Sweet Little Sixteen

Album: One Dozen Berrys (1958)
Charted: 16 2

Songfacts®:

  • Berry wrote this song when he was on a package tour, and came across a teenaged autograph-seeker who was insistent upon getting the autograph of each headliner on the tour. Said Berry: "She couldn't have seen one act on the show - unless it was mine!"
  • The Beach Boys used the melody for this song on their 1963 hit "Surfin' U.S.A.." Berry got composing credit on the Beach Boys song in the mid-'70s as a result of a threatened lawsuit.
  • Peaking at #2, it was Berry's biggest hit until "My Ding-a-Ling" was a surprise #1 hit in 1972.

Comments: 12

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1958 {March 2nd} "Sweet Little Sixteen" by Chuck Berry peaked at #2 {for 3 non-consecutive weeks} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, for the three weeks it was at #2, the number #1 record for those three weeks was "Tequila" by The Champs...
    The week before "Sweet Little Sixteen" reached #1 {also for 3 weeks} on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1955 and 1973 the St. Louis, MO native had twenty-seven records on the Top 100 chart, seven made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "My Ding-A-Ling", for two weeks in October of 1972...
    Chuck Berry's 27th and last charted record was "Reelin' and Rockin'", it was a live version recorded in England, the original version was the B-side of "Sweet Little Sixteen", "Reelin' and Rockin'" peaked at #27 {for 1 week} in February of 1973...
    In 1986, he was the very first inductee into the 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame'...
    Chuck Berry, born Charles Edward Anderson Berry, passed away at the age of 90 on March 18th, 2017...
    May he R.I.P.
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of Billboard's Top 10 on March 2nd, 1958:
    At #3. "Don't" by Elvis Presley
    #4. "26 Miles (Santa Catalina)" by The Four Preps
    #5. "Oh Julie" by The Crescendos
    #6. "Who's Sorry Now" by Connie Francis
    #7. "Get A Job" by The Silhouettes
    #8. "The Walk" by Jimmie McCracklin and His Band
    #9. "Sugartime" by The McGuire Sisters
    #10. "Good Golly, Miss Molly" by Little Richard
  • Duke from Canberra I don’t think Brian Wilson thought he would “get away” with anything. As Mary says he knew he was using the music from Sweet Little Sixteen. What is slightly strange is he was pushed into giving Chuck Berry the lyric writing credits too. None of this diminishes the fact that Wilson is an extremely talented man who was groundbreaking in his own right.
  • Mary Helen from HomeThere was actually no lawsuit, just the threat, since BW readily admitted using the music, changing the lyrics.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 23rd 1958, Alan Freed's 'Big Beat Show' played the Convention Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania …
    One of the show's headliners was Chuck Berry, and at the time his "Sweet Little Sixteen" was at #2 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    Charles Edward Anderson Berry will celebrate his 89th birthday this coming October 18th {2015}...
    * The week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Tequila" by the Champs.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 19th 1962, Chuck Berry began serving a three-year sentence in the Indiana Federal Penitentiary after being convicted of transporting a minor across state lines for immoral purposes; he was released 20 months later...
    Just under four months earlier on October 29th, 1961 he appeared at the Memorial Auditorium in Utica, New York*...
    His first song was "Sweet Little Sixteen"...
    * He was the opening act for headliner Bobby Rydell, but was defiantly the hit of the show {Bill Black's Combo also performed that night}...
    {See post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 23rd 1962 Jerry Lee Lewis performed "Sweet Little Sixteen" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Seventeen days later on September 9th, 1962 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #97, the next week it was at #95, and on its third week it remained at #95, then it fell off the chart...
    It reached #38 on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    'The Killer' will celebrate his 79th birthday next month on September 29th {2014}.
  • Brian from Boston, MaIts amazing to me that the Beach Boys thaught they would get away with totally ripping off Chuck.The Melody doesn't just sound like sweet little sixteen it is the exact same.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn October 1961 Bobby Rydell headed a Rock n Roll Revue show in Utica, NY. Chuck Berry was on the bill, he walked on stage and plugged his guitar into a amp. The amp volume was too low for Chuck, so when he soloed on guitar he took the vocal microphone and placed in front the amp's speaker. He put on a great show, I felt a little sorry for Bobby that he had to follow him...
  • Billy J from San Antonio, Txoops the song was Little Queenie on Silver Bullet Live,"sorry bout that chief",Alvin Lee's cover is correct
  • Billy J from San Antonio, TxAlvin Lee does a live version of this song and really rocks.(Anthology)also Bob Seger does part of this song on 'Let It Rock'(Silver Bullet Live)both are rockin
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, Sci can see why the beach Boys got sued. the melodies are identical.
  • Rick from San Juan, United StatesBobby Rydell's "Kissin' Time" also borrowed heavily from the melody of "Sweet Little Sixteen". Cameo-Parkway's Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann gave no songwriting credit to Chuck Berry, and luckily escaped from a lawsuit. Brian Wilson was not as lucky, and was obliged to give full songwriting credit to Mr. Berry for "Surfin' U.S.A.".
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