Chuck Berry - Maybellene

First performance: 28/04/1973


Coverinfo

Bruce covered the song only once: 
 
1973-04-28 - COLE FIELD HOUSE, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK, MD
 
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.
 

Songinfo

"Maybellene" is one of the first rock and roll songs. It was written and recorded in 1955 by Chuck Berry, and inspired/adapted from the Western Swing fiddle tune "Ida Red", which was recorded in 1938 by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Berry's song tells the story of a hot rod race and a broken romance. It was Berry's first single and his first hit. "Maybellene" is considered one of the pioneering rock songs.
 
 
  

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.
 
Bruce had 3 performances together with Chuck Berry:

1995-09-02 Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, OH
The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inauguration concert
 
 
 
1987-01-21 Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, NY
The second annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony. 

1973-04-28 Cole Field House, University Of Maryland, College Park, MD
One show, triple bill, with Chuck Berry headlining, [Lee Lewis]] second billed and Bruce and the boys 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. The show was Bruce's first known appearance in Maryland. Bruce and the boys opened their part of the show with a 50-minute set, followed by a 60-minute set by Jerry Lee Lewis and his band. Chuck Berry (with Springsteen's entire band backing him, including Bruce and Southside Johnny) closed the evening's festivities with a 70-minute performance. Springsteen recounts some hilarious details in the 1987 Chuck Berry documentary Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, but does not mention Southside Johnny’s appearance. Fearing that Berry might not want a harp player Bruce positioned Southside in the shadows at the extreme end of the stage. However Berry enjoyed the harp playing and near the end of the show he actually acknowledged Southside to the crowd saying "that white boy can blow, can’t he!" This almost sold out gig in the 15,000 seat Cole Field House was not without some controversy. Such was the demand to see the show that the school newspaper reported that twenty people were arrested when police spotted individuals sneaking into the concert via an open female lavatory window at the back of the building. Apparently 200-300 people made it in before the police caught wind of what was going on. 
 
List of songs co-credited to Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Berry:
 
   

Lyrics

Maybellene, why can't you be true?
Oh Maybellene, why can't you be true?
You done started doin' the things you used to do

As I was motorvatin' over the hill
I saw Maybellene in a Coupe de Ville
A Cadillac a-rollin' on the open road
Nothin' will outrun my V8 Ford
The Cadillac doin' about ninety-five
She's bumper to bumper, rollin' side by side

Maybellene, why can't you be true?
Oh Maybellene, why can't you be true?
You done started back doin' the things you used to do

The Cadillac pulled up to a hundred and four
The Ford got hot and wouldn't do no more
It then got cloudy and started to rain
I tooted my horn for the passin' lane
The rainwater blowin' all under my hood
I know that I was doin' my motor good

Maybellene, why can't you be true?
Oh Maybellene, why can't you be true?
You done started back doin' the things you used to do

[Solo guitar]

Oh Maybellene, why can't you be true?
Oh Maybellene, why can't you be true?
You done started back doin' the things you used to do

The motor cooled down, the heat went down
And that's when I heard that highway sound
The Cadillac a-sittin' like a ton of lead
A hundred and ten half a mile ahead
The Cadillac lookin' like it's sittin' still
And I caught Mabellene at the top of the hill

Maybellene, why can't you be true?
Oh Maybellene, why can't you be true?
You done started back doin' the things you used to do