Charles Edward Anderson Berry - Born 18 October 1926.
A seminal figure in the evolution of Rock and Roll. Chuck Berry’s influence as a song writer and guitarist for that great music is incalculable – his words captured adolescent life - yet he was 30 years old when he started recording – And where did that "Duck Walk" come from?
I noticed that Chuck was booked in to appear at the Bournemouth Pier Theatre in November 2009 – this was cancelled and re – booked for February 2010 (this was also cancelled. He would be 84 and, as much as I would love to see him, it is clear that he is not up to a strenuous tour and – here is the worry – do I remember him as previously seen in his Prime or do I risk seeing him past his "sell by date" and shattering that great image that I have of him in my mind? – What would you do?
In 1955 during a chance visit to Chicago Chuck met the bluesman Muddy Waters who advised him to contact the Chess records Label. His demo tape of Maybelline was sufficient to win a recording contract and it became his debut single. It was a runaway success reaching No.5 in the US pop listings. It was his 3rd recording session which we now know to have been the cornerstone of his Rock and roll music. Chuck produced a string of great hits in that session including: Roll over Beethoven, Too much monkey business and Brown – eyed handsome man (subsequently recorded by Buddy Holly). Chuck’s sharp often piquant lyrics clarified by his clear diction introduced a new discipline to Rock and Roll music. Hit followed hit with such great songs as: Rock and Roll Music, Sweet little sixteen, Johnny be Good, Nadine, You never can tell, No particular place to go etc.
Such great lyrics and guitar work. Truly a giant in the Rock and Roll field. Both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones acknowledged his great work by recording his songs.
His hits dried up around 1963 but by then there were so many to keep his memory alive. In 1986 Chuck celebrated his 60th birthday and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame.
Throughout his life he has been a bit of a naughty boy – being in prison 3 times. Once for armed robbery – once for young ladies and once for Tax reasons. Perhaps having this rough edge and enforced periods of confinement helped to produce those great lyrics - Whatever, he is one of the greats in our lovely Rock and Roll music and was a large part of our teenage lives.
Would you go to see him if he appeared at your local theatre ? – let me know.
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