A friend promised (threatened?) to bring some Chuck Berry to a gathering to celebrate my ageing. I said that’ll keep the teenagers away, and I told him I’d seen Chuck live in concert in 1973 and that he was already over 40yrs old then. This prompted me go to wikipedia to see just how old he is.
He died yesterday aged 90.
Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as ‘Maybellene’ (1955), ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ (1956), ‘Rock and Roll Music’ (1957) and ‘Johnny B. Goode (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive. Writing lyrics that focused on teen life and consumerism, and developing a music style that included guitar solos and showmanship, Berry was a major influence on subsequent rock music.
Here he is playing in 1973:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said: ‘While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together. It was his particular genius to graft country and western guitar licks onto a rhythm and blues chassis in his very first single, “Maybellene”.
Berry contributed three things to rock music: an irresistible swagger, a focus on the guitar riff as the primary melodic element and an emphasis on songwriting as storytelling. John Lennon said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.” Ted Nugent said, “If you don’t know every Chuck Berry lick, you can’t play rock guitar.”
We’ll certainly play some Chuck Berry at our gathering. LOUD. Smoke the teenagers out!