This song tells the story of a teenage couple getting married and staying together. Many of Berry's songs are written from the perspective of young people, but this one even takes a dig at the older generation: "'C'est la vie,' say the old folks," Berry sings. ("C'est la vie'" is French for "That's life").
Most songs that describe a young couple in love on their way to adulthood don't end well, as disaffection or tragedy strikes. This song is unusual in that the couple does just fine, settling in with a nice record collection and some Roebuck furniture. As they settle into married life, their love stays strong. It's not the storyline you'd expect, but you never can tell.
This was one of the new batch of hits Berry produced after being released from prison in 1963 after serving 20 months for "transporting an underage female across state lines for immoral purposes." Berry had met a 14-year-old girl in Mexico who he brought back to St. Louis to work in his nightclub.
There is very little guitar on this track, which is driven by piano and saxophone.
When Berry sings, "The Coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale," he's referring to a brand of refrigerator called a Coolerator that was popular in the 1950s.
In 1977, Emmylou Harris
had a Top 10 Country hit with her version, which she renamed "(You Never Can Tell) C'est La Vie."
This was featured in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction. It was used in the scene where Uma Thurman and John Travolta dance to it in the twist contest at Jack Rabbit Slim's.