Roll Over, Beethoven

Finding the right opener to write about Chuck Berry is a daunting task: After all, among so much else, Berry crafted the greatest “lede” in the history of rock and roll. The furious flurry of twanging, snapping eighth-notes that opens Berry’s 1956 hit “Roll Over Beethoven”—and which reappears even more iconically atop 1958’s “Johnny B. Goode”—is to early rock and roll what Louis Armstrong’s trumpet introduction on 1928’s “West End Blues” is to early jazz, a...


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