Chuck Berry - Roll over Beethoven

First performance: 14/05/1971


Coverinfo

Bruce covered the song 7 times and once as a snippet :
 
1971-05-14 - SUNSHINE IN, ASBURY PARK
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 
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
Rumson Country Day School Benefit
 
 
 
 
2015-05-30 - PRIVATE ESTATE, OAKLAND, NJ 
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 
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. For this documentary Little Steven, Garry Tallent, Southside Johnny and Vini Lopez were all interviewed. For the show, Bruce mostly contributed guitar and backing vocals. He was not on stage for several additional songs not listed under. He took lead vocals for "Lucille" and duet vocals with Southside on "Something You Got". Vini Lopez takes lead vocals on the first performance since 1971 of "The Ballad Of Jesse James". 
 
 
 
 
  • Snippet
during RAMROD
 
2003-06-25 Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna, Austria
  

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.
 
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

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