I have started listening to many of Chuck Berry’s songs. I noticed there are three or four different identifiable rhythms he uses in his songs. Most of his songs start off with one of the rhythms and many continue the rhythm throughout. It is as if he made different lyrics for the same song.

Why is this?

What I mean is, most of his songs begin with the same tune, then have the same beat with different lyrics. From 0:00 to 0:06 in Johnny B. Goode he uses a tune that is in most of his other songs.

  • You might say it is that rhythm that makes it rock-n-roll as opposed to the earlier rhythm and blues.
    – Mike
    Mar 19, 2015 at 1:24
  • 1
    This is hardly something unique to Chuck Berry. There are many music traditions which involve minimal variation on a theme. Take a look at the Wikipedia page on 'riddim' en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riddim Or look at many latin music albums where tracks are marked with the rhythm they use: guaguanco, son montuno, cha cha cha, etc Mar 19, 2015 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


Around the time Chuck Berry became popular, the style of music that became popular was 12-Bar Blues. "Shake, Rattle and Roll" by Big Joe Turner, "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley and "Rock Around The Clock" popularized by Bill Haley & The Comets are all examples of 12-Bar Blues songs from that same timeframe.

There's a very complex analysis of it on the linked Wiki page, I suggest you take a look for a better understanding of it.

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