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Kent wrote a moving tribute to the late Chuck Berry. I requested and he gave me permission to share it with all of you here.
The Grandfather of Rock And Roll has passed away at the age of 90.
Let's take it a step further ...
Chuck Berry was The Architect of Rock And Roll ... he laid the foundation for a new musical art form that helped shape the music scene for every decade to come since.
Without Chuck Berry there are no Beatles ... no Rolling Stones ... no Beach Boys. He influenced his peers at the time of the advent of rock and roll ... and has inspired every generation of musician since.
On his own, he hit the pop charts 40 times between 1955 and 1972. He helped to define the early days of rock and roll with hit standards like "Maybelline" (#4, 1955); "Roll Over Beethoven" (#29, 1958); "School Day" (#3, 1957); "Rock And Roll Music" (#8, 1957); "Sweet Little Sixteen" (#2, 1958); "Johnny B. Goode" (#8, 1958); "Back In The USA" (#37, 1959); "Memphis, Tennessee (#87, 1959); "No Particular Place To Go" (#6, 1964); "You Never Can Tell" (#14, 1964) and "Promised Land" (#35, 1965).
Elvis covered "Promised Land" - The Beatles did "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Rock And Roll Music" - The Beach Boys copped "Sweet Little Sixteen" note-for-note and turned it into "Surfin' USA" (and ultimately had to give Chuck Berry co-writing credit on the tune) ... they also covered "Rock And Roll Music". The Rolling Stones did "Around And Around" and "Carol" ... Buddy Holly did "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" ... in fact, over the years nearly every major artist has, at one time or another, covered a Chuck Berry tune, either on record or live in concert. (Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstandt, The Dave Clark Five, Johnny Rivers ... who had Top Ten Hits with both "Memphis" and "Maybelline" ... the list goes on and on. Heck, name an artist from the '50's, '60's or '70's who DIDN'T do "Johnny B. Goode" at some point in their career! It may as well be our National Anthem!)
Sadly, his only official #1 Hit was probably one of the worst records he ever made ... a live, novelty, comeback hit of sorts in 1972 called "My Ding-A-Ling", which topped the charts across the boards in all the major trades.
He was one of a kind. His career was not without conflict and controversy ... but the very nature of who he was ... and what he created ... was never in dispute. (How many artists have you seen over the years who have mimicked his infamous duck-walk when playing a guitar solo? If you have any doubts at all, watch the clips of "Back To The Future" or the dance scene in "Pulp Fiction" ... the guy led the path to everything that has come since.)
Chuck Berry WAS rock and roll ... simple as that ... he embodied the very essence of the genre. His songs were so simply constructed and so well known that he could literally go into any town at any time, grab a pick-up band, and bring them up onstage with him to create a Chuck Berry concert. (And I saw him do it numerous times over the years!)
You will be missed ... but your music will never die. It will outlast all of us.
Take a moment to grieve ... and then put on some of those incredible records. That's what Chuck would want you to do ... enjoy the music ... and remember the joy he brought us over the past 60+ years.
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