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"Sweet Little Sixteen"
Single by Chuck Berry
from the album One Dozen Berrys
B-side" Reelin' and Rockin'"
ReleasedJanuary 1958
RecordedDecember 29–30, 1957 [1]
Studio Chess (Chicago) [2]
Genre Rock and roll
Label Chess 1683
Songwriter(s)Chuck Berry
Producer(s) Leonard and Phil Chess
Chuck Berry singles chronology
" Rock and Roll Music"
"Sweet Little Sixteen"
" Johnny B. Goode"

"Sweet Little Sixteen" is a rock and roll song written and first recorded by Chuck Berry, who released it as a single in January 1958. His performance of it at that year's Newport Jazz Festival was included in the documentary film Jazz on a Summer's Day. It reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, one of two of Berry's second-highest positions—along with Johnny Rivers cover of " Memphis, Tennessee"—on that chart (surpassed only by " My Ding-A-Ling", which reached number one in 1972). "Sweet Little Sixteen" also reached number one on the R&B Best Sellers chart. [3] In the UK, it reached number 16 on the UK Official Charts. [4] Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song number 272 on its list of the " 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004. He used the same melody on an earlier song, "The Little Girl From Central" recorded on Checkmate in 1955.


Recorded December 29–30, 1957

"Surfin' U.S.A."

The Beach Boys' 1963 song " Surfin' U.S.A." features lyrics by Brian Wilson set to the music of "Sweet Little Sixteen." Under pressure from Berry's publisher, Wilson's father and manager, Murry Wilson, gave the copyright, including Brian Wilson's lyrics, to Arc Music. [5]

Beatles-related versions

Beatles connection

"Sweet Little Sixteen"
Song by The Beatles
from the album Live at the BBC
Released30 November 1994
Recorded10 July 1963
Genre Rock and roll
Label Apple
Songwriter(s) Chuck Berry
Producer(s)Terry Henebery

The Beatles recorded the song once for the Pop Go The Beatles radio show on 10 July 1963 at the Aeolian Hall, London. It remained unreleased until Live at the BBC in 1994 (a year before they released Anthology 1). [6]


3 years after The Beatles broke up in 1970 (even though John Lennon left in 1969), John Lennon recorded a solo version of "Sweet Little Sixteen" for his 1975 album of cover versions, Rock 'n' Roll. His version was produced by Phil Spector, and was recorded between 17 October and 14 December 1973. Spector cut the tempo of the song and gave it the full Wall of Sound treatment, and Lennon turned in one of his most passionate vocal performances. [6] While it has a running time of 3:01, it has fewer verses than Berry's original version, being slower and more bluesy than the original, and a year later, fellow Beatles Member Paul McCartney recorded the tune while making a film during one afternoon in the "backyard" of Abbey Road Studios during the production of One Hand Clapping (film) [7]


  1. ^ 20th Century Masters — The Millennium Collection: The Best of Chuck Berry (CD). Chuck Berry. MCA Records. 1999. MCAD-11944.{{ cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) ( link)
  2. ^ "The Chuck Berry Database: Details For Recording Session: 29./30. 12. 1957". A Collector's Guide to the Music of Chuck Berry. Dietmar Rudolph. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 55.
  4. ^ "Official Charts - Chuck Berry". Official Charts. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  5. ^ Pegg, Bruce (2002). Brown Eyed Handsome Man. pp. 162–163.
  6. ^ a b c "Sweet Little Sixteen". The Beatles Bible. 16 March 2008. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  7. ^ "Recording "The Backyard" (Aug 30, 1974)". The Paul McCartney project. Retrieved 2023-06-07.