Chuck Sings, Stones Listen

This is the anniversary of a recording that's notable for two very different reasons. On 3 August, 1961, Chuck Berry was in the studio with his band, including regular piano sideman Johnnie Johnson, taping his song 'Come On.'

Come On CBThe song wasn't a chart entry for Chuck, but would win notoriety when an up-and-coming group called the Rolling Stones chose to cover it as their first single in 1963, and had a modest success with it, even if none of them much cared for their version. But Chuck's original is also notable as the final single he released before he went to prison.

Featuring some particularly nimble guitar work by Berry himself, the short-but-sweet track, a mere 1'47” long, was released as a single by Chess in October 1961. But his glory days as a hit singles artist were, for now, just a RollingStones Come Onmemory: he hadn't made the US top 40 since the summer of 1959, and even then only modestly with 'Back In The USA.' Chuck's last top ten hit in his home country was 'Johnny B. Goode,' from as long before as the spring of 1958.

'Go-Go-Go,' the b-side of 'Come On,' did edge into the top 40 in the UK, but as the single emerged, Berry was in the process of losing a second appeal against a conviction for transporting a minor across state lines. He served 18 months in jail from February 1962, but on his release, he was able to rebuild his career and enjoy several more hit singles and albums — helped no end by the fact that, in the interim period, not only the Stones but other admirers such as The Beatles and the Beach Boys kept his songs and his memory alive.

Listen to 'Come On' on Chuck Berry Twist on Spotify
Explore our dedicated Chuck Berry Artist Page


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