Give Rock and Roll Another Name

John Lennon said: “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”

Chuck died two years ago today. So I repost this post from my ApacheAdventures blog in tribute and an admission of ignorance. Hey! I was only eighteen and I hailed from the Vrystaat:

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Jim Stanton was aghast! He had just invited me along to a rock concert in Oklahoma City and I had immediately accepted. Now he was exclaiming: Don’t say that! Don’t say you don’t know who Chuck Berry is!

My motto in Apache was I only say yes to all invitations to travel – only YES! Or Yes Please! I only have one short year in America; Gotta go everywhere! Gotta dodge school!

Jim’s follow-up questions had forced me to admit my ignorance. But I was willing to learn, I had a ball in the City, and I have been a Chuck Berry fan ever since!

What I didn’t tell Jim is I had even less heard of Bo Diddley! He featured with Chuck and they rocked up a storm. “My ding-a-ling” was really big just then! OK, that didn’t sound right, but anyway . . knowwaddimean . . .

He played all his hits, including “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybelline,” “Nadine,” “No Particular Place to Go,” “Reelin’ and Rockin’,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Surfin’ U.S.A,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” . . .

That was 1973. Recently I saw a 2014 pic of Jim on the internets. That’s him in the red T at an Apache Rattlesnake Roundup. Hi Jim! Never forgotten! Thought of you again when Chuck died aged 90 this year – 2017.

jim-stainton

Some Chuck Berry:

– “People don’t want to see seventeen pieces in neckties. They wanna see some jeans, some gettin’ down and some wigglin’.”

– “I love poetry. I love rhyming. Do you know, there are poets who don’t rhyme? Shakespeare did not rhyme most of the time and that’s why I don’t like him.”

– “It amazes me when I hear people say ‘I want to go out and find out who I am’. I always knew who I was. I was going to be famous if it killed me.”

– “I would sing the blues if I had the blues.”

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Bo

In 1963, Bo Diddley starred in a UK concert tour with the Everly Brothers and Little Richard. The supporting act was a little up-and-coming outfit called The Rolling Stones.

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Oh no! Chuck Berry Died!

JonDinDin Taylor promised (threatened?) to bring some Chuck Berry to a gathering to celebrate my ageing. I said that’ll keep the teenagers away.

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 AndersonChuckBerry (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:

Chuck_Berry_Midnight_Special_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!