It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They furnished off an apartment with a two room Roebuck sale
The coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale
But when Pierre found work, the little money comin' worked out well
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They had a hi-fi phono, boy, did they let it blast
Seven hundred little records, all rock, rhythm and jazz
But when the sun went down, the rapid tempo of the music fell
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They bought a souped-up jitney, 'twas a cherry red '53
They drove it down to Orleans to celebrate the anniversary
It was there that Pierre was married to the lovely mademoiselle
"C'est la vie", say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

Lyrics submitted by Nelly

"You Never Can Tell" as written by Chuck Berry

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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You Never Can Tell song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentTo add to the last comment... it is about a teenage wedding that actually lasted. "C'est la vie" is a french expression that translated in english means "that's life" sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't hence you never can tell.
    jermsteadon October 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti loved it when mia and vincent danced to this song in pulp fiction! Tarantino always know what music goes best with the movies. KICK ASS.
    maggotbrainon April 25, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is about a teenage couple getting married and staying together. Many of Berry's songs are written from the perspective of young people.
    This was one of the new batch of hits Berry produced after being released from his 1962-63 prison incarceration.
    Berry invented a new word for the lyrics: "Coolerator." It means "refrigerator."
    kmk_natashaon March 26, 2005   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think that none has so far realized that the song is actually about a DEAD COUPLE!!! This can be argued by the sharp contrast between the verbs in the simple past (was... wished... could... fournished... and so on) and the present of the lines

    And NOW the young monsieur and madame HAVE RUNG the chapel bell,
    "C'est la vie", SAY the old folks, it GOES to show you never can tell.

    So, the chapel bell is not ringing on their marriage (it would be "and THEN the young Monsieur and Madame RUNG the hapel bell" or the similar) but on their funeral!!! It is way the old folks NOW say "C'est la vie!", now when something bad is happened, because, do not forget!, the expression "C'est la vie" always expresses complaint about something bad but unvoidable.

    Guys, that's Chuck Berry, that's Rock'n'Roll!! Irony and double sense are always there! A banal love song about a couple wiho has an happy life is out of place here!

    Even more tragical here is that the youg couple dies on their anniversary, while driving back with a brand new car to the place where they got married, a year after... Call no man happy 'till he dies!
    paolobeatleson November 02, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs mentioned, this song is about a teenage couple that managed to stay together, against the odds. The oldsters who observe this, having expected it to fall apart quickly, are surprised and say "huh, that's life, you never can tell".

    This song probably had personal meaning to Chuck Berry. In 1959, he was arrested and imprisoned on trumped up charges of violating the "Mann Act", related to a sexual relationship he allegedly had with an underage girl. This song was written while Berry was in prison.

    And no, this song is not about a young couple who have died, as one comment would have it. The use of past tense in the song is just the perspective chosen by the songwriter, nothing more.
    rkpetersenon February 20, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPulp Fiction rules.
    GlassJAw182on August 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really like the Chcuk Berry songs with the one driving rhythm, this is one of those.
    fourgangeron November 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song. Chuck Berry was so 'cool' back in the days, f'real.
    convinceon December 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDamn... I am not a big english speaker but it seems so obvious:

    "But when the sun went down,
    the rapid tempo of the music fell..."

    They had almost everything but no "fun" in the night, dear kids...
    nikolawfeon October 13, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentChuck Berry wrote it and it's been played and played but still has life in it. One thing it says is that not much surprises old people.
    sdz896542on January 14, 2016   Link

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