Nadine (Is It You?)

Album: The Great Twenty-Eight (1964)
Charted: 27 23

Songfacts®:

  • Chuck Berry was incarcerated in prison between October 1961 and October 1963 for bringing a 14-year-old Apache waitress across a state line. During his time in jail, Berry penned "Nadine (Is It You?)," along with other classic numbers such as "You Never Can Tell," "Promised Land" and "No Particular Place To Go."

    Marshall Chess, the son of Chess Records founder Leonard, recalled to The Independent newspaper how Chuck Berry recorded this immediately after his release from jail: "I was his road manager in 1963 when he came out of prison and we were desperate because he was our biggest star. He came right from jail, looking raggedy. My dad gave me $100 and said, 'Take him down to State Street and get him some new clothes.' Then he came right back to our studio and recorded 'Nadine.'"
  • The lyric tells of a man catching sight of a woman and spending the rest of the song trying to catch up with her. The narrative song structure, which featured a basic four verses with no bridge and the use of imagery ("coffee-colored Cadillac") was an influence on many songwriters. Here's what Roger Reale of Rue Morgue had to say about it:

    "Chuck Berry remains the premier American lyricist, and anybody who wants to know about American culture in the '50s, or early '60s, starts here.

    The cadence of 'Nadine' is irresistible:

    As I got on a city bus and found a vacant seat
    I thought I saw my future bride walking up the street


    This is poetry of the highest order for me, with a vocal delivery to match."

Comments: 4

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaStill my fav Berry tune. Always sounded like one of those arranged marriages, and she wasn't in to him at all.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 9th 1964, Chuck Berry performed in concert* at the Astoria Theater in London, England; it was his debut concert in the United Kingdom...
    During the calendar year of 1964 he had three records make the U.K. Singles chart; "Nadine (Is It You)" {#27}, "No Particular Place to Go" {#3}, and "You Never Can Tell" {#23}...
    Plus he also had three albums make the U.K. Top Albums chart; 'More', 'The Latest and Greatest', and 'You Never Can Tell'...
    * Three British groups opened for him; the Animals, the Nashville Teens, and the Swinging Blue Jeans.
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkWhen "Nadine" came out in '64 I was in jr. high school. The song got a lot of airplay in eastern Oklahoma/western Arkansas radio. I see from Songfacts that it peaked at #26 on Billboard pop charts in '64. But a lot of kids watched the R&B charts of Cashbox, Song Hits, & Goldmine. What really sticks in my mind was when I went away to the University of Kansas in the mid-Sixties and heard "Nadine" playing on the funky jukebox in one of the raunchiest college taverns ever (just off campus). The bass was turned way up! So when this song came on, the huge rumble just set yo' soul on fire! Same thing happened when "No Particular Place To Go" climbed the charts for Chuck. Those were great times with Mr. Berry igniting the rock & roll scene again. And I am fortunate to have been there & bought the records & danced to the jukeboxes playing his hits again!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 1st 1964, "Nadine (Is It You?)" by Chuck Berry entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #90; and on April 26th it peaked at #23 (for 1 week) and it spent 10 week on the Top 100...
    It also reached #23 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1955 and 1972 he had twenty-two records on the R&B Singles chart; with twelve making the Top 10 and four reaching #1; "Maybellene" (1955), "School Days (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)" (1957), "Sweet Little Sixteen" (1958), and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958)...
    Charles Edward Anderson Berry celebrated his 87th birthday five months ago on October 18th (2013).
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