Chuck Berry - ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN

First performance: 14/05/1971


Coverinfo

Bruce covered the song 8 times :
 
1971-05-14 - SUNSHINE IN, ASBURY PARK, NJ
Performed by Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom . It was one show, triple bill. This is the first of only two performances ever of Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom (the other show was outdoors the following day). Much of the long-standing confusion about how many Dr. Zoom shows were performed stems from the fact that some people count the March-April gigs as Dr. Zoom events, while others don’t count them. Technically speaking they weren’t Dr. Zoom shows, but they did contain most of the musicians and the same party-like atmosphere. The members of Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom were Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt (guitar), David Sancious (keyboards), Garry Tallent (bass), Vini Lopez(drums and backing vocals), Southside Johnny (harmonica and vocals), Bobby Williams (drums), Albee 'Albany Al' Tellone (tenor saxophone), and Bobby Feigenbaum (alto saxophone). There was also an eight-member backing vocal troupe nicknamed "The Zoomettes", consisting of Jeannie Clark, Robin Nash, Connie Manser, Fifi Longo, Sherl Tallent, Kevin Kavanaugh, Steve Large, and John Luraschi. The MC was Kevin "Bird" Connair. Big Danny Gallagher handled the on-stage props. Danny Federici was not involved in the Dr. Zoom shows.
 
 


The ten-song setlist has been culled from a document (in Bruce’s handwriting) that is probably the song schedule for this debut Dr. Zoom gig.
 
 
1973-04-28 - COLE FIELD HOUSE, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK, MD (Chuck Berry)
One show, triple bill, with Chuck Berry headlining, Jerry Lee Lewis second billed and Bruce and the band opening. A show now steeped in legend. Berry's contract stipulated that it was the promoter's responsibility to supply him with a backing band for this concert. Apparently Bruce learned about a week before the show that the promoter was seeking a group to support Berry and immediately volunteered his band's services for free, which the promoter gladly accepted. There was no rehearsal or soundcheck with Berry, so Bruce and the boys improvised as best they could. Sadly there is no known audio of this show. 
 
1990-10-29 - TOM PETTY'S HOUSE, SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, CA
Played at the Tom Petty’s House in 1990 with various Heartbreakers, Roger McGuinn, Jeff Lynne, and others.
 
2002-04-14 - THE STONE PONY, ASBURY PARK, NJ (Rumson Country Day School Benefit)
 
2003-06-25 - ERNST-HAPPEL-STADION, VIENNA, AUSTRIA
as a snippet during Ramrod. 
 
2009-10-25 - SCOTTRADE CENTER, ST. LOUIS, MO
 
2015-05-30 - PRIVATE ESTATE, OAKLAND, NJ (wedding reception)
He played the song at the wedding of Kelly Kilbride and Ryan O'Toole at a private estate in Oakland, NJ. Kelly is Patti's personal assistant.  
 
2017-04-21 - PARAMOUNT THEATRE, ASBURY PARK, NJ (Upstage Jam)
Bruce, Southside Johnny, Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, and more come together on stage as the Upstage Jam Band for a show that took place as part of the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival. In the afternoon the documentary Just Before The Dawn, about the legendary Upstage Club, received its premiere. 
 

Songinfo

"Roll Over Beethoven" is a 1956 hit single written by Chuck Berry. The title of the song is an imperative directed at the composer Ludwig van Beethoven to roll over in his grave in reaction to the new genre of music that Berry was promoting. According to Rolling Stone, Berry wrote the song in response to his sister Lucy always using the family piano to play classical music when Berry wanted to play popular music.
 
 
 

Bruce on the artist

When Chuck Berry died Bruce tweeted :

"Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived. This is a tremendous loss of a giant for the ages."
Springsteen and Berry played together on at least two occasions. As back up at the University of Maryland in 1973. Springsteen asked what songs they were going to do. Berry said : " we're going to do some Chuck Berry songs." More than 20 years later, Springsteen again played backup for Berry, at a concert at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, celebrating the opening of the Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame.
 
 
 

Lyrics

Well I'm-a write a little letter
I'm gonna mail it to my local D.J.
Yeah and it's a jumpin' little record
I want my jockey to play
Roll over Beethoven
I gotta hear it again today

You know my temperature's risin'
The jukebox's blowin' a fuse
My heart beatin' rhythm
And my soul keep-a singing the blues
Roll over Beethoven
And tell Tchaikovsky the news

I got the rockin' pneumonia
I need a shot of rhythm and blues
I caught the rollin' athritis
Sittin' down at a rhythm review
Roll over Beethoven
They rockin' in two by two

Well if you feel and like it
Go get your lover then reel and rock it
Roll it over then move on up, yes-a
Try for further then
Reel and rock with one another
Roll over Beethoven
And dig these rhythm and blues

Well early in the mornin'
And I'm givin' you my mornin'
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes
Hey diddle-diddle, I'm-a play my fiddle
Ain't got nothing to lose
Roll over Beethoven
And tell Tchaikovsky the news

You know she wiggle like a glow worm
Dance like a spinnin' top
She got a crazy partner
You oughta see 'em reel an rock
Long as she got a dime
The music will never stop

Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
And dig these rhythm and blues