Hail Hail Chuck Berry! 1921-2017 (Repost)

Sunday, 19 March 2017 08:25 PM Written by 



Chuck Berry's death at 90, with a new album looming, closes a chapter on not only the early days of rock and roll but on a master performer, guitarist and composer whose legacy will stand alongside every other major figure in American pop music. A fountainhead of rock, Berry was both original and synthesizer, who like Duke Ellington, Bob Wills, Bill Monroe and others who assimilated ideas from others, added their own ideas to create a distinctive and influential musical identity. In Berry's case, it left an impact whose repercussions have spanned generations and will not end anytime soon.  He was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984 and in 2000 was part of the Kennedy Center Honors alongside Clint Eastwood and Placido Domingo.

I've discussed Berry on this blog before and I may have a bit more to say. This entry from last October examined at the music sources that influenced him.

Tomorrow: Country Music Loves Berry.


From a deep love of blues, swing and country music, Berry created music for the ages, starting with this, his adaptation of the old country fiddle tune "Ida May" or, as Bob Wills did it, "Ida Red."


"Maybelline" (# 5)


"Roll Over Beethoven" (# 29)


"School Day" (# 3)

"Rock And Roll Music" (# 8)


"Sweet Little Sixteen" (# 2) Berry lip-synchs the single, (the source of the melody for the Beach Boys' "Surfin U.S.A.") on the February 22 Dick Clark Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show. And yes, that's a young Johnny Carson at the drums, next to Clark.

"Johnny B. Goode" (# 8) The original single.


"Back In The U.S.A." (# 37) from the July 18 Beech-Nut Show. Again, he's lip-synching the hit single, later revived by Linda Ronstadt.

"Memphis, Tennessee" Lonnie Mack made it a hit guitar instrumental in 1963 and Johnny Rivers revived it as a vocal in 1964 (Rivers' first hit single).


"No Particular Place To Go" (# 10) A hit the same year his disciples, the Beatles, hit American shores.

"You Never Can Tell" (# 14)


"My Ding-A-Ling" (# 1)  The hit single version.

Rock on, Chuck. You were brilliant, complex and kept it going until the end.


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