Beatles For Sale album artworkWritten by: Berry
Recorded: 18 October 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 4 December 1964 (UK), 15 December 1964 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar, piano
Paul McCartney: bass guitar, piano
George Harrison: acoustic guitar
Ringo Starr: drums
George Martin: piano

Available on:
Beatles For Sale
Anthology 2
Live At The BBC

Written by Chuck Berry, Rock And Roll Music was a staple of The Beatles' live repertoire between 1959 and 1966. They recorded it for their fourth UK album, Beatles For Sale.

Download on iTunes


The song had been a hit for Berry in 1957. The Beatles selected it for Beatles For Sale, along with a number of other rock 'n' roll standards, when they were running short of original material.

In addition to their studio version, The Beatles also recorded Rock And Roll Music for several BBC shows, including Pop Go The Beatles and Saturday Club; a performance from the latter, taped on 25 November 1964 and first broadcast on Boxing Day, was included on the Live At The BBC collection.

A later live version, recorded at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo in June 1966, shortly before The Beatles abandoned touring, appears on Anthology 2.

In the studio

Rock And Roll Music was one of John Lennon's great vocal performances, and a thrilling rendition by the group as a whole. Owing to their familiarity with the song, it took The Beatles just one take to record.

The basic track was recorded with drums and bass on track one, two guitars on the second, and Lennon's vocals on track three. Afterwards Lennon, McCartney and George Martin all overdubbed a piano part on a Steinway together.

The group recorded it on 18 October 1964. During the same nine-hour session they also recorded Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!, Mr Moonlight, I Feel Fine, I'll Follow The Sun, Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby and Words Of Love. Rock And Roll Music was the penultimate song to be tackled.

Lyrics

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 lose it
Any old time you use it
It's gotta be rock roll music
If you wanna dance with me
If you wanna dance with me

I've got no kick against modern jazz
Unless they try to play it too darn fast
And lose the beauty of the melody
Until they sound just like a symphony

That's why I go for that rock and roll music
Any old way you choose it
It's got a back beat, you can't lose it
Any old time you use it
It's gotta be rock and roll music
If you wanna dance with me
If you wanna dance with me

I took my lover on over 'cross the tracks
So she can hear my man awail a sax
I must admit they have a rocking band
Man, they were blowing like a hurricane

That's why I go for that rock and roll music
Any old way you choose it
It's got a back beat, you can't lose it
Any old time you use it
It's gotta be rock and roll music
If you wanna dance with me
If you wanna dance with me

Way down south they had a jubilee
Them Georgia folks they had a jamboree
They're drinking home brew from a wooden cup
The folks are dancing, they got all shook up

And started playing that rock and roll music
Any old time you use it
It's got a back beat, you can't lose it
Any old time you use it
It's gotta be rock and roll music
If you wanna dance with me
If you wanna dance with me

Don't care to hear 'em play a tango
I'm in the mood to take a mambo
It's way too early for a congo
So keep on rocking that piano

That's why I go for that rock and roll music
Any old time you use it
It's got a back beat, you can't lose it
Any old time you use it
It's gotta be rock and roll music
If you wanna dance with me
If you wanna dance with me