Sad news that one the pioneers of rock and or roll, Chuck Berry, has passed away, though at 90 he had a good run.
Numerous thought on who was the first rock ‘n’ roller, it was a term used before what we now know as rock ‘n’ roll became the hit it did in the mid 50s. Was it fats Domino, was it Ike Turner with “Rocket 88”?
What we do know is that when it kicked off Chuck Berry was there and Chuck was rocking and rolling. And with all due respect to Fats, the Killer and Little Richard rock and roll is about standing up – though the latter two did that of course – but also standing up with a nice big guitar between your legs – rock and roll is phallic.
Chuck Berry, taking the moves of T-Bone Walker, the rhythm and blues of Muddy Waters, added in with a little bit of country, with a power chord rhythm and intro riffs, created the blueprint for so much rock that followed.
Songs about school, about cars and about sex that were aimed at all teenagers and not one single demographic, based on colour. Most of the songs, unlike other artists written by himself. Chuck Berry became rock and roll.
Even the court cases and prison cases didn’t stop Chuck, neither did the sex tape, nor his somewhat crotchety personality later when he’d stump up at a venue, play with the band provided and get paid in case – which led to more jail time.
Hell, what’s more rock ‘n’ roll.
The fact that his 1972 cover of “My Ding-a-Ling” was his only number one in Britain and the USA is a blight on both countries.