Maybellene (2:19)

Cover of Chuck Berry Is On Top

From Chuck Berry Is On Top and 543 other releases

“Maybellene” is a song by Chuck Berry that tells the story of a hot rod race and a broken romance. It was released in July 1955 as a single on Chess Records of Chicago, Illinois. It was Berry’s first single release, and his first hit. “Maybellene” is considered one of the pioneering rock and roll singles: Rolling Stone magazine said, “Rock & roll guitar starts here.” The record is an early instance of the complete rock and roll package: youthful subject matter, small guitar-driven combo, clear diction, and an atmosphere of unrelenting excitement.

In 1955, the song, a 12-bar blues, peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard rock charts, and was a #1 R&B hit. Chuck was the first African American to reach the top ten on the Billboard list with a rock and roll single. In 2004, “Maybellene” was ranked number 18 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

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