Sunday, January 03, 2010

Versions: Roll Over Beethoven

One of my many weaknesses is music videos. I enjoy watching videos of my favorite often-obscure songs online , occasionally catching some unknown version by another performer, or even a talented amateur. The one song that defines the original rock and roll is Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven." Berry wrote the song in response to his sister Lucy always using the family piano to play classical music when Chuck wanted to play modern "rhythm and blues." The song was released in 1956 by Chess Records.

Here's the man himself.

Another popular version was recorded by the Beatles in 1963 for their second British album, With the Beatles.

The version that I remember enjoying most as a teenager was by ELO in 1973. Besides the great version of the song, I love Jeff Lynne's vocals.

Of course, there are also terrible versions of Chuck Berry's song out there. I understand poor amateur performances -- enthusiasm and energy make them at least sympathetic. But how do you forgive professional, reasonably talented performers who ruin the song? Answer: you don't.

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