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You Never Can Tell


Chuck Berry

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This is about a teenage couple getting married and staying together. Many of Berry's songs are written from the perspective of young people, but this one even takes a dig at the older generation: "'C'est la vie,' say the old folks," Berry sings ("C'est la vie'" is French for "That's life").
This was one of the new batch of hits Berry produced after being released from prison in 1963 after serving 20 months for "transporting an underage female across state lines for immoral purposes." Berry had met a 14-year-old girl in Mexico who he brought back to St. Louis to work in his nightclub.
Berry invented a new word for the lyric:

The coolerator was crammed
with TV dinners and ginger ale

"Coolerator" means "refrigerator."
In 1977, Emmylou Harris had a Top 10 Country hit with her version, which she renamed "(You Never Can Tell) C'est La Vie."
This was featured in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction. It was used in the scene where Uma Thurman and John Travolta dance to it in the twist contest at Jack Rabbit Slim's.
Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry Artistfacts
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Comments (7):

Bob Seger recorded a cover of this song under the title "C'est La Vie" on his Greatest Hits album released in 1994.
- Scott, Boston, MA
First Chuck Berry song I ever heard. Best song ever. My faveorite Chuck Berry song
- Bianca Sanchez, Alburquerque, NM
This song is just one of the small handful of Cajun-style songs that has ever been played on pop music stations. Chuck Berry must have grown-up listening to Cajun music and playing it before rock-n-roll. Whenever I hear this song, I picture myself on a merry-go-round that's going a little to fast--you gotta hang on tight. I also hear the Benny Hill chase music theme whenever it's playing.
- Fran, Stockton, CA
Loggins&Messina covered this song as well as Emmylou Harris (Live At The Ryman).Both are great.Loggins&Messina was done the 70's and Emmylou Harris was done in the 80's
- billy j, san antonio, TX
It's not likely he invented the word "coolerator". Coolerator company was making ice boxes in Duluth Minn. since 1904, later electric refrigerators, freezers and kitchen ranges. They were all over the rural USA. A country boy would have seen them and known the name.
- Bob, Chicago, IL
As of 2006, I can picture, in the back of my mind, Pierre and the Mademoiselle running a Cajun bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans with zydeco bands every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night and an all-you-can-eat seafood bar.
- Darrell, Eugene, United States
chuck berry is image of occidentals young in seventies he is fugleman of those year, he is the best than doors!
bye the italian seventeen
- michela, brescia, Italy
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