MAYBELLENE * CHUCK BERRY * CHESS 1604 * USA
Chuck Berry's first record a remake of a Country song called Ida Red, renamed Maybellene after a popular hair product of the day. It is said that when, after being recommended to Lenored Chess by Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry took along some demos on tape to Chess records, this novelty song would, as he thought, make a good B side to the more serious and Bluesy Wee Wee Hours. Things turned out very differently, Wee Wee Hours became the B side and Maybellene launched an undoubted poet of his generation and one of the biggest names in black music to white audiences. Thanks to maximum airplay by disc jockey Alan Freed, who had been given a slice of the song writing royalties, and the unique talents of Jerome Green on maracas, Willie Dixon on bass and, of course, Chuck Berry's excellent guitar playing and vocals the record went to the number one R&B spot and number five Pop selling over a million copies first time around.
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