Released: December 4, 1964
Appears on: Beatles For Sale
Lead vocal: John
In 1957, Chuck Berry wrote the theme song for the genre of music he was defining. "Rock And Roll Music" is the one song that sums up Rock 'n' Roll in a way that no other single song does. Chuck Berry's original is as good as it gets.
Leave it to John Lennon to push it even further.
The Beatles' take is more raucous and it just goes to show how much rock 'n' roll evolved in just the seven years between the two recordings. However, later recordings of the song would show none of the evolution that rock went through after The Beatles. Maybe it just proves that once The Beatles defined what rock 'sounds' like, that rock stopped evolving and everyone just spent their time trying to be The Beatles. That's not true, obviously, but in the case of "Rock And Roll Music", no one ever did it better than the Beatles.
"Rock And Roll Music", as the first cover on Beatles For Sale proves that touring was really taking a toll on them. Despite all the covers on the album being really good, there's a sense of reluctance and almost boredom that runs through all of them. It's hard to believe that the Beatles were happy that they had to fall back on the old crutch of recording covers. It's also as clear as day on the cover that they needed more time before recording yet another album. The extra time would have allowed for more originals...but, of course, even as the most popular foursome in the world, anything less than two LPs and five to six 45s a year was unacceptable.
This particular cover appeared on Capitol's Beatles '65 in the US and acted as the title track to the superfluous compilation Rock And Roll Music in 1976.