Back In The U.S.A.

Album: Chuck Berry Twist (1959)
Charted: 37


  • Musically, this is very similar to another Berry song, "Roll Over Beethoven." Lyrically, it finds him thrilled to be back home in America. The cities New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga and Baton Rouge get a mention, but he's happiest to see his "home back in old St. Louis." Berry was on tour in Australia before he recorded the song.
  • Paul McCartney got the inspiration for The Beatles "Back In The U.S.S.R." from this.
  • Linda Ronstadt covered this in 1978. Her version went to #16 in the US.
  • The B-side of the single was Berry's original version of "Memphis, Tennessee," which with the title shortened to "Memphis," became a hit for Lonnie Mack in 1963 (#5 US) and for Johnny Rivers in 1964 (#2 US).

Comments: 11

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 31st 1965, Chuck Berry performed "Dear Dad" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    At the time the song was at #100 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; the following week it was at #98, and then for its 3rd & 4th week on the chart it was at #95 and those were also its last two weeks on the chart...
    On the same 'Shindig!' show he also performed "Back is the U.S.A." {See next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 17th 1959, Chuck Berry recorded "Back in the U.S.A." at the Chess Recording Studios in Chicago...
    A little more than four months later on June 22nd, 1959 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #56; and three weeks later on July 13th, 1959 it peaked at #37 {for 1 week} and spent 8 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #16 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Background vocals were provided by Etta James and Harvey & the New Moonglows*...
    * Marvin Gay was the New Moonglows’ second tenor, he added the 'e' to his last name when he became a solo artist.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 13th 1978, "Back In The U.S.A." by Linda Ronstadt entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #72; and on October 8th, 1978 it peaked at #16 {for 2 weeks} and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    And by coincidence exactly nineteen years earlier on August 13th, 1959 Chuck Berry's original version was at its peak position on Billboard's R&B Singles chart, and that was #16...
    Linda Maria Ronstadt celebrated her 68th birthday one month ago on July 15th, 2014...
    May God bless and watch over Ms. Ronstadt.
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkThis Chuck Berry song really does represent real rock & roll for me. I love the guitar and that rockin' piano! Mercy! I heard that Berry's male vocal background singers on this song included Marvin Gaye. I recently got onto Chuck Berry's Facebook site & there's a load of info about him and early rock & roll. Check it out. And I learned that he was making hits well before Elvis Presley began his career. Chuck has been called "The Father of Rock & Roll" by some rock historians, but I believe he is the true King of Rock & Roll now. I love Elvis, but I just gotta go with Chuck on this one.
  • Adam from Philadelphia, PaThe proto-punk group MC5 covered the song in 1970 and made it the title track of their second album.
  • Kevin from Reading , PaI believe the comment about Minnie Ripperton singing backing vocals on this is false. Marvin Gay's group did in fact sing back up on this , but Mini was only 12 years old at the time. Accoridng to bio information, she did get a start with Chess Records in the early '60s, but was not on this record in 1959.
  • Mark from Byrdstown, Tnchuck berry is the king of rock and roll.elvis or anyone else trying to lay claim to the title is just total horsesh*t.
  • Bianca Sanchez from Alburquerque, NmI love this song! Long Live Charles edward Anderson! um Chuck Berry
  • Pete from Blackpool, EnglandMarvin Gaye and Mini Ripperton did the very clever background vocals on this track...!
  • Allen from Bethel, AkThe New York Dolls do a rocking cover of this!
  • Scott from Brisbane, AustraliaApparently it was written based on Berry's observances of the treatment of Australia's indiginous community during a tour here...
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gary Numan

Gary NumanSongwriter Interviews

An Electronic music pioneer with Asperger's Syndrome. This could be interesting.

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal Tap

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal TapSong Writing

Based on criteria like girlfriend tension, stage mishaps and drummer turnover, these are the 10 bands most like Spinal Tap.

Who Wrote That Song?

Who Wrote That Song?Music Quiz

Do you know who wrote Patti Smith's biggest hit? How about the Grease theme song? See if you can match the song to the writer.


AdeleFact or Fiction

Despite her reticent personality, Adele's life and music are filled with intrigue. See if you can spot the true tales.

David Bowie Lyrics Quiz

David Bowie Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

How well do you know your David Bowie lyrics? Take this quiz to find out.

Early Days of MTV

Early Days of MTVFact or Fiction

If you can recall the days when MTV played videos, you know that there are lots of stories to tell. See if you can spot the real ones.