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Roll Over Beethoven

The history of this classic Beatles song

By

A reissue of

A reissue of "Roll Over Beethoven" on Capitol

source: rateyourmusic.com

Roll Over Beethoven

Written by: Chuck Berry
Recorded: July 30, 1963 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: August 21 and October 29, 1963
Length: 2:40
Takes: 8
Musicians: John Lennon: rhythm guitar (1958 Rickenbacker 325)
Paul McCartney: bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
George Harrison: lead vocal (double-tracked), lead guitar (1962 Gretsch 6122 "Country Gentleman")
Ringo Starr: drums (1963 Black Oyster Pearl Ludwig kit)
Released on: (CDs in bold)
  • With The Beatles, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1206; PCS 3045, Parlophone CDP 7 46436 2, US: Capitol CLJ 46436)
  • The Beatles' Second Album, (US: Capitol (S)T 2080, Capitol CDP 7243 8 66877 2 2)
History:
  • A big hit for Chuck Berry in the summer of 1956 (Chess 1626), "Roll Over Beethoven" was a recognized rock standard by the time the Beatles had begun recording it for With The Beatles. Indeed, it's one of the oldest songs in their repertoire, going back to the individual bands the members had before the Beatles as we know them came into existence.
  • Given to George to sing, this cover is noticeably clunkier than the original, due partly to George's flubbing of the opening guitar line and Ringo's odd double-beat bass drumming, not present in the original.
Live versions: July 1962 and others (Cavern Club, Liverpool, England), December 25 and 28, 1962 (Star-Club, Hamburg, Germany), October 24, 1963 (Karlaplansstudion, Stockholm, Sweden, for "Pop '63, February 11, 1964 (Washington Coliseum, Washington, D.C), April 19, 1964 (IBC studios, London, for Around The Beatles), June 4, 1964 (K.B. Hallen Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark), June 12-13, 1964 (Centennial Hall, Adelaide, Australia), June 15-17, 1964 (Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia), August 21, 1964 (Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, WA), August 22, 1964 (Empire Stadium, Vancouver, BC), August 23, 1964 (Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA), September 2, 1964 (Convention Hall, Philadelphia, PA), September 3, 1964 (State Fair Coliseum, Indianapolis, IN)
BBC versions: 7 (for the BBC radio programs Steppin' Out, Pop Go The Beatles, Here We Go and From Us To You)
Trivia:
  • As with many other British singers who've covered this song, George mistakenly mishears the original's line "Move on up just a trifle further" as "Move on up, just, try for further." He also seems to claim that he "think I got it off the writer sitting down by the rhythm revue," instead of "rolling arth-r-itis sitting down at a rhythm revue" and later claims that "she winks," rather than "wriggles," like a "glowworm."
  • This cover version is one of the songs playing as Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve) attends his high school reunion in the 1983 film Superman III. This is perhaps because the film was directed by Richard Lester, who also directed the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night and Help!
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