Chuck Berry

Nadine

Composed by Chuck Berry

Song Review by

"Nadine (Is It You)?" has the distinction of being the first song that Chuck Berry recorded after being released from prison, where he served 18 months in 1962-1963. It offers eloquent testimony that Berry's abilities had not diminished a whit in the interim. The form is simple: "Nadine (Is It You?)" is a four-verse rhythm song with a basic, rolling R&B arrangement that doesn't even feature a bridge. The story Berry tells in the lyrics is also simple: The narrator happens to catch a glimpse of a woman and spends the rest of the song trying to catch up with her. But actually, nothing is simple. The narrator describes the woman as "my future bride." Does that mean she is literally his fiancée, or that he is taken by the appearance of a lovely stranger? Or is he unsure that she is the woman he thinks she is, as the title, sung twice in each chorus, suggests? The song is a compendium of transportation: The narrator is getting on a bus when he sees her walking; he gets off and chases her through a crowd; she gets in a cab, and he stops a full cab, pays the customers to get out, and follows her in it; and at the end of the song, he still hasn't caught up to her. This odd narrative is heightened by Berry's unusual use of similes. "She moves around like a wayward summer breeze," he notes at one point. The taxi moves through traffic "like a mounted cavalier." When he calls to her from the crowd, he is "campaign-shoutin' like a Southern diplomat." These are remarkable images for a pop song, and both the music and use of language proved to be a profound influence on Bob Dylan. One need only listen to "Nadine (Is It You?)," released in February 1964, and then to the 1965 Dylan album Bringing It All Back Home, with its surreal story-songs, to hear the similarities. Released as a single, "Nadine (Is It You?)" hit the Top 40, becoming the first of five Berry titles to chart in 1964, and like most Berry songs, it has drawn its share of covers through the years. But it remains one of the songwriter's lesser-known gems.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1964 Chess
The Great Twenty-Eight 1982 GEFFEN 2:33
Greatest Hits Live 1983 Prism Entertainment 3:53
Sweet Little Rock N Roller [Mercury] 1984 MCA 2:35
No Image 1985 JEM/Passport
Rock 'N' Roll Rarities 1986 Chess / Universal 2:46
The Chess Box 1988 Chess 2:35
Rhythm & Blues: 1964 1991
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Rock 'N Roll Music [Charly] 1993 Solo
Mr. Rock & Roll 1993 Delta Music Ltd. / Delta Distribution
The Great Chuck Berry 1993 Goldies 2:36
Vintage Collectibles, Vol.  3: 1956-1966 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 2:33
Golden Hits of the 50's & 60's 1995
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 3:03
Great Stars of Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 2 [Fat Boy] 1995
Various Artists
Fat Boy 4:01
The EP Collection 1996 See For Miles Records
No Image 1996 Universal Distribution
His Best, Volume 2 1997 Chess 2:37
The Best of Chuck Berry [MCA #2] 1997 Spectrum Music
Blues Brother Soul Sister [Time Music] 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Live: Roots of Rock n' Roll 1998 Columbia River Entertainment Group
Wonderful Music of Chuck Berry 1998 Allegiance Records 2:36
The Latest and the Greatest/You Never Can Tell... 1998 Beat Goes On 2:37
Mods Vs. Rockers 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 3:57
The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Album of All Time 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 3:59
Rock 'N' Roll Hits 1999 Dressed To Kill 3:59
The Anthology 2000 MCA / Chess 2:36
Johnny B. Goode [Legacy] 2000 Legacy 3:48
The Ultimate Collection [Universal] 2000 Universal International 2:34
Mega 60's 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 3:55
Party Hits of the 50s & 60s 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 3:03
Rock N Roll Classics [Columbia River] 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 3:03
Hail, Hail Rock & Roll - Live, Vol. 1 2001 Aim Trading Group Pty, Ltd.
Shagadelic Hits of the 60's 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill
In Concert 2002 Prestige Elite Records 4:02
Crown Prince of Rock 'N Roll [2003] 2003 American Legends 3:10
Girls! Girls! Girls!: A Yearbook of Dream Dates 2003
Various Artists
Ace 2:35
Ultimate Legends: Chuck Berry 2003 United Multi License 3:48
Chuck Berry [Universal International] 2003 Universal International
Roots of Rock [Acrobat] 2003
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group
No Image 2005 Legacy 3:47
Live Goode! 2005 Universe 3:55
Father of Rock and Roll 2005 Allegro Corporation / American Legends 3:04
Greatest Hits [Silver Star] 2005 Silver Star Records 2:35
Universal Masters Collection 2006 Polydor / Universal Music 2:33
Sweet Little Sixteen 2006 Allegro Corporation
The History of Rock 'N' Roll 2006
Various Artists
Deja Vu
Kings of Rock 'N' Roll 2006 Spectrum Music 2:49
No Image 2007 Collecting 3:53
Ultimate Chuck Berry 2007 UMVD 2:32
Yow 2007
Yow
Primo Records 2:39
Colour Collection 2007 Spectrum Music / Universal 2:33
Johnny B. Goode [LT Series] 2007 LT Series 3:56
The Ultimate Collection, Disc 3 2007 Spectrum Music 2:32
No Image 2008 Direct Source
Rock 'N' Roll Legends 2008 Universal Distribution 2:34
The Best of Chess Records 2008
Various Artists
Geffen / Chess / Universal-Island Records
No Image 2008 Universal / Universal Distribution 2:32
No Image 2009 Universal 2:33
No Image 2013 Golden Sky Records 2:30
No Image 2013 Reloaded 2:45
No Image 2013 Reloaded 2:32
Rock and Roll Music: Any Old Way You Choose It 2014 Bear Family Records 3:09
Live: The Palladium New York '88 2017 Live on Vinyl 2:40
100 Essential 60's
Various Artists
Universal 2:35
300 Hits: Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 2:36
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 5:26
Back in the USA: The Best of Chuck Berry Gralin Music 2:29
No Image Universal 2:33
Can't Help Falling in Love
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 2:36
No Image Tring
Hail Hail Rock & Roll [Delta] Delta Distribution / Mbop Global / Music Digital 3:55
Just Go Wild over Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:35
Maybellene [ABM] ABM 2:36
No Image Fourmatt 2:45
No Image
No Image
Various Artists
Media Records
The Best of Chuck Berry [Vogue] Vogue 2:35
The Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame - Chuck Berry DLG Digital 3:55
No Image Chess
No Image
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
blue highlight denotes editor's pick