You Can't Catch Me

Album: Rock, Rock, Rock (1956)
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Songfacts®:

  • Bruce Springsteen wasn't the first to write rock songs about the liberating power of a fast car - Chuck Berry also had a fascination with automobiles, which he sings about here (part of the song takes place on the New Jersey Turnpike, a road Springsteen is quite familiar with).

    "This was a yearning which I had since I was aged seven to drive about in a car," Berry told Record Mirror in 1967. "It was my fascination for the roads, for driving, motoring, which prompted me to write those songs."

    Driving way too fast under the moonlight with your baby in the car while listening to rock and roll on the radio... it doesn't get any better.
  • At the end of this song, we find out that the car is named Maybellene, referring to Berry's earlier automotive hit.
  • Musically, this song was influenced by a Muddy Waters track called "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," which has a nearly identical guitar lick in the intro.
  • One of Berry's early singles, this song surprisingly had no chart success - it didn't even make the R&B tally where all of his previous singles cracked the Top 10.
  • Berry performed this song in the 1956 film Rock, Rock, Rock, where he can be seen doing his famous duckwalk.
  • John Lennon used the guitar riff and the "here come old flattop" line in the Beatles song "Come Together." Morris Levy, who owned the publishing rights to "You Can't Catch Me," later sued. As part of the settlement, Lennon agreed to include a cover of "You Can't Catch Me" on his 1975 solo album Rock 'n' Roll.
  • The Rolling Stones recorded this in 1965. Chuck Berry was one of their heroes, especially to Keith Richards.

Comments: 10

  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny'I bought a brand-new air-mobile, It custom-made, 'twas a Flight De Ville'

    On December 7th 1956, the Alan Freed rock 'n roll movie "Rock, Rock, Rock" opened in theaters across the U.S.A.
    "You Cant Catch Me" was featured in the movie...
    It was released by Chess Records but never charted (the flip-side was "Havana Moon")...
    The great Mr. Berry celebrated his 87th birthday two months ago on October 18th, 2013.
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkI've loved "You Can't Catch Me" since I first heard it on a Chuck Berry hits compilation album in 1967 on Chess Records. It has the feel of rumbling down a road in a big nasty, souped-up automobile with loads of chrome!! And fins!! This song was meant to get the blood a-pumping and the hormones ready for action!
  • Robert from Vancouver, BcJohn Lennon did NOT use the guitar riff from "You Can't Catch Me" for "Come Together."
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaThat's right, Mason. Check Berry didn't sue john Lennon over this. i doubt if he really gave a damn--probably was flattered by the reference.
  • Alan from Grande Prairie, Alberta, CanadaI have this on the old Stones album "The Rolling Stones Now" Great album. The old band with Brian Jones did some great stuff.
  • Sam from Shanghai, ChinaOh never mind, it was Morris Levy
  • Sam from Shanghai, Chinawas it that Saul Zaentz guy who got John Fogerty? I hate that guy...
  • Mason from San Antonio, Txhe wasn't sued by berry, he was sued by that jerk off that had bought the rights to/stolen many old rock n roll songs
  • Martin from London, EnglandAs part of the 'settlement' it was agreed that Lennon would record this track plus Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" for his "Rock 'n' Roll" album.
  • Randy from Beaumont, TxThe lyrics Lennon used were ".. here comes ole flatop, he comes MOVIN" (Lennon used GROOVIN up slowly....."
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