“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)
|Birth name||Charles Edward Anderson Berry|
|Born||October 18, 1926 (age 87)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Genres||Rock and roll, blues,rhythm and blues|
|Labels||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.
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.
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)
Other October 18:
This is powerful music and belongs in any serious music fan’s library. You can’t own too much Muddy Waters. And even if you bought the Chess Box Set, only a third of these tracks were included. ESSENTIAL
~Steve Vrana (amazon.com review)
Not just an essential historical record of an artist and genre, these are some of the most seminal and inspired blues performances ever recorded.
~Hal Horowitz (allmusic.com)
Down South Blues @ spotify:
|Released||June 27, 2000|
|Recorded||1947-September 17, 1952 Chicago|
|Producer||Leonard & Phil Chess, Andy McKaie|
Rollin’ Stone: The Golden Anniversary Collection is a compilation album collecting the first 50 master recordings of blues singer Muddy Waters for Chess Records. The collection spans Muddy’s debut with then named Aristocrat Records circa 1947, and traces his evolution as a songwriter and musician up to September 17th, 1952 on what became Chess Records after the company changed ownership. It is the first in a series of releases chronicling Muddy Waters’ complete recording career at Chess. The second release in the series is Hoochie Coochie Man: The Complete Chess Masters, Volume 2, 1952-1958 (2004) and the third release in the series is You Shook Me: The Complete Chess Masters, Volume 3, 1958 to 1963 (2012).
Gypsy Woman @spotify:
- Muddy Waters – vocals, guitar (all tracks)
- Sunnyland Slim – piano
- Ernest “Big” Crawford – bass
- Alex Atkins – alto sax
- Leroy Foster – guitar, drums
- Johnny Jones – piano
- Jimmy Rogers – guitar, vocals
- Little Walter – harmonica, guitar, vocals
- Leonard Chess – producer, bass drum
- Elgin Evans – drums
- Phil Chess – producer
Album of the day:
Other June 27:
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)
another great live version (much later):
|Released||March 31, 1958|
|Format||7″ 45 RPM, 10″ 78 RPM|
|Recorded||January 6, 1958 at Chess Studios, Chicago, Illinois|
|Genre||Rock and roll|
|Producer||Little “Bongo” Kraus|
“Johnny B. Goode” is a 1958 rock and roll song written and originally performed by Chuck Berry. The song was a major hit among both black and white audiences peaking at #2 on Billboard magazine’s Hot R&B Sides chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song is one of Chuck Berry’s most famous recordings, has been covered by many artists, and has received several honors and accolades. It is also considered to be one of the most recognizable songs in music history.
Go Johnny Go Go (x4)
Johnny B. Goode
Written by Berry in 1955, the song is about a poor country boy who plays a guitar “just like ringing a bell,” and who might one day have his “name in lights.” Berry has acknowledged that the song is partly autobiographical, and originally had “colored boy” in the lyrics, but he changed it to “country boy” to ensure radio play. The title is suggestive that the guitar player is good, and hints at autobiographic elements because Berry was born at 2520 Goode Avenue in St. Louis. The song was initially inspired by Berry’s piano player, Johnnie Johnson, though developed into a song mainly about Berry himself. Though Johnnie Johnson played on many other Chuck Berry songs, it was Lafayette Leake who played piano on this song.
The opening guitar riff on “Johnny B. Goode” is essentially a note-for-note copy of the opening single-note solo on Louis Jordan’s “Ain’t That Just Like a Woman” (1946), played by guitarist Carl Hogan.
Louis Jordan – Ain`t That Just Like A Woman:
- Chuck Berry – vocals, guitar
- Lafayette Leake – piano
- Willie Dixon – bass
- Fred Below – drums
Bruce Springsteen & Chuck Berry – Johnny B Goode (Live 1995):
- Berry’s recording of the song 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.
- When Chuck Berry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, he performed “Johnny B. Goode” and “Rock and Roll Music,” backed by Bruce Springsteen and theE Street Band. The Hall of Fame included these songs and “Maybellene” in their list of the 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll.
- It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, for its influence as a rock & roll single.
|List||Publisher||Rank||Year of Publication|
|500 Greatest Songs of All Time||Rolling Stone||7||2010|
|100 Greatest Guitar Tracks||Q||42||2005|
|100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time||Rolling Stone||1||2008|
|Top 3000 Songs||Acclaimed Music||6||N/A|
|500 Songs That Shaped Rock||Rock & Roll Hall of Fame||N/A||1995|
|50 Greatest Guitar Solos||Guitar World||12||2009|
And Dave Marsh put in on number 2 in his brilliant list of “The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made“..
Album of the day:
The Anthology (2000):
Other January 06: