Chuck Berry – Back In The USA

What better way to celebrate July 4th than to play a Chuck Berry song. It’s nice to be back to music. I’m traveling today so I may not be able to comment until later on.

Chuck’s guitar playing got most of the publicity but his storytelling of his time is what I like best. Was it poetry? I’m not qualified to answer that but his words flowed like water and he puts you in the lunch room, classroom, dance hall, and riding in a coffee color Cadillac.

Music critic and opera composer Gregory Sandow calls him “a poet of the practical life.” John Lennon reports that Berry’s lyrics influenced his own and calls him “the greatest rock and roll poet.” Keith Richards invokes the tradition of troubadour to emphasize the poetic qualities of Berry’s lyrics. In the end, I don’t guess it matters but what we get are self-contained stories that live on today.

This was a double A-sided single…the B side was Memphis Tennessee. The song peaked at #37 on the Billboard 100 and #16 in the Billboard R&B Charts.

This song has the same sound as Roll Over Beethoven but I can’t blame Chuck for sounding like Chuck. If he could have sued everyone that ripped off his riffs…he would have lived in a courtroom.

When Berry wrote this… he was returning to the United States following a trip to Australia and witness the living standards of Australian Aborigines. This song inspired Paul McCartney to put a twist on it and he wrote Back In The U.S.S.R. on the White Album.

Linda Ronstadt covered this in 1978. Her version went peaked at #16 on the Billboard 100, #8 in Canada, #24 in New Zealand.

Chuck and Linda played the song in the highly entertaining Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll and Linda’s voice is just incredible.

Back In The USA

Oh well, oh well, I feel so good today
We touched ground on an international runway
Jet propelled back home, from over the seas to the U.S.A.

New York, Los Angeles, oh, how I yearned for you
Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge
Let alone just to be at my home back in ol’ St. Lou

Did I miss the skyscrapers, did I miss the long freeway?
From the coast of California to the shores of Delaware Bay
You can bet your life I did, till I got back to the U.S.A.

Looking hard for a drive in, searching for a corner cafe
Where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day
Yeah, and a jukebox jumping with records like in the U.S.A.

Well, I’m so glad I’m livin’ in the U.S.A.
Yes, I’m so glad I’m livin’ in the U.S.A.
Anything you want, we got right here in the U.S.A.