Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hail the true king of rock 'n' roll

Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born in St. Louis on this day in 1925 -- hail, hail the King of Rock 'n' Roll!!!

Many great black performers have influenced the landscape of American roots music, but few have had the impact Chuck Berry brought to the stage and recording studio.

He played wild electric guitar riffs and wrote catchy songs that became instant classics. Songs like "Maybellene'' -- which started the barrage way, way back in 1955 before anyone was calling it rock 'n' roll. Then came "Rock and Roll Music'' (it's got a backbeat, you can't lose it), "Brown Eyed Handsome Man,'' "Sweet Little Sixteen,'' "Johnny B. Goode'' and "Memphis.'' You could have hung your hat on any one of those and called it a career. Berry fired them all off.

And the world listened, among them some impressionable young musicians who would raise some hell themselves with electric guitars and rock music.

At Berry's Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Induction in 1986, Keith Richards admitted: “It’s hard for me to induct Chuck Berry, because I lifted every lick he ever played!”

John Lennon once said: "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry."

Fittingly, Berry was part of the Hall's first official class of inductees, along with other black trailblazers like James Brown, Sam Cook, Ray Charles, Fats Domino and Little Richard. (Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis and the Everly Brothers were also honored at the time.)

This may scare you, but to get me on the dance floor these days it's gotta be rock and roll music -- it's gotta be Chuck Berry music -- if you wanna dance with me.


  1. Amen brother. Chuck Berry is the most influential person in the history of rock and roll. He not only created the template for guitar but he is one of the greatest songwriters.

    During all the hoopla when Michael Jackson died I kept thinking, "Jesus if they are doing this for him, what's gonna happen when Chuck Berry goes?"

  2. any way you choose it, just let me hear some of that rock n roll... and dance away!

  3. Sadly, I think the seeing-off party for Chuck Berry will pale in comparison to the pale one ...