RIP Chuck Berry

At last, some serious news from the states.

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33 Responses to RIP Chuck Berry

  1. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Saw him on stage in the Seventies. Vale Chuck Berry.

  2. Philippa Martyr

    Oh, that classic SNL sketch with the psychics, reporting that the Voyager probe – with the record attached, including ‘Johnny B Goode’ – had been intercepted by aliens.

    So far, only one message had been received from the aliens: SEND MORE CHUCK BERRY.

  3. Jeff

    The old folks wish you well

  4. RobK

    His music is a universal language. A wonderfully talented man.
    R.I.P.

  5. [email protected]
  6. Turtle of WA

    The true king of Rock N Roll. Elvis was just a male Barbie doll.

    Berry was a frontman, singer, songwriter and lead guitarist. The full package, and the greatest of early rock n roll.

    My favourite song: Nadine. It uses a different formula to the rest, a Bb (A-shape power chord) with low open notes.

    Hail hail Chuck Berry.

    This doco is brilliant: Hail Hail Rock n Roll.

  7. Turtle of WA

    So far, only one message had been received from the aliens: SEND MORE CHUCK BERRY.

    So, Philippa, they didn’t want any Beethoven Mozart or Bach?

  8. Nick

    When he was singing about ‘my dingaling’ he didn’t mean his bike ..

  9. Motelier

    God must be planning one hell of a party with all of this talent he is assembling.

    The fact that tributes to Chuck were made in movies well after is proof.

    This is an oldy, but a goody, well it is where I come from.

  10. Infidel Tiger

    David Burge‏ @iowahawkblog
    The greatest rock n roller who ever lived. He belongs on Mt Rushmore, and this should be our national anthem.

    Chuck Berry “Back in the USA”
    http://www.youtube.com

    An incredible artist. Changed the course of music.

  11. Bruce

    Went to a concert of his here in Brisbane back in the mid-ish ’70s, when there was quite a “revival” going on, due in part to the influence of “American Graffiti”.

    His “local” backing band was some kids from Adelaide, who went by the name of, “The Keystone Angels”.

    Can’t remember the particular song, but there was a “piano” break, being played by the Oz keyboard guy.

    Berry stood there with his guitar slung back, for a few bars, then unceremoniously shoved the poor bloke off the piano stool and gave an outrageous demonstration of Boogie and Stride piano technique. The crowd went nuts, the lads from Adelaide subsequently dropped “Keystone” from their band name, and the rest is history.

    I think my brother still has the “official” programme for the gig.

  12. JC

    Yea well

    Chuck Berry, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and one of the pioneers of rock music, has had several run-ins with the law. He was most notably caught secretly videotaping inside the women’s restroom of his restaurant The Southern Air in 1989.

    One of his employees took him to court alleging that the tapes were created for him to use as part of his “sexual fetishes.” This eventually lead to a class-action suit. When Berry’s home was searched it was discovered that the rocker had been in possession of firearms, marijuana, and a collection of videotaped depicting underage women performing sexual acts. Charges for the case were eventually dropped after the lawyer for the prosecution was caught in a financial scandal.

  13. RIP, Chuck.

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  14. Yea well

    Chuck Berry, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and one of the pioneers of rock music, has had several run-ins with the law. He was most notably caught secretly videotaping inside the women’s restroom of his restaurant The Southern Air in 1989.

    One of his employees took him to court alleging that the tapes were created for him to use as part of his “sexual fetishes.” This eventually lead to a class-action suit. When Berry’s home was searched it was discovered that the rocker had been in possession of firearms, marijuana, and a collection of videotaped depicting underage women performing sexual acts. Charges for the case were eventually dropped after the lawyer for the prosecution was caught in a financial scandal.

    Foibles, JC. Peccadilloes. 😀 Seriously, the man was fallible like the rest of us. But his music was something else.

  15. Nerblnob

    I wonder will the tributes will play “Back in the USA”, supposedly inspired by a tour of Australia where nothing was open late at night.

    Looking hard for a drive-in
    Searching for a corner cafe
    Where hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day
    Yeah, and the jukebox jumping with records back in the USA

    Years later, the revisionists decided it was in fact because he encountered The Racism in Australia.

    Worth a listen:

    Back in the USA

  16. Nerblnob

    I just noticed Infidel via Iowahawk mentioned Back in the USA already.

    Turtle, he often used Bb – Johnny B Goode for example. Something to do with piano and sax favoured keys and also what he liked to sing in.

  17. stackja

    UK claims credit for Berry’s only No.1
    Harriet Line, Press Association [via heraldsun.com.au]
    March 19, 2017 9:45pm
    Chuck Berry may have been a true American rock ‘n’ roll great, but his only number one record was recorded in Britain.

    During his 1972 tour of the UK, the guitarist performed an epic version of his racy song My Ding A-Ling at the Locarno Ballroom in Coventry as part of the Lanchester Arts Festival, according to the city’s Music Museum.

    Berry’s performance of the Dave Bartholomew novelty song was recorded live, and he split the audience into gender groups with the girls singing “I want you to play with” followed by the boys singing “My Ding A-Ling”.

    My Ding A-Ling’s lyrics drew scorn from moral guardian Mary Whitehouse, but was a hit with fans and took the number one spot in both the UK and US charts.

    The song was Berry’s first – and only – record to make it to number one.

    My Ding A-Ling was originally 11.28 minutes long on The London Chuck Berry Sessions album, but was cut down to 4.13 minutes for the single.

    It stayed in the US charts for a year, and the follow up song – Reelin’ ‘n’ Rockin’, which was also recorded at Coventry – made it to number 18 in the UK and 27 in the US charts.

    Berry apparently had no idea that the concert was being recorded. He referred to the show at the time as the “defining moment in his career”, the museum said.

    The Coventry show over-ran and fans were urged to leave the venue by a compere – a recording of which made it onto the Johnny B Goode live track.

  18. Mark M

    After an absolutely incredible, outrageous, almost disastrous evening, Keith sat down, exhausted, with a bottle of Jack Daniels in that funky dressing room and did that great interview at 4.30am.

    One of the brilliant things Keith did was that he found Johnnie Johnson.
    He was the incredible piano player on those Chuck Berry records, and he was driving a bus.

    Keith had come to the realisation that, unlike most guitar rock’n’rollers, Chuck Berry’s music was different; it was in piano keys, not in guitar keys.

    When Keith saw how Johnnie worked, he realised that, probably, Johnnie had been part of most of the songwriting that Chuck Berry did.

    Like a musicologist, a lifelong aficionado and student of Chuck Berry’s, Keith was just talking about what he had heard. He made a discovery which was in the film.

    Of course, an enterprising lawyer found Johnnie had not profited from these recordings, and there was a quite widely publicised lawsuit.

    Taylor Hackford
    Friday, 16 March 2007

    https://web.archive.org/web/20081205165400/http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/rocknroll-fireworks-keith-richards-and-chuck-berry-together-on-stage-440364.html

    (via instapundit)

  19. Blair

    ” wonder will the tributes will play “Back in the USA”, supposedly inspired by a tour of Australia ”
    Chuck first toured Australia in January and February, 1959, and “Back in the USA” was released by Chuck later that year. So I guess that could be on the cards.
    1959
    HEADLINERS PRESENT `SHOWER OF STARS’:
    CHUCK BERRY, GEORGE HAMILTON IV, BOBBY DARIN, JO-ANN CAMPBELL, WITH JOHNNY O’KEEFE & THE DEE JAYS, FLYING WARRENS & RAY MCGEARY
    JAN 31
    WEST MELBOURNE STADIUM (X 3)
    FEB 2
    WEST MELBOURNE STADIUM (X 2)
    FEB 3
    WEST MELBOURNE STADIUM (X 2)
    FEB 4
    SYDNEY STADIUM (X 2)
    FEB 5
    SYDNEY STADIUM (X 2)
    FEB 6
    SYDNEY STADIUM (X 2)
    FEB 7
    SYDNEY STADIUM (X 3)

  20. nerblnob

    They’re overstating it a bit with the piano keys. But the Johnny B Goode riff seems like a piano phrase. T-Bone Walker and Louis Jordan’s guitarist were playing similar stuff.

    Did Johnnie Johnson get anything out of it? Success has many fathers.

  21. cynical1

    They’re overstating it a bit with the piano keys

    No they are not.

    Guitar players hate the flat keys. Esp Eb.

    The reason Berry was there was for the piano and Johnson.

    Playing the lead patterns “between the dots” give us guitar players headache.

    Elvis was only the king cos Chuck was black and Eddie Cochran was dead.

  22. struth

    When it comes to the type of music Chuck was playing, B flat works well on a guitar.
    Many, like BB King etc, played their blues etc, up on that area of the fretboard.
    In many ways it’s easier.
    They can actually be more versatile.
    E and A are for learners!!!!!
    C is a piano key.
    Besides that, and as this is a political blog, I would like to add, that the greatest artists and the greatest music always come out of non government funded, capitalists societies.
    The pub rock from Australia in the seventies eighties and even into the early nineties, when there was freedom from regulation enough to operate pub gigs, and money to be made doing them.
    There is a reason the golden age of Rock started in America, when it started, a reason that there were as many black artists, (many more at the start) than whites, as with an air of energetic enthusiasm, they took the blues and emphasised major (happy) keys and double, tripled the tempo!
    Capitalism is freedom for all, but especially freedom for artists.
    I reckon Chuck Berry was a great Musician and a great entertainer.
    He penned rock and roll.
    The true three chord, 12 bar rock that wasn’t the blues.
    He lived to ninety.
    He embodied and loved the country that fostered and enabled him.
    All in all, he gained so much from their system, he was able to spread happiness and excitement all around the world in a brilliant musical way, every note joyously celebrating the capitalism and freedom that electrified his guitar, and stood back out of his road, government hardly a thought in his mind from day to day, letting him give back to humanity, that which socialism can never do, and has never done, that now gives us musicians as apathetic, boring and unoriginal as the socialism they exist in.
    Chuck Berry grabbed hold of what 1950’s America had to offer,used it and his talents to lighten peoples loads all around the world.
    A great effort from a man and his country.
    Chuck Berry lived a great life, and a long one, and it was his time to die.
    R.I.P.
    Let’s hope the country that enabled him, isn’t going with him.

  23. Nerblnob

    Meh. Chuck had long fingers and played bar chords. It was all the same in any key to him.

    He would change key in the middle of a song just for the hell of it – which his pickup backing bands weren’t always wise to and resulted in some awful sounding gigs.

  24. Nerblnob

    That was for cynical1 – I more or less agree with struth.

    I don’t it’s necessary to slag off Elvis to praise Chuck. Elvis was fucking ace.

  25. Fulcrum

    Chuck Berry did more to improve race relations than any politician ever did. Think upon that simple simple truth.

  26. Bushdoc

    Another great gone to “the great gig in the sky” to quote Pink Floyd. Chuck was the first guitarist I fell in love with as a kid. (my mom thought” I want to play with my ding-a-ling” was disgusting but she would since along to Maybelline) I pulled out my old Gibson 335 last night to strum a few Chuck chords, and yes some are still a stretch – particularly with the finger arthritis these days, but hell it was worth it. RIP

  27. Marcus

    Made it to the Promised Land, at long last.

    Only released his most recent album just the other week, didn’t he? Phenomenal.

  28. Des Deskperson

    All this reminds me, obliquely, of the first example out outrage over ‘cultural appropriation’ that I can recall.

    In the film ‘Back to the Future’, Marty McFly, transported back to 1955, plays guitar at the Senior Prom (or whatever) and plays a riff – if that’s the correct term- from ‘Johnny B Goode’. A fellow musician, one Marvin Berry, phones his cousin, holds up the mouthpiece and and says ‘Hey Chuck, this mighty be the new sound you are looking for’.

    While the film was clearly a comedy-fantasy with no link to reality, the SJWs of the day went, as they say, ape s**t over what they saw as a racist slur, a blatant assertion that a whitey invented Rock and Roll.

  29. .

    While the film was clearly a comedy-fantasy with no link to reality, the SJWs of the day went, as they say, ape s**t over what they saw as a racist slur, a blatant assertion that a whitey invented Rock and Roll.

    Funnily enough, rap music has its roots in the way poor white southerners used to talk.

    So much cultural appropriation.

    Key changes are hugely important. Google/youtube popular songs for major/minor key changes.

  30. struth

    Funnily enough, rap music has its roots in the way poor white southerners used to talk.

    It is almost completely spoken (note I did not say sing) with a New York Jooooooish accent.
    They took the “nanny” down a few octaves.

  31. Jannie

    Vale Chuck, sweetly into that night. A great inspiration to those who wish to pursue a life hedonic until its over, at 90. Hail Hail Rock and Roll!

  32. Nerblnob

    Funnily enough, rap music has its roots in the way poor white southerners used to talk.

    Not to mention gospel music:

    Gospel’s Hebridean roots

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