Chuck Berry: Not The First, But The Most Influential

Chuck Berry was a guitarist, singer and songwriter who was considered by some to be the Father of Rock n Roll. He died Saturday, March 18, 2017 at a residence outside St. Louis. He was 90.

He strung together a bunch of AM radio and 45 RPM hits in the 50s and 60s, including Johnny B. Goode, You Never Can Tell (Cest La Vie), Rock and Roll Music, Sweet Little Sixteen, Nadine, Roll Over Beethoven, and Brown-Eyed Handsome Man, and 10 or 20 more. His songs were covered by the Beatles, the Stones and Emmylou Harris, to name only three out of hundreds. He may have been the most influential songwriter ever.

Most younger readers have no idea (unless you were paying attention to Back to the Future) how important Chuck Berry was in the annals of rock n roll. He popularized speeded-up simple blues riffs and helped give us a whole new musical genre and the Duck Walk.

Chuck Berry, son of a school teacher, may not have invented the Duck Walk and he certainly didnt invent the Blues or Rock n Roll, but few have ever taken the time to realize what a great lyricist he was. Check out the lyrics to his You Never Can Tell (Cest La Vie):

It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well

You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle

And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell,

Cest la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They furnished off an apartment with a two room Roebuck sale

The coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale,

But when Pierre found work, the little money comin worked out well

Cest la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They had a hi-fi phono, boy, did they let it blast

Seven hundred little records, all rock, rhythm and jazz

But when the sun went down, the rapid tempo of the music fell

Cest la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They bought a souped-up jitney, twas a cherry red 53,

They drove it down to Orleans to celebrate the anniversary

It was there that Pierre was married to the lovely mademoiselle

Cest la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell.

You can scrutinize the lyrics to virtually any of his songs, and you will be hard-pressed to find a bad line or rhyme anywhere.

In 1959, Berry was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, for driving a 14-year-old Native-American girl across state lines for allegedly immoral purposes, and violation of the rarely-invoked Mann Act. Today that arrest is seen as a racist attack on Berry for sleeping with a white girl, although the victim was complicit and Native-American. January 1962, he was sentenced to three years in prison.

The Mann Act has been selectively applied in many notorious cases, most notably in Berrys and in that of the Black heavyweight boxing great Jack Johnson. In reality, the primary purpose of the Mann Act was to punish Black men for sleeping with white women. Rock n Roll pioneer Carl Perkins remarked, Never saw a man so changed , after the conviction and prison time, but Berrys writing was even better after that.

Chuck Berry will not be remembered for his arrest. He will instead be remembered as one of the guys who started it all. Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986. He was a lyricist on a par with Ray Davies of the Kinks. He will go down in history as maybe the most influential rock n roller ever.

Read more:

Facebook Comments
المادة السابقةGennady Golovkin’s knockout streak ended in narrow win over Daniel Jacobs
المقالة القادمةNeil deGrasse Tyson slams ‘delusion’ of Trump and his terrible budget cuts

لا يوجد تعليقات