There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood
Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode,
Who never ever learned to read or write so well
But he could play a guitar just like a ringin’ a bell.
You can’t copyright guitar licks and maybe that’s good, because if you could, Chuck might have hoarded them as he does his Cadillacs. Without The Chuck Berry Riff, we’d lose not just the Beach Boys, but essential elements of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, and Bruce Springsteen — to mention only the most obvious examples. In a way, what was at the center of the first wave of the British Invasion could be described as a Chuck Berry revival.
~Dave Marsh (The Heart of Rock and Soul)
“What’s Going On is not only Marvin Gaye’s masterpiece, it’s the most important and passionate record to come out of soul music, delivered by one of its finest voices, a man finally free to speak his mind and so move from R&B sex symbol to true recording artist.”
~John Bush (allmusic.com)
Bob Dylan recorded “Mississippi” @ Sony Studios, NYC, May 21, 2001 – 4 takes.. take 4 selected for “Love & Theft“. (date according to C. Heylin – Still On The Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan: Vol. 2)Bob Dylan (Guitar, piano & vocal), Charlie Sexton (guitar), Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, violin & banjo), Augie Meyers (keyboards & accordion), Tony Garnier (bass), David Kemper (drums & percussion).
“Maybellene” (May 21, 1955 at Universal Recording Studios in Chicago,Illinois) is a song recorded by Chuck Berry, adapted from the traditional fiddle tune “Ida Red” that tells the story of a hot rod race and a broken romance. It was released in July 1955 as a single on Chess Records of Chicago, Illinois. It was Berry’s first single release and his first hit. “Maybellene” is considered one of the pioneering rock and roll singles: Rolling Stone magazine wrote, “Rock & roll guitar starts here.” The record is an early instance of the complete rock and roll package: youthful subject matter, small guitar-driven combo, clear diction, and an atmosphere of unrelenting excitement.
Albert Bernard Grossman (May 21, 1926 – January 25, 1986) was an American entrepreneur and manager in the American folk music scene and rock and roll. He was most famous as the manager of Bob Dylan between 1962 and 1970.
“Roll over, Beethoven, and tell Tchaikovsky the news.”
Keith Richards Inducts Chuck Berry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986):
“Chuck was my man. He was the one who made me say ‘I want to play guitar, Jesus Christ!’…Suddenly I knew what I wanted to do.”
~Keith Richards (1992)
“..if you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”
“Well, now, Chuck Berry was a rock & roll songwriter. So I never tried to write rock &
roll songs, ‘cause I figured he had just done it.”
~Bob Dylan (to Kurt Loder October 1987)
Rock and Roll Music – Toronto, Canada – 1969 (full concert):
Charles Edward Anderson Berry
October 18, 1926 (age 87)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Rock and roll, blues,rhythm and blues
Chess, Mercury, Atco
Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as “Maybellene” (1955), “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958), Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and utilizing guitar solos and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.
Of all the early breakthrough rock & roll artists, none is more important to the development of the music than Chuck Berry. He is its greatest songwriter, the main shaper of its instrumental voice, one of its greatest guitarists, and one of its greatest performers. Quite simply, without him there would be no Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, nor a myriad others. There would be no standard “Chuck Berry guitar intro,” the instrument’s clarion call to get the joint rockin’ in any setting. The clippety-clop rhythms of rockabilly would not have been mainstreamed into the now standard 4/4 rock & roll beat. There would be no obsessive wordplay by modern-day tunesmiths; in fact, the whole history (and artistic level) of rock & roll songwriting would have been much poorer without him.
“he wrote all of the great songs and came up with all the rock & roll beats.”
Those who do not claim him as a seminal influence or profess a liking for his music and showmanship show their ignorance of rock’s development as well as his place as the music’s first great creator. Elvis may have fueled rock & roll’s imagery, but Chuck Berry was its heartbeat and original mindset. ~Cub Koda (allmusic.com)
– Johnny B Goode:
While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together. It was his particular genius to graft country & western guitar licks onto a rhythm & blues chassis in his very first single, “Maybellene.”
-Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984
Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986, with the comment that he “laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance.”
The Kennedy Center Honors in 2000
being named seventh on Time magazine’s 2009 list of the 10 best electric guitar players of all-time
On May 14, 2002, Chuck Berry was honored as one of the first BMI Icons at the 50th annual BMI Pop Awards. He was presented the award along with BMI affiliates Bo Diddley and Little Richard.
Berry is included in several Rolling Stone “Greatest of All Time” lists. In September 2003, the magazine named him number 6 in their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
This was followed in November of the same year by his compilation album The Great Twenty-Eight being ranked 21st in the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The following year, in March 2004, Berry was ranked fifth out of “The Immortals – The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.
In December 2004, six of his songs were included in the “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, namely “Johnny B. Goode” (#7), “Maybellene” (#18), “Roll Over Beethoven” (#97), “Rock and Roll Music” (#128), “Sweet Little Sixteen” (#272) and “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” (#374).
In June 2008, his song “Johnny B. Goode” ranked first place in the “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time”.
Berry’s recording of “Johnny B. Goode” was included on the Voyager Golden Record, attached to the Voyager spacecraft as representing rock and roll, one of four American songs included among many cultural achievements of humanity.
Berry was honored alongside Leonard Cohen as the recipients of the first annual Pen Awards for songwriting excellence at the JFK Presidential Library, Boston, Mass. on February 26, 2012
Today, at the age of 86, Berry continues to play live.
Album of the day – The Ultimate Chuck Berry (2007)
Jazz is not background music. You must concentrate upon it in order to get the most of it. You must absorb most of it. The harmonies within the music can relax, soothe, relax, and uplift the mind when you concentrate upon and absorb it. Jazz music stimulates the minds and uplifts the souls of those who play it was well as of those who listen to immerse themselves in it. As the mind is stimulated and the soul uplifted, this is eventually reflected in the body.
“We all have to open our minds, stretch forth, take chances and venture out musically to try and arrive at something new and different.”
Song For My Father – Live – Denmark TV 1968:
Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva
September 2, 1928 (age 85)
Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S.
Horace Silver Quintet
Horace Silver Trio
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Horace Silver (born September 2, 1928), born Horace Ward Martin Tavares Silva in Norwalk, Connecticut, is an American jazz pianist and composer.
Silver is known for his distinctive humorous and funky playing style and for his pioneering compositional contributions to hard bop. He was influenced by a wide range of musical styles, notably gospel music, African music, and Latin American music and sometimes ventured into the soul jazz genre.
From allmusic (Chris Kelsey):
From the perspective of the early 2000s, it is clear that few jazz musicians have had a greater impact on the contemporary mainstream than Horace Silver. The hard bop style that Silver pioneered in the ’50s is now dominant, played not only by holdovers from an earlier generation, but also by fuzzy-cheeked musicians who had yet to be born when the music fell out of critical favor in the ’60s and ’70s. … read more -> allmusic.com
When Horace Silver once wrote out his rules for musical composition (in the liner notes to the 1968 record, Serenade to a Soul Sister), he expounded on the importance of “meaningful simplicity.” The pianist could have just as easily been describing his own life. For more than fifty years, Silver has simply written some of the most enduring tunes in jazz while performing them in a distinctively personal style. It’s all been straight forward enough, while decades of incredible experiences have provided the meaning. .. read more -> allaboutjazz.com
Silver’s music has been a major force in modern jazz. He was one of the first pioneers of the style known as hard bop, influencing such pianists as Bobby Timmons, Les McCann, and Ramsey Lewis. Second, the instrumentation of his quintet (trumpet, tenor sax, piano, double bass, and drums) served as a model for small jazz groups from the mid-1950s until the late 1960s.Further, Silver’s ensembles provided an important training ground for young players, many of whom (such as Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Blue Mitchell,Woody Shaw, Junior Cook, and Joe Henderson) later led similar groups of their own.
Silver’s talent did not go unnoticed among rock musicians who bore jazz influences, either; Steely Dan sent Silver into the Top 40 in the early 1970s when they crafted their biggest hit single, “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number,” off the bass riff that opens “Song for My Father.”
As social and cultural upheavals shook the nation during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Silver responded to these changes through music. He commented directly on the new scene through a trio of records called United States of Mind (1970–1972) that featured the spirited vocals of Andy Bey. The composer got deeper into cosmic philosophy as his group, Silver ‘N Strings, recorded Silver ‘N Strings Play The Music of the Spheres (1979).
Señor Blues (Horace Silver, Blue Mitchell & Junior Cook):
There’s a scream inside everyone of us at every moment. And every one of us has had the experience of listening to a record and feeling that scream take over. Release. Abandon. Let it all out. Rock and Roll for me is about Eros, not Logos, which is paradoxical since my job is putting the experience in words.
~Paul Williams (Author’s note)
One of our favorite authors here at JV is Paul Williams, and…. he did write about other stuff than Bob Dylan.
We all love lists, so I’ll try out a new series of posts honoring one of his lesser known books:
..the list is chronological, starting back before the beginning and going through the 50′s and the 60′s and the 70′s and the 80′s, and ending for the sake of convenience in 1991. So #1 is not supposed to be ‘better’ than #100. It just got in the line first.
My criteria are simple: the song has to have been released as a seven-inch 45 rpm single in the United States or Great Britain (Robert Johnson’s 78 rpm ten-inch is the exception that proved the rule), and it has be “rock and roll” according to my subjective evaluation…
~Paul Williams (Author’s note)