Chuck Berry - SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN

First performance: 28/04/1973


Coverinfo

Bruce covered the song 24 times :
 
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.
 
  • Darkness on the edge of town tour 
1978-08-01 - GAILLARD MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM, CHARLESTON, SC
1978-08-05 - LOUISVILLE GARDENS, LOUISVILLE, KY
1978-08-10 - ROCHESTER COMMUNITY WAR MEMORIAL, ROCHESTER, NY
1978-08-14 - HAMPTON ROADS COLISEUM, HAMPTON, VA
 
  • The River Tour 
1980-11-01 - LOS ANGELES MEMORIAL SPORTS ARENA, LOS ANGELES, CA
Guest appearance by Jackson Browne on the tour premiere (and the last concert performance) of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen".

  • Off-Tour
1980-08-16 - THE FORUM, INGLEWOOD, CA (Jackson Browne)
1982-06-20 - THE STONE PONY, ASBURY PARK, NJ (Cats on a Smooth Surface)
1982-06-27 - THE STONE PONY, ASBURY PARK, NJ (Cats on a Smooth Surface)
1982-07-23 - EAST FREEHOLD SHOWGROUNDS, FREEHOLD, NJ (Sonny Kenn)
1982-07-31 - BIG MAN'S WEST, RED BANK, NJ (Sonny Kenn)
1983-07-16 - THE HEADLINER, NEPTUNE, NJ (Midnight Thunder)
1983-08-02 - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK CITY, NY (Jackson Browne)
1987-08-02 - THE STONE PONY, ASBURY PARK, NJ
1989-06-30 - BALLY'S, ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (Jackson Browne)
1989-07-23 - THE STONE PONY, ASBURY PARK, NJ (Cats on a Smooth Surface)
1989-07-27 - THE HEADLINER, NEPTUNE, NJ (The Fabulous Greaseband)
1989-09-23 - McLOONE'S RUM RUNNER, SEA BRIGHT, NJ
1989-09-29 - MATT'S SALOON, PRESCOTT, AZ (Mile High Band)
1989-12-17 - VENTURA THEATER, VENTURA, CA (Clarence Clemons)
 

Songinfo

"Sweet Little Sixteen" is a song written and first recorded by Chuck Berry, who released it as a single in January 1958.
The Beach Boys' 1963 song "Surfin' U.S.A." features lyrics by Brian Wilson set to the music of "Sweet Little Sixteen." Under pressure from Berry's publisher, Wilson's father and manager, Murry Wilson, gave the copyright, including Brian Wilson's lyrics, to Arc Music.
 
 
 

Bruce on the artist

Bruce on the song :

10.08.78 Rochester, NY, intro to "Sweet Little Sixteen"

"...I got a sister....in California....she just turned 16 and got her driver´s license.....and my mother´s always calling me up complaining ´cause she´s skipping school....and she´s doing everything that me and my sister, my older sister used to do.....so, here´s, here´s all the way to her..." 
 
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

They're really rockin' in Boston
In Pittsburgh, PA
Deep in the heart of Texas
And round the Frisco Bay
All over St. Louis
And down in New Orleans
All the cats wanna dance with
Sweet little sixteen

Sweet little sixteen
She's just got to have
About a half a million
Framed autographs
Her wallet filled with pictures
She gets 'em one by one
Become so excited
Watch her, look at her run, boy

"Oh mommy, mommy
Please may I go
It's such a sight to see
Somebody steal the show
Oh daddy, daddy
I beg of you
Whisper to mommy
It's all right with you"

Cause they'll be rockin' on Bandstand
Philadelphia, PA
Deep in the heart of Texas
And round the Frisco Bay
All over St. Louis
Way down in New Orleans
All the cats wanna dance with
Sweet little sixteen

Cause they'll be rockin' on Bandstand
Philadelphia, PA
Deep in the heart of Texas
And round the Frisco Bay
All over St. Louis
Way down in New Orleans
All the cats wanna dance with, oh
Sweet little sixteen

Sweet little sixteen
She's got the grown up blues
Tight dresses and lipstick
She's sportin' high heel shoes
Oh, but tomorrow morning
She'll have to change her trend
And be sweet sixteen
And back in class again

Well, they'll be rockin' in Boston
Pittsburgh, PA
Deep in the heart of Texas
And round the Frisco Bay
Way out in St. Louis
Way down to New Orleans
All the cats wanna dance with
Sweet little sixteen