Dave Bartholomew - MY DING-A-LING

First performance: 28/04/1973


Bruce covered the song once. 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. 


"My Ding-a-Ling" is a song first recorded by Dave Bartholomew in 1952 but it was Chuck Berry who made the song famous in 1972 and became his only number-one Billboard Hot 100 single in the United States. Later that year, in a longer unedited form, it was included on the album The London Chuck Berry Sessions. When Bartholomew moved to Imperial Records, he re-recorded the song under the new title, "Little Girl Sing Ting-a-Ling". Berry recorded a version called "My Tambourine" in 1968. In the live Berry version, Berry makes the chorus a call-and-response, in which the women in the audience sing “my” and the men respond by shouting "ding-a-ling!" Many radio stations refused to play it. British morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse tried unsuccessfully to get the song banned. In Icons of Rock, Scott Schinder calls the song "a sophomoric, double-entendre-laden ode to masturbation". The song is based on the melody of the 19th century folk song "Little Brown Jug". 

Other cover versions


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.


When I was a little biddy boy
My grandmother bought me a cute little toy
Silver bells hangin' on a string
She told me it was my ding-a-ling-a-ling!
Oh, my ding-a-ling, my ding-a-ling
I want you to play with my ding-a-ling!
My ding-a-ling, my ding-a-ling
I want you to play with my ding-a-ling!
Then momma took me to Sunday school
They tried to teach me the golden rule
Ev'rytime the choir would sing
I'd take out my ding-a-ling-a-ling!
Oh, my ding-a-ling...
And then momma took me to Grammar school
But I stopped off in the vestibule
Ev'ry time that bell would ring
Catch me playin' with my ding-a-ling-a-ling!
Oh, my ding-a-ling...
Once I was climbin' the garden wall
I slipped and had a terrible fall
I fell so hard I heard bells ring
But held on to my ding-a-ling-a-ling!
Oh, my ding-a-ling...
I remember the girl next door
We used to play house on the kitchen floor
She'd be the queen, I'd be the king
And I let her play with my ding-a-ling-a-ling!
Oh, my ding-a-ling...
Once I was swimmin' 'cross Turtle Creek
Man, them snappers all around my feet
Sure was hard swimmin' 'cross that thing
With both hands holdin' my ding-a-ling-a-ling!
Oh, my ding-a-ling...
The girl downstairs, she's a big and bold
Grandma warned me, she's too old
She used to take me swingin' in a schoolyard swing
Swing down and take my ding-a-ling-a-ling!
Oh, my ding-a-ling...
This here song it ain't so sad
The cutest little song you ever had
Those of you who will not sing
You must be playin' with your own ding-a-ling!
Oh, your ding-a-ling, oh, your ding-a-ling
We saw you playin' with your ding-a-ling!
Well, my ding-a-ling, everybody sing
I want to play with my ding-a-ling!
My ding-a-ling, my ding-a-ling
I want to play with my ding-a-ling!