Chuck Berry, 1955

Originally called "Ida Red," this song was on the homemade demo tape Berry brought to Chess Records co-founder Leonard Chess, and Chess signed him up after hearing it. During the May 21, 1955 recording session, the title was changed. Though it only made it to the mid 20s on the singles chart, the influence of this song cannot be overstated. It shouldn’t be a mystery why this song is so important. "Maybellene" is the prototypal rock and roll song. It has all the essential elements of rock: women, cars, breaking the rules, and a fantastic guitar solo.

"Maybellene" is a rock and roll song written and performed by Chuck Berry, and released on Chess Records in 1955. Its release date makes it one of the earliest rock songs ever released as a recording. Like many early rock songs, and like most songs in general, it is based on an earlier composition, named "Ida Red". However, the performance of the song is very obviously Berry's own unique sound.

The lyrics of the song revolve around Berry's attempt to catch an unfaithful lover, who he sees riding in an another car on the highway. The two cars race faster and faster, and at the end of the song, Berry catches up with the other car. We don't actually get a denouement of Berry's relationship with the titular unfaithful woman, just a conclusion to the car chase.

The music of the song is upbeat and cheerful. This is probably the first "highway song" recorded in the history of rock and roll. Although the content of the lyrics--- a dangerous car chase in pursuit of an unfaithful lover --- could be seen as somewhat grim, in the finest tradition of country and rhythm and blues, they are turned into a high spirited adventure.

At a little over two minutes, and including just three verses and a guitar solo, this song helped invent rock music. And it is still fun to listen to today!

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