Car Tunes: “As I was motivatin’ over the hill” – Chuck Berry’s Maybelline & You Can’t Catch Me

This video is not in stereo 3D

In the 1950s there were a number of novelty songs that generated “answer songs”, songs on the same theme, lyrically responding to the earlier song. Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen’s famously covered”Hot Rod Lincoln”, whose original recording by Charlie Ryan and The Livingston Brothers was itself was an answer song to “Hot Rod Race”, a 1951 hit for Arkie Shibley and his Mountain Dew Boys. Chuck Berry has so much success with Maybelline, a song that combined hot Cadillacs, V8 Fords and unrequited love, that he followed it up with his own answer song, “You Can’t Catch Me”, which even references the title of Maybelline and is more explicitly about driving fast. You Can’t Catch Me today is probably best known from the fact that John Lennon turned that song’s “Here come a flat-top, he was movin’ up with me” into the Beatles’ Come Together’s “Here come old flat top, he come groovin’ up slowly”. Ironically, John Lennon himself later recorded You Can’t Catch Me for his mid 1970s album of rock and roll standards. Lyrics to both songs and Lennon’s versions of You Can’t Catch Me and Come Together are after the jump.

This video is not in stereo 3D

This video is not in stereo 3D

This video is not in stereo 3D

Maybellene

Maybellene, why can’t you be true
Oh Maybellene , why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

As I was motivatin’ over the hill
I saw Mabellene in a Coup de Ville
A Cadillac arollin’ on the open road
Nothin’ will outrun my V8 Ford
The Cadillac doin’ about ninety-five
She’s bumper to bumper, rollin’ side by side
Maybellene

The Cadillac pulled up ahead of the Ford
The Ford got hot and wouldn’t do no more
It then got cloudy and started to rain
I tooted my horn for a passin’ lane
The rainwater blowin’ all under my hood
I know that I was doin’ my motor good
Maybellene

Solo guitar

Maybellene

The motor cooled down the heat went down
And that’s when I heard that highway sound
The Cadillac asittin’ like a ton of lead
A hundred and ten half a mile aheadv The Cadillac lookin’ like it’s sittin’ still
And I caught Mabellene at the top of the hill
Maybellene

Solo guitar

Maybellene

Maybellene, why can’t you be true
Oh Mabellene, why can’t you be true
You’ve started back doin’ the things you used to do

As I was motivatin’ over the hill
I saw Mabellene in a Coup de Ville
A Cadillac arollin’ on the open road
Nothin’ will outrun my V8 Ford
The Cadillac doin’ about ninety-five
She’s bumper to bumper, rollin’ side by side
Maybellene

The Cadillac pulled up ahead of the Ford
The Ford got hot and wouldn’t do no more
It then got cloudy and started to rain
I tooted my horn for a passin’ lane
The rainwater blowin’ all under my hood
I know that I was doin’ my motor good
Maybellene

Solo guitar

Maybellene

The motor cooled down the heat went down
And that’s when I heard that highway sound
The Cadillac asittin’ like a ton of lead
A hundred and ten half a mile ahead
The Cadillac lookin’ like it’s sittin’ still
And I caught Maybellene at the top of the hill
Maybellene

Solo guitar

Maybellene

 

You Can’t Catch Me
I bought a brand-new air-mobile
It custom-made, ’twas a Flight De Ville
With a pow’ful motor and some hideaway wings
Push in on the button and you will get a scene 

CHORUS:
Now you can’t catch me, baby you can’t catch me
‘Cause if you get too close, you know I’m gone like a cool breeze

New Jersey Turnpike in the wee wee hours
I was rollin’ slow because of drizzlin’ showers
Here come a flat-top, he was movin’ up with me
Then come wavin’ goodbye a little’ old souped-up jitney
I put my foot in my tank and I began to roll
Moanin’ siren, ’twas a state patrol
So I let out my wings and then I blew my horn
Bye bye New Jersey, I’d be come and gone

(chorus)

Flyin’ with my baby last Saturday night
Not a gray cloud floatin’ in sight
Big full moon shinin’ up above
Cuddle up honey, be my love
Sweetest little thing I’ve ever seen
I’m gonna name you Maybellene
Flyin’ on the beam, set on flight control
Radio tuned to rock ‘n’ roll
Two, three hours have passed us by
I’ll be 2 dropped to 5:05
Fuel consumption way too fast
Let’s get on home before we run out of gas

(chorus)

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