Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne

In syndication since 1986, and now in our 31st year — Over 3,100 questions answered
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FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 27, 2017

DEAR JERRY: Most Chuck Berry obituaries I've read refer to three or so of his songs that later became hits for other people. They overlook many of his other originals.

What is the total of Chuck's compositions that made a national Top 100 survey for someone else?

Other than those hits, how many of his tunes were included on charted albums?
—Teddy O'Sullivan, Terre Haute, Ind.

DEAR TEDDY: Apparently, the obit writers didn't anticipate your level of curiosity.

More than just a few of Chuck's tunes provided hit singles for other musicians. I count 14 different songs that accounted for 27 charted singles, from 1955 to 1983.

Berry's titles are alphabetical, with the artist, year, and peak Pop chart position, unless indicated as C&W or R&B:

1. "Back in the U.S.A." - Linda Ronstadt (1978) No. 11
2. "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" - Waylon Jennings (1970) No. 3 C&W
3. "Carol" - Tommy Roe (1964) No. 52
4. "Johnny B Goode" - Dion (1964) No. 66
4. "Johnny B Goode" - Buck Owens (1969) No. 1 C&W
4. "Johnny B Goode" - Johnny Winter (1970) No. 92
4. "Johnny B Goode" - Peter Tosh (1983) No. 84
5. "Little Queenie" - Bill Black's Combo (1964) No. 73
6. "Maybellene" - Jim Lowe (1955) No. 13 R&B
6. "Maybellene" (as "Maybelline") - Johnny Rivers (1964) No. 11
7. "Memphis, Tennessee" (as "Memphis") - Lonnie Mack (1963) No. 5
7. "Memphis, Tennessee" (as "Memphis") - Johnny Rivers (1964) No. 2
7. "Memphis, Tennessee" (as "Memphis") - Fred Knoblock (1981) No. 10 C&W
8. "Promised Land" (as "The Promised Land") - Freddy Weller (1970) No.3 C&W
8. "Promised Land" - Elvis Presley (1974) No. 14
9. "Reelin and Rocking" (as "Reelin' and Rockin'") - Dave Clark Five (1965) No. 13
10. "Rock and Roll Music" - Beach Boys (1976) No. 5
11. "Roll Over Beethoven" - Velaires (1961) No. 51
11. "Roll Over Beethoven" - Beatles (1964) No. 30
11. "Roll Over Beethoven" - Jerry Lee Lewis & Linda Gail Lewis (1970) No. 71 C&W
11. "Roll Over Beethoven" - Electric Light Orchestra (1973) No. 31
11. "Roll Over Beethoven" - Narvel Felts (1982) No. 64 C&W
12. "Sweet Little Sixteen" - Jerry Lee Lewis (1962) No. 95
12. "Sweet Little Sixteen" (as "Surfin' U.S.A.") - Beach Boys (1963) No. 36
(Brian Wilson's lyrics with Chuck Berry's music)
12. "Sweet Little Sixteen" (as "Surfin' U.S.A.") - Beach Boys (1974) No. 36
(Brian Wilson's lyrics with Chuck Berry's music)
13. "Thirty Days (To Come Back Home)" (as "Forty Days") - Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks (1959) No. 45
14. "Too Much Monkey Business" - Freddy Weller (1973) No.8 C&W

Most of the above tunes can also be found on LPs, but there's no need to repeat those.

What we do have is another 18 Chuck Berry originals on charted albums.

Some songs are on more than one LP, but we're only listing one, usually the first one issued:

1. "Almost Grown" - Syndicate of Sound "Little Girl" (1966)
2. "Beautiful Delilah" - Kinks "You Really Got Me" (1964)
3. "Bye Bye Johnny" (as "Bye Bye Johnnie") - Rolling Stones "More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies)" (1972)
4. "Come On" - Rolling Stones "More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies)" (1972)
5. "Dear Dad" - Dave Edmunds "D.E. 7th" (1982)
6. "I Got to Find My Baby" - Beatles "Live at the BBC" (1994)
7. "I'm Talking About You" - Rick Nelson "Garden Party" (1972)
8. "It Wasn't Me" - George Thorogood "Move It on Over" (1978)
9. "Jaguar and Thunderbird" - Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders "The Game of Love" (1965)
10. "Nadine" - Bill Black's Combo "Bill Black's Combo Plays Tunes By Chuck Berry" (1964)
11. "No Money Down" - Duane Allman "An Anthology, Volume II" (1974)
12. "No Particular Place to Go" - Jerry Lee Lewis "The Greatest Live Show on Earth" (1964)
13. "School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)" (as "School Days") - Bobby Vee "Hits of the Rockin' Fifties" (1961)
14. "Sweet Little Rock and Roller" - Gary Lewis and the Playboys "This Diamond Ring" (1965)
15. "Tulane" - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts "Up Your Alley" (1988)
16. "Wee Wee Hours" - Trini Lopez "The Rhythm & Blues Album" (1965)
17. "You Can't Catch Me" - Rolling Stones "The Rolling Stones, Now!" (1965)
18. "You Never Can Tell" - Loggins & Messina "So Fine" (1975)

IZ ZAT SO? Surprisingly missing from the obituaries, and Wikipedia and Chuck Berry's own site, is that his first hit, "Maybellene," was not his first time on record.

"Maybellene" came out in the summer of 1955, about a month after "Oh Maria," by Joe Alexander and the Cubans (Ballad 1008). "Oh Maria" did not chart.

Joe's Cubans were the trio of Chuck Berry, Faith Douglas, and Freddy Golden.

Chuck is prominently featured on "Oh Maria," a worthy entry in the then popular calypso style of music, spearheaded by Harry Belafonte. His "Calypso" LP was on the charts for nearly two years.

"Oh Maria" is in high demand, especially now, with offers in the $500 to $1,000 range being made for the 45, and $300 to $500 for the 78.

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