Rock 'n' Roll Music (album)

Rock 'n' Roll Music (album)

Infobox Album
Name = Rock 'n' Roll Music
Type = compilation
Artist = The Beatles

Released = 7 June 1976 (US)
10 June 1976 (UK)
Recorded = Abbey Road 1962–1970
Genre = Rock and roll
Length = 73:45
Label = Capitol SKBO 11537 (US)
Parlophone PCSP 719 (UK)
Producer = George Martin and Phil Spector
Reviews =
* Allmusic rating|3|5 [ link]
Last album = "1967–1970"
This album = "Rock 'n' Roll Music"
Next album = "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl"

"Rock 'n' Roll Music" is a compilation album by The Beatles that consists of previously released Beatles tracks considered by many to be quintessential "rock and roll". The album was released in June 1976, and, at the time, some in the media speculated that the album was released to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the first meeting between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. If that was indeed the intention, EMI miscalculated, as the two actually first met in July 1957. The title, "Rock 'n' Roll Music", presumably comes from the song of the same title by Chuck Berry, The Beatles' version of which is included on Side Two of the album. The album is primarily made up of cover versions of songs written by significant rock and roll composers of the fifties, including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Larry Williams, although some notable Lennon-McCartney originals, such as "Drive My Car", "Revolution", and "Get Back" are included on the album. "Rock 'n' Roll Music" was the first Beatles album to include "I'm Down", which had previously only been available as the B-side of the "Help!" single.

Controversial album cover

Controversy surrounded the album's artwork, which featured an embossed colour portrait of The Beatles against a shiny silver background with the album's title spelled out in what is presumed to be neon lights. Despite the fact that The Beatles were a band from the 1960s, icons from the 1950s plastered the inside of the album's gatefold sleeve, including a jukebox, an outdoor movie screen with a picture of Marilyn Monroe, a 1957 Chevrolet, a cheeseburger, and a glass of Coca-Cola. 1950's nostalgia was at a peak around this time (1976), and Capitol was clearly attempting to cash in on the trend. The album cover prompted Beatles drummer Ringo Starr to complain to "Rolling Stone Magazine" that, "It made us look cheap and we never were cheap. All that Coca-Cola and cars with big fins was the Fifties!" Reportedly, John Lennon even offered to design the record jacket, but EMI declined his offer. [Ringo Starr's comments to "Rolling Stone" are quoted in Nicholas Schaffner, "The Beatles Forever", (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Cameron House, 1977), 188.]


This album is described as "troubled" by Beatles' producer George Martin in his autobiography, as he was asked by the head of Capitol at the time to approve the tapes they intended to use, and he was "appalled" because they were some of the early twin-track mono tapes they had made and were going to be transferred to stereo for the issue. Instead of approving the album as it was presented to him, Martin remixed five of the songs used on the album: "Twist And Shout", "I Saw Her Standing There", "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Boys" and "Roll Over Beethoven". [Researched from "The Usenet Guide To Beatles Recording Variations"] Also, for some reason the stereo image was reversed on all of the tracks. Some of the song editing is haphazard, including the fact that you can hear the opening notes of the song "Dear Prudence" following the track "Back in the USSR."


The UK Parlophone Double Album PCSP 719 kept the original UK mixes including the 5 stereo mixes done for this album, The Long Tall Sally EP and I'm Down.The UK 2 single MFP budget releases used the American Captol Double album mixes SKBO 11537, the matrix on the MFP albums confirms this as:Vol 1 SKBO 11531 -A1 - 1 & B1 - 1Vol 2 SBKO 11531 -A2 - 1 & B2 - 1

The reversed channels and the new mixes with centered vocals

In October 1980, the album was divided into two single albums, and released as budget LPs in both the United States and UK. "Rock 'n' Roll Music: Volume 1" (US LP: Capitol SN-16020; UK LP: EMI/Music for Pleasure MFP 50506) contained the songs on Sides One and Two of the original album, while "Rock 'n' Roll Music" Volume 2" (US LP: Capitol SN-16021; UK LP: EMI/Music for Pleasure MFP 50507) contained the songs on Sides Three and Four. The American edition of the two budget-line albums continued to use the 1976 George Martin remixes that graced the original two-disc set, but the British version of the budget-line albums reverted to the songs' original mixes that were first released in the 1960s. The budget-line albums featured new artwork, centred around a picture of the group circa 1964-65. The US editions of the cover set the group in a crowd, while the British cover eliminated the crowd and placed the group against a stark white background.

Chart performance and sales

Album sales benefited from a rather significant wave of Beatles nostalgia was taking place during the summer of 1976. Interest in The Beatles was undoubtedly boosted by Paul McCartney's "Wings over America" tour, which criss-crossed the United States and Canada shortly after "Rock 'n' Roll Music" was released. In addition, sales weren't hurt by the fact that the album included the song, "Helter Skelter," which had been spotlighted in a made-for-television movie on the Manson murders that aired shortly before the album was released. "Rock 'n' Roll Music" hit #2 on the Billboard chart (funnily kept off the top spot by the album "Wings at the Speed of Sound") in the US and #10 on the New Musical Express charts in England.


In both the United States and Great Britain, "Rock 'n' Roll Music" was accompanied by a single compiled from songs on the album. The US single (Capitol 4274), which featured "Got to Get You Into My Life" on the A-Side and "Helter Skelter" on the B-Side, hit No. 7 on Billboard. The British single (Parlophone R 6016), which featured "Back in the U.S.S.R." on the A-Side and "Twist and Shout" on the B-Side, hit No. 18 on the "New Musical Express" chart.

Track listing

All tracks written by Lennon-McCartney, except where noted.

ide one

#"Twist and Shout" (Medley-Russell)
#"I Saw Her Standing There"
#"You Can't Do That"
#"I Wanna Be Your Man"
#"I Call Your Name"
#"Boys" (Dixon-Farrell)
#"Long Tall Sally" (Johnson/Penniman/Blackwell)

ide two

#"Rock and Roll Music" (Berry)
#"Slow Down" (Williams)
#Medley: "Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey" (Leiber/Stoller)/(Penniman)
#"Money (That's What I Want)" (Bradford/Gordy)
#"Bad Boy" (Williams)
#"Matchbox" (Perkins)
#"Roll Over Beethoven" (Berry)

ide three

#"Dizzy Miss Lizzie" (Williams)
#"Any Time at All"
#"Drive My Car"
#"Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby" (Perkins)
#"The Night Before"
#"I'm Down"

ide four

#"Back in the U.S.S.R."
#"Helter Skelter"
#"Taxman" (Harrison)
#"Got to Get You into My Life"
#"Hey Bulldog"
#"Get Back" (album version)


External links

* [ Notes on releases]


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