Love That Rock ‘n’ Roll Music

icon - Rock N Roll GuitaristBy Judy Berman

“Just let me hear some of that rock and roll music, any old way you choose it. It’s got a back beat, you can’t blues it, any old time you use it.”

When I hear that tune, “Rock and Roll Music,” my first thought is of The Beatles. It shouldn’t. Their version came out in 1976. It was sung in 1957 – almost two decades before – by Chuck Berry, one of the many strong influences on The Beatles’ earlier works.

“Chuck Berry melded the blues, country, and a witty, defiant teen outlook into songs that have influenced virtually every rock musician in his wake,” according to Rolling Stone, “Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll.”

That was the appeal for this rebel without a cause. My love of rock and roll took on many forms: Buddy Holly, Motown and surfer music. But the ones that caused the biggest battle at home was the splatter tunes – the cheatin’ and the cryin’, the lyin’ and the dyin’ music.

Those tearjerkers – such as “Last Kiss” (1964) by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, and “Leader of the Pack” (1964) by the Shangri Las – had a short life-span when my Dad crossed the threshold of our home.

As soon as Dad’s car pulled into our driveway, I’d race to turn off the radio in our living room and retreat to my room to hear them.

Then, Mersey beaucoup. The reception was a bit warmer for The Beatles. On Feb. 7, 1964, the Four Lads from Liverpool crossed the pond and landed at New York’s Kennedy Airport. Several hundred thousand people jammed into the airport to welcome them. Two days later, they appeared on TV’s “The Ed Sullivan Show.”The British Invastion - The Beatles - Kennedy Airport - February 1964

Beatlemania was rampant. They were cheeky, fun and cute. Their songs – many of them upbeat – were great danceable rock ‘n’ roll tunes.

“I feel happy inside, it’s such a feeling that my love, I can’t hide …” (“I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles).

Quite a contrast to tunes where the girlfriend – or boyfriend – died, leaving a heartbroken teen behind.  I’m still trying to figure out the story behind “Teen Angel” (1959) by Mark Dinning and Alex Murray.

A teenage couple is riding in a car that stalls on the railroad tracks. The boy pulls his girlfriend to safety, but she runs back to the car and is killed by the train. In her hand, his ring. Why didn’t she have the ring on? Or, just get a new ring?

Me? I would have said, “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You” and “P.S. I Love You.” [Happy Valentines Day, honey.]

What music gets your heart – and feet – to skip a beat?

Video: Beatles arrive in U.S. – Feb. 7, 1964

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider,, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photo: Icon for rock music on Wikipedia. Silhouetted rock ‘n’ roll guitar player.

Photo – The Beatles – KennedyAirport – February 1964,_Kennedy_Airport,_February_1964.jpg

Video: Rock and Roll Music, Chuck Berry (1957)

Video: Last Kiss, J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers

Video: I’m Happy Just to Dance With You, The Beatles

Video: The Beatles, P.S. I Love You

  1. Loved them too! And am in the process of desperately trying to like my 12 year old grandson’s rap and heavy metal favourites 🙂

    1. Madhu, my Mom was usually a lot more receptive to my music. I do like some rap. It’s the sameness of it, whether it’s disco, “elevator” music, or rap, that I object to. When it has terrific musicality and danceability, I’m plugged in. In radio, I worked at a number of stations with different music formats and I was OK with that.

    1. The Beatles do have staying power. Many of my 7th grade students like them as well. Darla, I’m glad you love them, too. For me, no one has surpassed them. They just kept evolving musically and always held my interest.

  2. 1. Beatles
    2 Led Zep
    3 Doors
    4 Stones
    5 Joni Mitchell
    6 Judy Collins
    7. Melanie
    8 James Taylor
    9 Credence Clearwater
    10 Blues MaGoos
    11.Beautiful Day
    12 Quicksilver Messenger Service
    13. Grand Funk Railroad
    14 Bob Dylon

    1. This is my 9th year teaching at Central Middle School in West Melbourne, Florida. It’s a Title 1 school, diverse, low income, with some ESOL students (those whose first language is not English).

  3. I love your featured silhouette of Chuck Berry. Brings back lots of memories from when I was a kid. We would go to a night club in Benld, Ill. (about 40 miles NE of St. Louis, Mo.) and dance to music played by Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Ike and Tina Turner, Johnny Rivers, etc. Every Saturday night it was a different Rock ‘n’ Roll star; now they are legends. To see Chuck Berry do that in person was worth the price of admission ( $3.50/person in 1961). Chuck Berry is from St. Louis and is still alive and going. Eat your heart out Rolling Stones. As Bob Hope said, “Thanks for the memories…”

    1. Chuck Berry inspired many of those who followed in his rock ‘n’ roll footsteps. Love the energy. I envy you being able to see so many of those legends. I recall seeing Del Shannon of “Runaway” fame, and came THIS close to seeing Bobby Darin when he was in Atlantic City. My big regret is I never got to see a Beatles’ concert. Thanks for visiting and writing.

  4. I didn’t care for them right away, but as I’ve gotten older, I miss them. I think that’s called nostalgia. Can it really be I’m that old? Pfffftt!

    1. No way, Barb. I think many re”discover” their love for The Beatles because the music holds up so well. Some other groups briefly had my attention, but none replaced the Fab Four. 🙂

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