Chuck Berry - Maybellene - 1955

Introduction to "Maybellene" by Chuck Berry (1955)

Chuck Berry's "Maybellene" is a seminal track in the history of rock and roll. Released in 1955, it is often cited as one of the first rock and roll records. This course will delve into the song's background, its impact on the music industry, and its influence on future genres and artists.

Background of "Maybellene"

The song "Maybellene" was an adaptation of the traditional country song "Ida Red." Chuck Berry transformed it into a fast-paced rhythm and blues track, which was groundbreaking for its time. The song's blend of blues and country elements helped bridge racial divides in the music of the 1950s.

Impact and Influence

"Maybellene" not only charted new territory musically but also set the stage for the evolution of rock music. Its influence is evident in the works of countless artists who followed, and its rhythm and style became a template for future rock and roll songs.

Quiz: Questions on the song

What was the original title of the song that inspired "Maybellene"? (Ida Red) (!My Bell Jean) (!Berry's Blues) (!Rocking on the Railroad)

In what year was "Maybellene" released? (1955) (!1958) (!1960) (!1952)

Which record label released "Maybellene"? (Chess Records) (!Sun Records) (!Motown Records) (!Atlantic Records)

What style did "Maybellene" primarily incorporate? (Rhythm and Blues) (!Pure Rock) (!Jazz) (!Country)

What was unique about the lyrical theme of "Maybellene"? (It told a story, combining elements of a love song with a car chase) (!It was the first song to mention rock and roll) (!It focused exclusively on teenage rebellion) (!It was an instrumental track)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

In which city was Chuck Berry born? (St. Louis, Missouri) (!Memphis, Tennessee) (!Detroit, Michigan) (!Chicago, Illinois)

What was Chuck Berry's real first name? (Charles) (!Chester) (!Carl) (!Christopher)

Before becoming famous, what was one of Chuck Berry's professions? (Hairdresser) (!Teacher) (!Mechanic) (!Salesman)

In addition to being a musician, Chuck Berry was known for his... (Dynamic stage presence, including his famous "duck walk") (!Painting skills) (!Acting in movies) (!Writing science fiction)

Chuck Berry's music primarily influenced which genre? (Rock and Roll) (!Jazz) (!Classical) (!R&B)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is the main subject of "Maybellene"? (A man chasing his unfaithful girlfriend) (!A dance party) (!The joys of youth) (!A story about a car)

What mode of transportation is prominently mentioned in "Maybellene"? (Cadillac Coupe DeVille) (!Chevrolet) (!Motorcycle) (!Train)

What does the narrator of the song suspect about Maybellene? (She is being unfaithful) (!She is moving away) (!She has a secret) (!She is a spy)

How does the song describe Maybellene's car? (As faster than the narrator's) (!As old and broken) (!As a bright red color) (!As a convertible)

What emotional tone is conveyed through the lyrics of "Maybellene"? (A mix of excitement and heartbreak) (!Pure joy) (!Fear and anxiety) (!Nostalgia)


Chuck Berry "Maybellene" Creator
1955 Year of Release
Rhythm and Blues Primary Style of "Maybellene"
Cadillac Coupe DeVille Mentioned in the Song
Chess Records Record Label

Open Tasks


  1. Research the 1950s music scene: Explore how the music scene in the 1950s differed from previous decades.
  2. Create a playlist: Compile a playlist of songs influenced by "Maybellene."


  1. Write a short essay: Discuss the impact of "Maybellene" on the evolution of rock music.
  2. Analyze the lyrics: Break down the lyrics of "Maybellene" and explain their significance in the context of the 1950s.


  1. Compose a song: Create your own rock and roll song inspired by "Maybellene."
  2. Interview project: Interview people who lived during the 1950s about their memories of "Maybellene" and its impact.

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Oral Exam

  1. Compare and Contrast: Discuss the differences and similarities between "Maybellene" and other popular songs of the 1950s.
  2. Cultural Impact: Explain how "Maybellene" might have influenced social attitudes and youth culture in the 1950s.
  3. Musical Evolution: Describe how Chuck Berry's style in "Maybellene" influenced later musicians and genres.
  4. Lyrical Analysis: Analyze the storytelling aspect of "Maybellene" and its role in the song's appeal.
  5. Innovations in Music: Discuss how "Maybellene" represented a shift in musical production and songwriting in the mid-20th century.

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