glad it’s over.

      Well done, Leeds. It’s good to see them moving up through the divisions to where they (soon) should be.

  12. Thanks for the video, FEd and belated Happy Birthday to Donovan. 🙂

    This is one of my favourite Donovan songs.

  13. I love this clip of Chuck Berry and Keith (hope he lives to be 100) Richards playing ‘Oh Carol’.

  14. I love all the Beatles and Stones covers of Chuck Berry best of all, especially “Too Much Monkey Business” (The Beatles).

  15. As a native Virginian who relocated to California, I’ve always had a soft spot for Berry’s “Promised Land,” especially the early 70s Grateful Dead versions.

    “Left my home in Norfolk, Virginia, California on my mind…”

  16. I have a 7″ of Keith Richards doing Run Rudolph Run. Great version.

  17. well fed, i finally listened to all the songs you linked to and my faves are:

    ‘brown-eyed handsome man’: nina simone
    ‘carol’: beatles
    ‘johnny b. goode’: jimi hendrix
    ‘memphis, tennessee’: rod stewart and the faces
    ‘sweet little sixteen’: bobby vee
    ‘you never can tell’: ronnie lane’s slim chance

    best ever chuck berry cover is ‘beautiful delilah’ by jokers wild of course!

  18. Different strokes for different folks! My all time Chuck Berry cover is ‘Johnny B Goode’: Jimi Hendrix with ‘Brown Eyed Handsome Man’: Nina Simone running a close second.

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