Roll Over Beethoven – Ace of Wands
With the Beatles, 1963
John Lennon once said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’” It’s not a stretch to say that the legendary Berry was the single most influential artist in rock’s early years, appearing on a Mount Rushmore that would likely include Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly. The Beatles performed more Chuck Berry songs in their early, pre-fame concerts than by any other artist. In fact, they’d been doing “Roll Over Beethoven” since they were still known as the Quarrymen.
The inspiration for this classic was Chuck Berry’s sister Lucy, who was constantly using the family piano to practice classical music. The song’s irreverent message is that the time had come to be free of this stuffy outdated music and replace it with something fresh and new. The lyrics are filled with youthful slang and pop culture references. Considering how popular the song became, we might appreciate “Roll Over Beethoven” as a bellwether of the profound generational change that was just getting underway. The birth of rock and roll was the start of a new dominant youth culture, a culture that was peaking during Beatlemania, just as the Fab Four recorded this song for their album With the Beatles.
The tarot’s Ace of Wands corresponds perfectly to “Roll Over Beethoven”. Since it’s in the suit of Wands, this card symbolizes something related to the primordial element Fire, which we experience as energy. And as the Ace of the suit, this card can be interpreted as either a pure expression of Fire OR as a new expression of Fire. In other words, the Ace of Wands represents either the feeling of pure energy or starting something new, inspired by energy. When this card appears in a reading, you’re encouraged to recognize the spark of flame that dwells deep within you. Feel your personal fire!
It’s easy to hear “Roll Over Beethoven” as an expression of energy. It’s loaded with youthful verve and spirit. Just try listening without dancing or at least tapping your feet. Unlike the old classical music it’s rebelling against, this song is meant to be FUN, to make you feel alive, and to get you moving.
Here’s another indicator of “Roll Over Beethoven” corresponding to the Ace of Wands: When the 56 cards of the tarot’s minor arcana are viewed as a sequence, the Ace of Wands is placed as the very first one. As the card symbolizing an initial spark, this makes sense. Meanwhile, consider the fact that the Beatles chose “Roll Over Beethoven” as the opener of their concerts on their first US tour. Despite all the hits they could have chosen, they opened with this one because they knew from many years of playing it that it was a perfect start to spark the crowd’s energy!
“You know my temperature’s risin’
And the jukebox’s blows a fuse
My heart’s beatin’ rhythm
And my soul keeps singing the blues”
This is song #59 of the Beatles Song Tarot Project. Click here to learn more about this magical, mystical trip through the Beatles catalogue.
(Please scroll down to watch a live version of “Roll Over Beethoven”)