Sweet Little Sixteen

Album: One Dozen Berrys (1958)
Charted: 16 2
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • 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.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 10

  • 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.".
see more comments

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

Jack Tempchin - "Peaceful Easy Feeling"They're Playing My Song

When a waitress wouldn't take him home, Jack wrote what would become one of the Eagles most enduring hits.

Song Titles That Inspired MoviesSong Writing

Famous songs that lent their titles - and in some cases storylines - to movies.

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.