Chuck Berry

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

Category: Performer

Inducted in: 1986

Inducted by: Keith Richards

Nominated in: 1986

First Eligible: 1986 Ceremony


Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 1986 (ranked #4) .


Essential Albums (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3Amazon CD
Is On Top (1959)
St. Louis To Liverpool (1964)

Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
Maybellene (1955)
Brown Eyed Handsome Man (1956)
Roll Over Beethoven (1956)
Rock and Roll Music (1957)
School Days (1957)
Run Run Rudolph (1958)
Sweet Little Sixteen (1958)
Johnny B. Goode (1958)
Little Queenie (1959)
No Particular Place to Go (1964)
You Never Can Tell (1964)

Chuck Berry @ Wikipedia

Chuck Berry Videos

Comments

78 comments so far (post your own)

the best form the beginnings
or not.¡
regards

Posted by oscar zavala on Friday, 09.29.06 @ 23:38pm


Chuck Berry IS Rock n Roll. Don't know if this is the case, but he should have been honored with the distinction of being the first performer to go in. Not sure who WAS first in 1986.

Posted by Megawatt on Tuesday, 03.13.07 @ 10:38am


In the words of Bruce Springsteen who once backed up Chuck Berry as the local house band, he asked Chuck Berry what kind of songs they were gonna play that night, Chuck turned to them and said..
"We're gonna play some Chuck Berry songs" and the rest is musical history.....

Posted by Mtnbiker on Thursday, 09.11.08 @ 20:21pm


the real king of rock and roll

Posted by stumo on Thursday, 09.11.08 @ 20:30pm


We're gonna play some Chuck Berry songs"

Translation...They were going to play the same song 30 times, only he was going to put 30 sets of lyrics to it. I'm not such a big Chuck Berry fan...one song pretty much sounded like the next. But he was a vital part of the initial Rock & Roll movement, and I will give him credit for that. No one sounded quite like him (which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view). My overall favorite from that era would have to be Buddy Holly...singer, songwriter, and one of the first rock artists to really experiment with multi-track recording. He was very innovative.

Posted by Gitarzan on Thursday, 09.11.08 @ 21:14pm


I love hearing Chuck Berry.. My dad had me grow up.. Listening to him and Fats

Posted by lizy1234 on Thursday, 09.11.08 @ 22:13pm


The rocker of ROCKERS !!!!

Posted by mrxyz on Wednesday, 11.19.08 @ 18:19pm


chuck berry is the greatest rock sensation yet ev

Posted by poots bear on Monday, 02.2.09 @ 19:00pm


I've loved R&B and Rock'nRoll since the '50's before I was a teeny-bopper. My favorite artists were Chuck Berry, Fats Domino,The Coaster's and many more.Next month I will turn 69 and I can still fast dance and turn heads. Long live Rock'nRoll and long live Chuck Berry!

Posted by BetteKasanos on Saturday, 05.23.09 @ 19:03pm


Without him rock 'n' roll might never have been. Many thanks to Chuck Berry.

Posted by Dude Man on Monday, 08.17.09 @ 22:03pm


Better entertainer than Jimi, more energetic than Mick, best guitarist ever, more influential than Elvis or the Beatles. Chuck Berry IS rock and roll, and just watch a recent youtube video to see that, even in his 80s, he STILL has it all...

Posted by Chris on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 15:40pm


...and Chuck Berry ISN'T the best guitarist ever by any remote stretch! He basically wrote one song and put 37 sets of lyrics to it...

Posted by Gitarzan on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 17:00pm


...and Chuck Berry ISN'T the best guitarist ever by any remote stretch! He basically wrote one song and put 37 sets of lyrics to it...

Posted by Gitarzan on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 17:00pm


Lol, hilarious but true. And all of his solos are basically the same too, just using a technique I call the box

Posted by Jonny on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 19:06pm


Lol, hilarious but true. And all of his solos are basically the same too, just using a technique I call the box

Posted by Jonny on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 19:06pm


If it works why fix it..

Posted by mrxyz on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 19:48pm


ARTISTS INDUCTED INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME AND THE SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME IN THE SAME YEAR:

01. 1986 - Chuck Berry
02. 1997 - Joni Mitchell
03. 1999 - Bruce Springsteen
04. 2000 - James Taylor
05. 2010 - Jesse Stone

Posted by Roy on Sunday, 05.9.10 @ 08:27am


ARTISTS INDUCTED INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME AND THE SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME IN THE SAME YEAR:

01. 1986 - Chuck Berry
02. 1997 - Joni Mitchell
03. 1999 - Bruce Springsteen
04. 2000 - James Taylor
05. 2010 - Jesse Stone
06. 2011 - Leon Russell

Posted by Roy on Tuesday, 02.22.11 @ 05:16am


@ Guitarjane-- I mean, 'zan.

He didn't write one song and put 30 sets of lyrics to it. (You're thinking of what's called 12 bar blues-- a pretty enduring and respectable format, which he usually embellished with a more country-style melody.) He also wrote "Memphis," "Havana Moon," "Oh Louisiana," "Sweet Little Sixteen," and a whole mess of others that have unique chord progressions and great melodies. As for the guitar, I don't know what you call great or greatest, but he is undoubtedly one of the most influential of all time-- the man whose style all the later rock guitarists copied (just as he copied T-Bone and Mr. Christian) either directly, or a step removed (without even knowing it).

Posted by Peter on Tuesday, 07.19.11 @ 12:51pm


...and Chuck Berry ISN'T the best guitarist ever by any remote stretch! He basically wrote one song and put 37 sets of lyrics to it...

Posted by Gitarzan on Tuesday, 11.17.09 @ 17:00pm

As true as that is, it still was one Helluva song.

Posted by Tahvo Parvianen on Saturday, 10.22.11 @ 07:02am


Gitarzan, you get the award for dumbest comment of all time. How many Chuck Berry songs have you even heard? True, some of Chuck's songs sound similar (i.e., Run Run Rudolph and Little Queenie, Let It Rock and Johnny B. Goode), but to say something as ignorant as " He basically wrote one song and put 37 sets of lyrics to it" is a gross and inaccurate oversimplification of Berry's music. He wrote and performed countless songs with distinctive sounds, including No Money Down, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Too Much Monkey Business, Memphis Tennessee, Almost Grown, You Never Can Tell, and the list goes on and on.

Berry encompassed several styles of music: blues, rhythm & blues, rockabilly, country, etc. He is one of the few musical performers of the past century truly worthy of the label "legend." Elvis may have been the "King," but Chuck is the father of rock 'n roll. His music has aged like fine wine and truly stands the test of time, unlike overrated sacred cows like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan. Nothing beats '50s rock 'n roll for me.

Posted by Zach on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 14:18pm


Zach, I can't speak for Gitarzan, but I think his statement was more him being ticked off at people praising Chuck Berry as a guitar player (repeat: guitar player, not artist) and when he was referring to "writing one song and putting 37 different lyrics to it" that's really what he meant (the dude did play the guitar himself for over 40 years). If you spent more time on this site (more time than is healthy that is, see Tahvo Parvianen), you'd find that Gitarzan was actually one of the most informed and knowledgeable posters in this site's history.

"His (Chuck Berry's) music has aged like fine wine and truly stands the test of time, unlike overrated sacred cows like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan. Nothing beats '50s rock 'n roll for me."

I actually think Beatles have aged pretty well, personally. However, I see what you're saying. You are correct, Chuck Berry is one of the most important figures in Rock & Roll History, and nobody will dispute that (well, not many).

Posted by Tahvo Parvianen on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 15:12pm


The Beatles music has aged a hell of a lot better than chuck berry's.

Posted by GFW on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 16:55pm


Calling Chuck Berry the father of rock'n'roll is certainly a credible claim, but not one I'd agree with. I do love his music though.

As far as the Beatles' music aging better than Chuck's the only reason that really is, is because Chuck's lyrics were ABOUT youth and youth culture at the time. When the audience aged, Berry's music was no longer applicable to them, and the new wave of youth were looking at what was new at THAT time, just as they do today. The Beatles kind of abandoned that by the time they got to Help!, and it's that music that's considered the best aged (though I'm not a huge fan of the White Album or Sgt. Pepper's myself). The more adult themes of the Beatles don't age because the world doesn't change enough to obsalesce those messages.

At least I believe that's a huge part of it.

Posted by Philip on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 18:06pm


The Beatles music has aged a hell of a lot better than chuck berry's.

Posted by GFW on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 16:55pm
--------------------------------------------------
That's a hard thing to prove, if all you do is look at Berry's hits vs the Beatles.

Give a listen to "Johnny B Goode". It's a story song, talking about a place "way back in the woods, beyond the evergreens", & describing "a cabin made of earth and wood". Aren't the Beatles utlizing the same story-song idea on "Penny Lane"? Very much descriptive of a certain place & time, w/the major diff. being the Fabs aren't choosing just one person, but many (the banker w/the mac, the nurse behind the roundabout, etc.). Not much diff.

Would the "hi-fi jukebox" of "You Never Can Tell" be out of place in the Beatles world? I don't think so. Nor would the references to American Bandstand in "Sweet Little Sixteen". There's a lot of Berry's world in the Beatles universe as well - including his songs (the Fabs had covers of "Rock & Roll Music" & "Roll Over Beethoven", I do believe).

Posted by Cheesecrop on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 18:58pm


First off, I don't plan on making frequent returns to this site. I only came across this page when I was doing research on Chuck Berry. While I can accept logical, well-written arguments against Chuck Berry, saying something like "He basically wrote one song and put 37 sets of lyrics to it" is both inaccurate and ignorant. I've heard enough Chuck Berry to know his material was far more diverse than the unfair oversimplification Gitarzan has given him. I've heard enough Chuck Berry to know that that's not true.

Being only 23 years old, I was not alive when Chuck Berry was in his prime. Thankfully, I have an uncle who did live through the first era of rock 'n roll (1954 - 1959) and has seen several performers from that era in concert. He helped shape my taste in music and for that I'm eternally grateful. It frustrates me to end that so many people my age think they're true rock 'n roll fans because they know about the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, but if you ask them about Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Bill Haley and His Comets, etc., they look at you as if you had two heads.

The other thing I loathe is how some people mindlessly follow the Beatles and other overrated acts (i.e., Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin) simply because others have deemed that great. It's a sad commentary that the mob mentality runs rampant through the rock 'n roll community. Most rock fans remind me so much of sports fans in how they sheepishly follow whatever others have called great. How else can you explain the recent burst of mindless twenty-somethings who wear Beatles T-shirts and think they're serious rock fans?

The way I see it, you can't be a true rock n' roll fan if you don't like any of the pioneers from the '50s. They laid the foundation for pretty much everything we've heard since then and they should never be forgotten. Sadly, most people my age only know about the biggest rock acts from the late 1960s onward and have no knowledge or appreciation for anything from the 1950s or earlier.

What I hate most about the Beatles is how the homogenized rock 'n roll for the consumption of upper middle class types. Their last album, Let It Be, is such an overproduced, saccharine piece of garbage. The title track especially gives me the shudders. It sounds like the kind of music you'd hear piping from an organ at a funeral. It isn't true rock 'n roll. Now if you want a truly great band, Queen is it. They were everything the Beatles should've been but weren't: a complete band where every member played an equally important role and had a significant talent. The Beatles were mainly a two-man ego trip (the John and Paul show), with the other two being relegated to the background. I'll confess to liking some of Ringo Starr's solo material (he did help out Marc Bolan when he was getting started, so I have to give him props for that), but that's as far as I'll go with the Beatles.

It's been said that blues isn't just music, it's a way of lie. I can apply that line of thinking to rock 'n roll as well. The majority of rock 'n roll's pioneers were guys who grew up in the midwest, southeast, and southwest. Because so many of them grew up in impoverished conditions and faced so many problems getting mainstream acceptance, they had an honesty and a rawness that most post-50's rock n rollers lack. I do like a lot of post-50's rock n roll (i.e., British punk, new wave, '70s glam rock, some glam metal, synthpop), but I've become more selective about my musical tastes. When I first started getting into pre-1990s music, I'd pretty much listen to anything that I thought sounded good. For the past couple years, I've kept the good stuff and discarded the trash (i.e., James Taylor, the Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc.).

Posted by Zach on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 20:12pm


Zach, there's no reason to throw out anything in your collection. Especially not Creedence Clearwater Revival... truly one of the greatest bands, and I say this just on the fact that I can listen to them day in and day out. And if you're thinking that I don't appreciate the early days of rock'n'roll, scroll back through the recent comments and see my comments about Clyde McPhatter, and in the Rock Hall Revisited/Projected threads, I have been the most adamant about making sure we don't forget 50's R&B and early '60s rock and roll.

But there's no reason to throw it out except for space or financial concerns. Keep even the ones you don't like or did once. I even went so far to collect the music I used to like when I was under ten: Poison and NKOTB... yeah, my early days were rough. But there's no reason to throw it out. It's all a tapestry. As long as you continue to pursue the knowledge, you will gain perspective to wear you can enjoy "bad" music (i.e. guilty pleasures) without turning into a rabid fanboy.

Posted by Philip on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 21:31pm


Zach, Creedence Clearwater Revival were one of the greatest bands of the second half of the 20th century. They have had at least 21 songs that are not just good, but excellent. You can listen to them anytime and they'll always sound fresh. I know I'v personally listened to "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" and "Lookin' Out My Back Door" hundreds of times and never tire of either. Quite a few of their albums, especially Cosmo's Factory sound like a greatest hits collection. I really hope you get back into them.

Why trash James Taylor? One of the most talented singer-songwriters of the 20th century. You're not the first to speak out against the Eagles, but I could never understand why they keep getting the cold shoulder on this site.

I really like your comments about early rock and roll. I'm your age myself and I completely agree with you. 50's rock and roll, rockabilly and doo-wop are some of my favorites. I've also found that most people my age buy into the untouchable Beatles and think that just because they know who they are/have heard a few songs (but not necessarily listened to any of their albums in full), they are very well informed. They tend to name-drop the Who and Led Zeppelin quite commonly as well (those who are actually more interested in music will also name-drop Bob Dylan). I know I'm not expressing myself in the most erudite fashion here, nor am I trying to sound condescending, but it's true.

If you mention one of the greatest, most important artists of the 20th century, Fats Domino, or important early rock and rollers like Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, etc all you get are blank stares. Clyde McPhatter? Bill Haley? Johnny Burnette? Eddie Cochran? Forget about it. Fortunately, people seem to have heard of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and of course Elvis, though.

Figuring out how "well," something has aged is a bit of a tricky notion. If anything, you can argue the Beatles have aged better than Chuck Berry simply because not as many people have forgot about them, but is that really what "aging well" means? Most people know who is Sting is, but has his song "Russians" aged well?

As for the taking your stab at the Beatles bit, I myself have never been that impressed with Sgt. Pepper. There's a good link I can give you were Sgt. Pepper is ripped apart by critics, quite refreshing! Also, Let it Be has struck me as one of the worst Beatles albums, my Dad actually hates the title song so you and him would make good friends. As far as Abbey Road is concerned, I've always found that album an unpleasant experience, apart from the George Harrison tunes (but maybe that's just me). I've always thought the White Album and Rubber Soul were their best.

Finally, I see you've mentioned not coming back to this site much, I'd encourage you to reconsider. The more people who are interested in having informed discussions on the subject at hand here, the better.

Posted by Tahvo Parvianen on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 03:12am


First off, I don't plan on making frequent returns to this site.

It frustrates me to end that so many people my age think they're true rock 'n roll fans because they know about the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, but if you ask them about Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Bill Haley and His Comets, etc., they look at you as if you had two heads.

The other thing I loathe is how some people mindlessly follow the Beatles and other overrated acts (i.e., Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin) simply because others have deemed that great. It's a sad commentary that the mob mentality runs rampant through the rock 'n roll community. Most rock fans remind me so much of sports fans in how they sheepishly follow whatever others have called great. How else can you explain the recent burst of mindless twenty-somethings who wear Beatles T-shirts and think they're serious rock fans?

The way I see it, you can't be a true rock n' roll fan if you don't like any of the pioneers from the '50s. They laid the foundation for pretty much everything we've heard since then and they should never be forgotten. Sadly, most people my age only know about the biggest rock acts from the late 1960s onward and have no knowledge or appreciation for anything from the 1950s or earlier.

What I hate most about the Beatles is how the homogenized rock 'n roll for the consumption of upper middle class types. Their last album, Let It Be, is such an overproduced, saccharine piece of garbage.

Posted by Zach on Monday, 11.7.11 @ 20:12pm
--------------------------------------------------
First off, I hope you don't mind my slightly editing your original text, for both space & sense of purpose.

I would stand by your statements regarding older acts simply being deemed "great" w/out anybody asking whether that still holds true. A lot of my friends felt that way in the 1st half of the 1990's. They desperatley wanted to see a change, & were thrilled w/what happened via what used to be called "Alternative".

I think a lot of the "older is better" mentality stems from nostalgia. Folks say nostalgia goes in 20 yr. cycles. In the 1980's you saw this, in the resurrection of all sorts of 60's & 70's acts in the mainstream. Whereas in the past the 60's shoved the 50's aside, & the 70's shoved the 60's aside, in the 80's it seemed that all of a sudden rock went on a "respect your elders" campaign. After the 90's put everything back on track (albeit briefly) this last decade has had a swing back toward "everything older must be better". I think perhaps the younger rock fans you speak of hav been effected by this, & regrettably the effect has been negative.

If it's any consolation, I want to see the kids go crazy again, in an artistic sense.

BTW, I know you said you don't plan on making frequent returns to this site. Don't let a diff, of opinion drive you away.

Now if the site gives you gas, that's an entirely diff. situation... :)

Posted by Cheesecrop on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 06:44am


I've re-evaluated my prior statement that I wouldn't be coming back often and have changed my mind. I'm going to stick around.

Phillip, my comments were not directed toward you or anyone on this site. If my comments appeared to be that way, then I apologize. As Tahvo explained, there are so many kids out there who think they're serious classic rock fans because they know all the big names (i.e., the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, etc.) but have never seriously looked into exploring lesser known bands/singers. I must reiterate that my comments about kids not knowing or appreciating the true roots of rock 'n roll were not directed at anyone on this site.

Tahvo, I can explain my dislike of Creedence Clearwater Revival and James Taylor for you. CCR destroyed Suzie Q, which was originally a great, sleazy-sounding, Louisiana bayou tune by Dale Hawkins (another pioneer who deserves more attention). Adding an unnecessarily long guitar solo to an already classic song ruined Suzie Q for me. I'll take the original Hawkins version any day. CCR's other material ranges from overplayed schlock (Have You Ever Seen the Rain, Bad Moon Rising) to overblown covers of songs that were already done right the first time (I Heard it Through the Grapevine, I Put A Spell On You). John Fogerty's voice is another major turn-off for me. He sounds constipated whenever he sings. However, I will say that voice pales in comparison to the king of horrible vocals, Neil Young. Now there's someone whose music I have hated my whole life, but more on that another time.

James Taylor pioneered a style of music which I detest heavily, that of course being the singer-songwriter genre. My main complaints against Taylor are his incredibly wimpy voice and weepy lyrics. Fire and Rain ranks along Let It Be as one of the most self-indulgent songs ever written. It has an extremely "woe-is-me" tone that turns me off completely. His music is too soft and safe for me.

Tahvo, I'd be very interested in checking out that link to the negative review of Sgt. Pepper. Anyone who has the courage to criticize that horrifically overrated album is okay by me. That brings me to another complaint I have about the classic rock community: the automatic deification of anyone whom the self-styled critics/historians have deemed "the greatest." Thanks to rags like Rolling Stone, it is treated as a crime if someone has a differing opinion on someone like the Beatles. If these sheep had it their way, it would be a crime to say anything negative about their false idols. Thank God there are still some people in this world who are independent thinkers and don't base their likes off of what critics say.

When I said that Chuck Berry's music has aged better than the Beatles, it is because he wrote his music without allowing world events to influence him. A lot of the Beatles' later material (i.e., Come Together, All You Need is Love, etc.) sounds so hokey today because the overtones of the Peace and Love era (another lie perpetrated by Rolling Stone) are so blatantly evident. I cannot express my hatred of the music scene of the late '60s enough. With a few notable exceptions (i.e., MC5, the Kinks, etc.), that time period was dominated by sissy folk-rock bands, incomprehensible acid rockers, and drugged-out peaceniks. I'm so glad that David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and the other glam rockers who emerged in the '70s made rock 'n roll exciting and scary again. It would be for the best if we forgot about the late 1960s and the excesses that came with it (i.e., free love, excessive drug use).

To give you an impression of how deep my musical tastes are, I typically listen to Chuck Berry, Gary Numan (both solo and Tubeway Army recordings), Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Howlin' Wolf, Queen, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pat Benatar, the Cars, Little Richard, David Bowie, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Jobriath, the Scissor Sisters, Kenny G (only his early, funk-influenced material), the Beastie Boys, and Joan Jett all in a single day. I've having so much fun discovering and learning about musical styles which even self-styled classic rock fans are ignorant of. I've gotten into '70s glam rock and '80s synthpop/new wave thanks to a close friend. As explained earlier, my uncle got me into the '50s rockabilly, rhythm and blues, and doo-wop acts. I do seek out contemporary music as well, but mostly non-mainstream stuff like the Scissor Sisters.

Posted by Zach on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 14:05pm


UIt's funny seeing scissor sisters being referred to as non mainstream, they had a whole bunch of hits here.

What is your Opinion on The Who?

Posted by GFW on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 14:53pm


Thanks for replying Zach, I can't say I agree with you on CCR, but hey, opinions are opinions and if everyone agreed with each other than this whole enterprise would get pretty boring. If you don't like Fogerty's voice then there isn't much that can be done. I love Dire Straits and I once had a conversation on here with someone who just couldn't get into Dire Straits because they hated Mark Knopfler's voice. I don't usually like what I call "deadpan vocal delivery," yet I'm a fan of the Cure and Joy Division (more so Joy Division). Also, glad to see you've decided to stick around, if you read through some of the threads on here, there really is some brilliant stuff. If you want to familiarize yourself with surf music for example, reading through all the comments on the Surfaris and Dick Dale pages will provide you with a wealth of knowledge on the style.

I'll dig up that link for you.

Posted by Tahvo Parvianen on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 14:57pm


http://www.jimdero.com/News2004/July4SgtPeppers.htm

Here's the link, Cheesecrop gets credit for drawing my attention to this work after reading his comments on the Doors page, it's taken from a book called "Kill Your Idols."

Posted by Tahvo Parvianen on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 14:59pm


Zach, I didn't take offense at your comments, just to let you know you're not alone, though you are the first person I've encountered who didn't like CCR. I never tire of "Hey Tonight", "Up Around The Bend," "It Came Out Of The Sky", and "Before You Accuse Me," to name a few. James Taylor takes time. He's not my favorite, but I can tolerate the majority of his stuff.

I still stand by my comments about the aging of the music. I think part of it is that the idioms and terms used by Berry are just not used anymore, like "juke joint." His music was for teens, a time period that lasts but a few years and each generation of teens looks for its own icons. The Beatles' later material was adult... their songs about love were not ooey-gooey. And strangely enough, songs that are based on specific events seem to have the staying power: "Ohio", "American Pie", "Abraham, Martin, And John," etc. They may seem self-indulgent, but the truth is when you draw from personal experiences, there're always myriads of people who have similar experiences that stirred up similar feelings. I may not relate too deeply to "Fire And Rain", but depression of that nature comes to everyone, so there's something there for everyone. And the song of Berry's that has aged best, oddly, is the biographical "Johnny B. Goode"--a very personal song.

GFW, the Who had a LOT of hits in the U.S. That's a very poor example.

Posted by Philip on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 15:30pm


THey never went into folk rock or hippy dippy bullshit though, the closest they came was tommy. They seem more like something Zach would like, i was wondering what his opinion is on them. Despite the fact I love the ebatles and zeppelin, it;s ncie to see someone critiquing them.

Posted by GFW on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 15:48pm


GFW, I take it you are not American (not that there's anything wrong with that). The Scissor Sisters are sadly not very well known in the U.S., probably because they are too eclectic for mainstream audiences. I like how they are influenced by the glam rock and new wave/synthpop scenes of the '70s and '80s, yet make their own music without blatantly copying anyone's style. Lady Gaga is notorious for ripping off David Bowie, Jobriath (look him up on YouTube), Madonna (not exactly the most original performer herself, but certainly better than Lady Gag-Me), Judas Priest (she stole Rob Halford's S&M-influenced attire), and countless others. Whereas the Scissor Sisters have had to work harder to succeed the music business, Lady Gag-Me has pretty much had her whole career handed to her on a silver platter. Having been born in New York City, she virtually got everything for nothing and didn't have to work hard like someone who isn't from a major city.

As for the Who, I actually like them a lot. They had a much rougher style than the Beatles and were a huge prototype for the punk scene of the late 1970s. While I'm disappointed that they performed at Woodstock (a better name for that monstrosity would be the Blind Leading the Blind), I'm glad they didn't dumb down their style to appease the brain-dead hippies. As you can probably tell, I'm not very fond of that era of music. I'd be happy if one day everyone forgot about the social nightmare that was the late 1960s and moved on. I think Cheesecrop summed it up nicely. We need more bands who don't take their influence from sacred cows and create an entirely new style or re-invent an already established genre.

Posted by Zach on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 17:01pm


"Thanks to rags like Rolling Stone, it is treated as a crime if someone has a differing opinion on someone like the Beatles."

I think I'm going to like you. Yeah, Sgt. Pepper has some stuff I like but it is NOWHERE NEAR the greatest album of all time. A bigger head-scratcher for me was Pet Sounds at #2 (I know I've made my opinion on that clear elsewhere). The Beatles did make quite a few crappy songs (Hello Goodbye, Yellow Submarine) that no one else could've possibly got away with. My 60's sacred cow is Pet Sounds, my 90's one is Screamadelica (with Loveless a close second), and since you appear to be big on Bowie I apologize in advance but... Low is the canonized album from the 70's I'm really not big on. It's certainly important but musically I don't get it, which is confusing since I enjoy plenty of people who are obviously indebted to it like Nine Inch Nails and Joy Division. I'd nominate Station To Station as the peak of Bowie's affair with krautrock and as one of the most underrated albums of all time. I agree with Cheesecrop's point as well.

Posted by Sam on Tuesday, 11.8.11 @ 18:38pm


Cheesecrop gets credit - Tahvo

I think Cheesecrop summed it up nicely. - Zach

I agree with Cheesecrop's point as well. - Sam


Gosh, guys... all this support... & on Election Day, no less!!!

You know... if I could get this same sort of support say, 12 months from now...

Well...

ALRIGHT! I'LL COME OUT AND SAY IT!

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE HEAD DOG CATCHER! AND WITH ALL YOUR LOYAL HELP, I KNOW WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! I HEREBY ANNOUNCE MY INTENT TO RUN AS SITE DOG CATCHER!

Posted by Cheesecrop on Wednesday, 11.9.11 @ 05:54am


Sgt pepper is my fav beatles album. Might chnge when i get around to listening to rubber soul again, Revolver... it's alright but sme songs are just boring and the white album has waay too much filler on it
In the case of Abbey Road that's second, some filler lets it down plus the godawfulness that is maxwells silver hammer.

Posted by GFW on Thursday, 11.10.11 @ 11:32am


"the white album has waay too much filler on it."

Yeah, you know what, I agree with you. I take back what I said.

And yeah, "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is total dreck along with that awful "Mean Mr. Mustard."

Posted by Tahvo Parvianen on Thursday, 11.10.11 @ 13:21pm


Agree about the White Album... it's okay to listen to, but few songs really stand out as really good songs. Abbey Road... The whole Sun King medley is bad, I hate Maxwell's Silver Hammer, I swear "Oh! Darling" is a rip-off of "Please Come Home For Christmas"... as much as I like his solo music, it really says something about an album when the Ringo Starr composition is one of the best songs on it.

Sgt. Pepper's... just that most of the songs seem so half-hearted... maybe that's to fit in with the dinner theatre motif, but I just felt it had no passion to it.

I actually like Let It Be, thought it's not great... Maggie Mae and Dig It are throwaways. For You Blue is cute but doesn't really go anywhere; One After 909 would be better without that annoying keyboard line in between lines, Across The Universe is too trippy, and Get Back shoudln't have been abridged at the end like that. But I like the title track, The Long And Winding Road, I've Got A Feeling, I Me Mine, and even Two Of Us (beautiful folk-ish simplicity).

I personally love Rubber Soul and Revolver, and Hard Day's Night for that matter.

Posted by Philip on Thursday, 11.10.11 @ 18:10pm


I thought this was the Chuck Berry page, not the Beatles page. I only brought them up in the first place as an example of a grossly overhyped band that attracts too many easily-manipulated followers who go along with whatever the critics tell them.

Getting back to Chuck Berry, I'll admit a few of his songs are weak. It's a travesty that My Ding A Ling was a bigger hit than Havana Moon (which never even charted), Johnny B. Goode (his signature song), No Money Down, Little Queenie, and Memphis, Tennessee (another Berry favorite which sadly hit any charts except for the U.K.), to name a few. My Ding A Ling is a cute novelty tune, but no way did it deserve to be Berry's most successful song on the charts. Still, at least it's not some incomprehensible, drug-addled nonsense like the Beatles' Come Together (in my top ten worst songs of all time).

Posted by Zach on Tuesday, 11.22.11 @ 20:21pm


Without Chuck Berry no rock & roll, period. Read the biography from Spotify (or for that matter what ever internet site you like). It has it all. There is no man alone that earns the credit of inventing rock & roll but CB. If you do'nt get it I only pity you. Hail, hail rock & roll!

Posted by Johan on Friday, 03.30.12 @ 16:08pm


Keith Richards once said this about Chuck: "It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry becuase I've lefted every lick he ever played. This is the gentleman who started it all"! Of all the early rock and roll artists, none made more of a breakthrough then Chuck Berry. He was the music's main instrumental voice, it's greatest guitarist and it's greatest performer. Without him, many of the later rock bands would not have existed. Without him, there would've been no Chuck Berry guitar intro that would a palce rockin' in no time. The whole history of rock and roll songwriting would look completely different without Chuck's genuis songwriting. For those who do not acknowledge his influence on rock and roll or appreciate his music or his showmenship show thier ingnorance of rock's development and Berry's place as the father of rock and roll. Elvis may have made rock and roll famous, but Chuck is the leader of the pack and his sounds can still be heard in the music of bands from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Aerosmith and AC/DC.

By the way, my two favortie song Chuck Berry songs are "Johnny Be Goode" and "Rock And Roll Music".

Posted by Andrew on Sunday, 10.14.12 @ 22:50pm


Would Chuck berry win prize for creepiest person inducted?

Posted by GFW on Monday, 10.29.12 @ 09:13am


Nah, if we're talking about living inductees, I'm pretty sure that award would go to Steven Tyler, David Lee Roth or Alice Cooper.

Posted by Tahvo Parvianen on Monday, 10.29.12 @ 09:30am


None of those filmed women peeing in their store, so I think Chuck wins.

Posted by GFW on Monday, 10.29.12 @ 12:16pm


Keith Richards once said this about Chuck Berry: "It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry because I've lifted every lick he ever played. This is the gentleman who started it all!"

Of all the early rock and roll artists, none are more important then Chuck. He is the music's greatest songwriter, instrumental voice, guitar player and greatest performer. Simply put, many of the later rock bands wouldn’t exist without him. There would be no Chuck Berry guitar intro that would get a place rockin' in no time. The rhythms of rockabilly wouldn’t have turned into the standard rock and roll beat without him. The whole history of rock songwriting would look much poorer without him.

Chuck is the laureate of rock n' roll. In the mid-50s, he took a fledgling blues and country idiom and gave it identity. A true original, he created some of rock's greatest riffs and put them to lyrics that have shaped rock for generations. Also, he has written countless classics like "Johnny B Goode" and "No Particular Place To Go" that thousands of artists have covered and have stood the musical test of time. In a lot of ways, how the music worked, what it was about and who it appealed to were things Chuck Berry understood.

While many may think Elvis is the one who invented rock and roll, Berry did more to put the pieces together like on his first single, "Maybellene", he played country guitar licks over a base of R&B. the distorted sound of his guitar captured the wild, untamable power of rock. The song also included a red hot guitar solo constructed around his trademark licks. It launched Chuck's career and opened the door for a decade of hits.

His quick-witted, fast paced lyrics focused of things that mattered to teens in the 50s: cars, romance and rocking out. His riff-driven music captured the essence of a forward-thinking nation, chasing the dream of an open road in a fast car. During the 1950s, Chuck painted America as a land of fun and excitement.

Those who don't credit him as influence on rock and roll or like his music and showmanship show their ignorance of rock history as well as Berry's place as the father of rock.

Of course, Chuck's influence on rock has been pasted down from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton, Areosmith and AC/DC.

Posted by Andrew on Tuesday, 06.11.13 @ 22:10pm


Saw this legend for the fifth-consecutive year last week in St. Louis! And as his friend Joe Edwards (owner of rock and roll St. L restaurant Blueberry Hill and developer for the St. Louis Delmar Loop) always points out when introducing him: 'The first person ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame....'.

I've shook Chuck Berry's hand a couple times and he is an awesome guy. I make it a priority to see him every year until he stops (started in '09) and he can still play a mean guitar, and he's a fabulous entertainer....at 87!

If you live in the Midwest or nearby, do NOT miss your chance to see this living legend live! He performs at Blueberry Hill every third Wednesday each month (this month was his 198th time doing that!)

Posted by Jason Voigt on Tuesday, 11.19.13 @ 13:19pm


Wow, Jason, you have met Mr. Berry. That is so cool. Would love to see him sometime (and I know the days are getting few for that).

That's something you can tell your grandkids one day.

Posted by Paul in KY on Wednesday, 11.20.13 @ 08:08am


Jason,

I live in the St. Louis area and I have to agree, seeing Berry at Blueberry Hill is kind of a right of passage since he is our icon. Not to mention Blueberry Hill has some of the best burgers in town. People don't give St. Louis credit for it's rich musical history. The city has played some part in shaping quite a bit of Popular Music. While it isn't Nashville or Detroit, it has been the hometown of some great musicians. And we tend to draw great talent when it is on tour from the large artists to the indie.

Did you ever get the chance to see Fontella Bass perform locally? She was known for her big hit "Rescue Me", but used to perform regularly around town. I was always shocked by how wonderful she was live. She died last year sadly. So I hope you got to see her.

Posted by Chris F. on Wednesday, 11.20.13 @ 09:35am


Yeah it was a thrill I must say!

No unfortunately I did not see Fontella Bass live during her lifetime. I knew she was a St. Louisan, but I was only familiar with her one Top 10 hit. Sad that she passed away at an early age last year. I remember about three years ago I met a couple members of The 5th Dimension as they were being inducted onto the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Not a lot of people realize there are a lot of soul legends (and not-so legends) that are from there and who currently reside in St. L.

I think its very awesome that Chuck is still performing and doing what he loves best at his age, as well as touring (he recently wrapped up an Asian/European tour). That being said, his concerts have become more of a jam session more than just a series of his songs. Some people may get turned off by that, and in some cases he forgets the lyrics. My point is: it wouldn't surprise me if he hangs up his rock and roll shoes soon. It doesn't bother me one bit. All I know is its a thrill to be under the same roof as Chuck Berry.

Posted by Jason Voigt on Wednesday, 11.20.13 @ 10:42am


Jason,

I wouldn't be surprised if Chuck spends his last moments on stage. The man seems to love it.

Posted by Chris F. on Wednesday, 11.20.13 @ 10:47am


Keith Richard once said "It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry because I've lifted every lick he ever played. This is the gentleman who started it all!"

Of all the 50s rock artists, none are more important in the development of rock n' roll than Chuck Berry. He narrated the teen experience of the 50s with a writing and musical creativity unmatched by other 50s rockers. His songs about struggle, romance, and dancing provide the listener with a lyrical mixture reflecting the first try at self-sufficiency by the youth of the 50s.

He is one of its greatest songwriter, its instrumental voice, its greatest guitarist and one of its greatest performers. Simply put, many of the later rock bands wouldn’t exist without him. There would be no "Chuck Berry guitar intro," which could get a joint rockin’ in no time. The rhythms of rockabilly wouldn’t have been transformed into the now standard rock n' roll beat. The whole history of rock and roll would have looked much poorer without him.

Chuck is the eminent poet of rock and roll. In the mid 50s, he took a fledgling blues and country and western idiom and gave it identity. A true original, Berry created many of rock and roll's best riffs and paired them with words that shaped the language of rock n’ roll for years to come. He has written countless rock songs that have been covered by a multitude of artists and have stood the test of time. In a way, he understood the power of rock n' roll, how it was played, what it was about, and who it was for.

While no individual singer can be credited with inventing rock n' roll, Chuck did more than any other singer to put the pieces together. Dave Marsh once said that Chuck Berry was to rock n' roll what Louis Armstrong was to jazz.

On Chuck's first single, "Maybellene," he played country guitar licks over a rhythm and blues base. The distorted sound of the guitar captured the untamed sprit of rock n' roll. The song also included a brief but fiery solo built around Berry's trademark double string guitar licks. It kicked off Berry's career and opened the door for a stream of classic songs over the next few years.

Chuck's quick witted, rapid-fire lyrics focused on cars, romance, and rocking out. He wrote for teen audiences and reflected their interests and attitudes in songs like "School Days," and "Sweet Little Sixteen." His riff-driven music captured the spirit of a nation on the move in the post-WWII era, pursuing the promise of the open road in fast cars. During the high spirited 50s, Chuck painted America as a land of fun and opportunity.

The mid 50s were a time of rising prosperity for a growing middle class and the social landscape was slowly starting to change for African Americans as the civil rights era began. In "Back in the U.S.A.," Chuck salutes such everyday pleasures like jukeboxes and diners.

Chuck’s success had a lot to do with a knack for turning a phrase. With a witty and beautiful use of language, Berry sang about what it meant to be a teenager in the charging world of the 50s. Whether describing the boredom of being in school in “School Day” or the liberating power of “Rock and Roll Music,” Berry observed and recorded that world with skillful ease.

To this day, some of Chuck’s songs like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Rock and Roll Music,” and “Roll Over Beethoven” is required listening for any serious music fan and required learning for any bubbling rock musician. Chuck gave rock an archetypal character in "Johnny B. Goode." Berry is also responsible for one of the most recognizable stage moves in rock and roll, the duckwalk.

Following “Maybellene,” Chuck had 7 more Top 40 hits over the next half-decade. He also appeared in several rock and roll films including “Rock, Rock, Rock,” and “Go, Johnny, Go!” Singles were the best way for Berry’s teenage fans to absorb his output during his golden decade, spanning 1955-1965.

Chuck’s albums mixed his rock and roll songs with blues, ballads, and instrumentals he enjoyed playing away from the stage. It’s worth saying that Berry was considerably older than the teens for whom he was writing music for and was nearly twice the age of the teenagers that he wrote “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

His discography of not only his big hits, but lesser known songs like “Little Queenie,” “Around and Around,” and “Let It Rock” were devoured and mastered by an army of eager musical apprentices in Britain. Indeed, Berry’s discography of lyrics and licks paved the way for The British Invasion.

Despite his fame, Chuck did suffer from occasional controversy and imprisoning. His career took a high hit in 1959 when he was arrested for transporting a minor across state lines with an intention for prostitution, but he did recover and is still rockin’ as hard as ever.

Those who do not acknowledge him as an influential artist or respect his music and showmanship show their ignorance of rock and roll history as well as Chuck’s place as rock’s first great creator. Elvis may have made rock and roll popular, but Chuck Berry is its heartbeat and originator. John Lennon probably said it best, “If you’re going to give rock and roll another name, you might as well call it Chuck Berry.”

Of course, Chuck's influence on rock artists from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who to Jeff Beck, Neil Young, and Aerosmith can still be heard and seen to this day.

I personally was introduced to Chuck Berry when I watched “Back To The Future,” but I soon started listening to songs like “Reelin’ And Rockin’,” and “School Days” and I just left there thinking, “Wow, this guy is super talented, both in songwriting and guitar playing! He’s just awesome!”

It’s also worth saying that along with Buddy Holly, Chuck was one of the few rock n’ roll singers of the 50s who wrote his own songs.

Posted by Andrew on Monday, 03.31.14 @ 01:27am


Keith Richard once said "It's very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry because I've lifted every lick he ever played. This is the gentleman who started it all!"

Of all the 50s rock artists, none are more important in the development of rock n' roll than Chuck Berry. He narrated the teen experience of the 50s with a writing and musical creativity unmatched by other 50s rockers. His songs about struggle, romance, and dancing provide the listener with a lyrical mixture reflecting the first try at self-sufficiency by the youth of the 50s.

He is one of its greatest songwriter, one of its instrumental voices, its greatest guitarist and one of its greatest performers. Simply put, many of the later rock bands wouldn’t exist without him. There would be no "Chuck Berry guitar intro," which could get a joint rockin’ in no time. The rhythms of rockabilly wouldn’t have been transformed into the now standard rock n' roll beat. The whole history of rock and roll would have looked much poorer without him.

Chuck is the eminent poet of rock and roll. In the mid 50s, he took a fledgling blues and country and western idiom and gave it identity. A true original, Berry created many of rock and roll's best riffs and paired them with words that shaped the language of rock n’ roll for years to come. He has written countless rock songs that have been covered by a multitude of artists and have stood the test of time. In a way, he understood the power of rock n' roll, how it was played, what it was about, and who it was for.

While no individual singer can be credited with inventing rock n' roll, Chuck did more than any other singer to put the pieces together. Dave Marsh once said that Chuck Berry was to rock n' roll what Louis Armstrong was to jazz.

On Chuck's first single, "Maybellene," he played country guitar licks over a rhythm and blues base. The distorted sound of the guitar captured the untamed sprit of rock n' roll. The song also included a brief but fiery solo built around Berry's trademark double string guitar licks. It kicked off Berry's career and opened the door for a stream of classic songs over the next few years.

Chuck's quick witted, rapid-fire lyrics focused on cars, romance, and rocking out. He wrote for teen audiences and reflected their interests and attitudes in songs like "School Days," and "Sweet Little Sixteen." His riff-driven music captured the spirit of a nation on the move in the post-WWII era, pursuing the promise of the open road in fast cars.

During the high spirited 50s, Chuck painted America as a land of fun and opportunity. The mid 50s were a time of rising prosperity for a growing middle class and the social landscape was slowly starting to change for African Americans as the civil rights era began. In "Back in the U.S.A.," Chuck salutes such everyday pleasures like jukeboxes and diners.

Chuck’s success had a lot to do with a knack for turning a phrase. With a witty and beautiful use of language, Berry sang about what it meant to be a teenager in the charging world of the 50s. Whether describing the boredom of being in school in “School Day” or the liberating power of “Rock and Roll Music,” Berry observed and recorded that world with skillful ease.

To this day, some of Chuck’s songs like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Rock and Roll Music,” and “Roll Over Beethoven” is required listening for any serious music fan and required learning for any bubbling rock musician. Chuck gave rock an archetypal character in "Johnny B. Goode." Berry is also responsible for one of the most recognizable stage moves in rock and roll, the duckwalk.

Following “Maybellene,” Chuck had 7 more Top 40 hits over the next half-decade. He also appeared in several rock and roll films including “Rock, Rock, Rock,” and “Go, Johnny, Go!”

Singles were the best way for Berry’s teenage fans to absorb his output during his golden decade, spanning 1955-1965. Chuck’s albums mixed his rock and roll songs with blues, ballads, and instrumentals he enjoyed playing away from the stage. It’s worth saying that Berry was considerably older than the teens for whom he was writing music for and was nearly twice the age of the teenagers that he wrote “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

His discography of not only hits, but lesser known songs like “Little Queenie,” “Around and Around,” and “Let It Rock” were devoured and mastered by an army of eager musical apprentices in Britain. Indeed, Berry’s discography of lyrics and licks paved the way for The British Invasion.

Despite his fame, Chuck did suffer from occasional controversy and imprisoning. His career took a high hit in 1959 when he was arrested for transporting a minor across state lines with an intention for prostitution, but he did recover and is still rockin’ as hard as ever.

Those who do not acknowledge him as an influential artist or respect his music and showmanship show their ignorance of rock and roll history as well as Chuck’s place as rock’s first great creator. Elvis may have made rock and roll popular, but Chuck Berry is its heartbeat and originator. John Lennon probably said it best, “If you’re going to give rock and roll another name, you might as well call it Chuck Berry.”

Of course, Chuck's influence on rock artists from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who to Jeff Beck, Neil Young, and Aerosmith can still be heard and see in to this day.

I personally was introduced to Chuck Berry when I watched “Back To The Future,” but I soon started listening to songs like “Reelin’ And Rockin’,” and “School Days” and I just left there thinking, “Wow, this guy is super talented, both in songwriting and guitar playing! He’s just awesome!”

It’s also worth saying that along with Buddy Holly, Chuck was one of the few rock n’ roll singers of the 50s who wrote his own songs.

Posted by Andrew on Monday, 03.31.14 @ 01:30am


Time flies. I was just thinking about my debut on FRL three years ago and decided to make a momentary return just to reflect on a few comments I posted.

First, I've come to revise my statement about Chuck Berry being the father of rock 'n' roll. I've anointed Louis Jordan as the true father of R'N'R. Jordan may not have played the electric guitar, but he and his Tympany Five established the template that influenced numerous R'N'R artists and bands: An all-around artist (singer, musician, songwriter, bandleader), an infectious rhythm, beat, and energy in both the vocals and the instruments, interplay between musicians, and witty lyrics. In a nutshell, they possessed all the components that any true R'N'R band ought to have. If only they had widespread name recognition, unlike some of the bores that get passed off as "rock legends". I'll see to it in my lifetime that more people are exposed to the exuberance and quality musicianship of Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five.

Secondly, my musical tastes have dramatically changed in the last four years. I attribute that primarily to meeting some great people at my college that helped expose me to some tremendous non-RNR music as well as the resources available the academic library network. I also took the time to invest in various literature to learn more about pre-1964 music. I shed the last remaining vestiges of my teenage "rockist" years in college and acquired numerous swing, blues, bebop, R&B, jump blues, country-western, bluegrass, and gospel albums, as well as other genres and sub-genres too countless to mention. Aside from the first golden age of rock 'n' roll music and some later eras, I've become bored with the majority of R'N'R music. I established my distaste for The Beatles and other sacred cow bands the very day I arrived here, but I've gone even further in altering my musical tastes. I consider it a badge of honor that I have zero recordings from The Rolling Stones (a band who I enjoy some songs by, but not enough to add them to my library), The Who (ditto), Neil Young (my all-time most despised act, heh-heh), AC/DC, The Clash, KISS, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, or Guns 'n Roses in my library. All of the aforementioned are simply too overexposed and repetitive for me to ever have a change of heart about, including those who have always been high on my dislike list.

I've also come around to recognize the importance and value of the tunes that comprise the appropriately-named Great American Songbook. Simply put, the works of composers like Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, George M. Cohan, and Cole Porter are just flawless, and I say this as someone who generally doesn't care for lyrics. That these songs continue to be interpreted and reinterpreted by countless names is testament to their transcendence. Anyone who dismisses these songs as "old people's music" is just plain ignorant of the lasting power and complexity of these tunes.

I'll end it here by saying that I have no intentions of making a full-time return to this site. I'll pop back in once in a blue moon, but I feel the focus of this site is too narrow for my liking. I have no interest in discussing the abomination that is the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, considering the large presence of subpar names they've been inducting lately. My online music discussion activities are restricted to some Facebook groups, and that's about it. I like discussing music in real life better than on online forums, anyway.

Later.

Posted by Zach on Wednesday, 04.2.14 @ 21:46pm


IMO, you're still a callow dipwad.

Posted by Paul in KY on Thursday, 04.3.14 @ 07:33am


Always so predictable, Paul. No depth or logic to your comments. Musically speaking, I' m wise beyond my years, possibly more so than some people who are twice or three times my age, such as you. Your characterization of me as being callow is highly inaccurate. I didn't ask for your myopic opinions, so my advice to you is to get lost. You're not worth discussing music with, anyway.

In closing, I offer this W.C. fields quote, which aptly sums up your unwarranted attacks against me:

"If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it."

Posted by Zachary on Thursday, 04.3.14 @ 11:46am


yeah cool BYE.

Posted by GFW on Thursday, 04.3.14 @ 13:22pm


Adiós, pequeño burro.

Posted by Zach on Thursday, 04.3.14 @ 13:42pm


Zach, I personally see Chuck Berry as the father of rock n' roll, but as you have pointed out to me before, I do regarde early blues, country and R&B artists like Louis Jordan as a hugh influence on rock and roll artists. Of of course, I do own my thanks to you for introducing me to Jordan as I had never even heard of him before I read your comments on him.

You and I need to email each other more often as we haven't talked in a while.

I do hope everything is going well for you, man!

Posted by Andrew on Thursday, 04.3.14 @ 19:39pm


Andrew, I previously posted my e-mail address on the 2014 Inductees page, so if you want to talk with me privately, please send me a message at that address. Thanks! I hope to hear from you soon.

Posted by Zach on Thursday, 04.17.14 @ 02:47am


Hey, guys. I have this little thing for all the people who have been inducted, and some of the guys I think will be inducted. Here is the question I want y'all to ansewer:

WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU COMPLETELY REMOVE CHUCK BERRY FROM ROCK AND ROLL?

Posted by Karl Singleton on Sunday, 05.18.14 @ 20:09pm


Hey, guys. I have this little thing for all the people who have been inducted, and some of the guys I think will be inducted. Here is the question I want y'all to ansewer:

WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU COMPLETELY REMOVE CHUCK BERRY FROM ROCK AND ROLL?

Posted by Karl Singleton on Sunday, 05.18.14 @ 20:09pm


Not changing genres. But if he had never been an artist. How would it have changed rock?

Posted by Karl Singleton on Sunday, 05.18.14 @ 20:10pm


Since I just happened to make one of my infrequent visits here and noticed your posts, Karl, I'll be the first to answer your scenario.

If Chuck Berry were to be entirely eliminated from rock 'n' roll, I think Bo Diddley would have been the primary R'N'R influence as a complete artist (singer, instrumentalist, performer, songwriter, etc.). I love Chuck's music, but I feel Bo was a more inventive guitarist and experimented with more varied rhythms (i.e. slow blues on Before You Accuse Me, shuffle rhythm on Down Home Special, horn rhythm on The Greatest Lover in the World, etc.). Bo would have also potentially become Chess's most commercially successful and nationally recognizable recording act. Whether Bo would have attained the same level of national recognition as Chuck is debateable. In the overall scheme of things, Bo is perhaps only two or three levels below Chuck for overall historical importance and innovation in developing rock 'n roll (The Rock Hall Pyramid on FRL is absolutely asinine for having Johnny Cash, Elton John, Bob Marley, Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Ramones, and friggin' John Lennon ranked over Bo. No way in hell are any of them more significant than Bo).

The worst aspect of hypothetically eliminating Berry from rock 'n' roll is that you lose scores of great songs in the process - Havana Moon, Carol, School Day, No Money Down, Memphis Tennessee, Back in the U.S.A., Little Queenie, etc. Granted, it wouldn't be a bad thing to omit some of his shameless soundalike recordings from the records, but Chuck's overall output is very strong. A world without Brown Eyed Handsome Man to listen to wouldn't be worth living in, if you hadda ask me.

Posted by Zach on Friday, 05.23.14 @ 19:59pm


“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry.” - John Lennon

RIP

Posted by Gass3268 on Saturday, 03.18.17 @ 18:21pm


Hail! Hail! Rock And Roll!

Thank you for everything Chuck.

Rest in peace.

Posted by Philip on Saturday, 03.18.17 @ 19:33pm


This is a day in rock we reflect...RIP MR BERRY..
So many have left us in the last few months
WOW

Posted by Happy on Saturday, 03.18.17 @ 19:37pm


RIP Chuck Berry. I was very fortunate to see him live five times during his late years, as well as meeting him and shaking his hand. Personal life and controversy aside, he helped inspire so many. I mean, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Dead have all covered him. If it wasn't for Chuck, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would not have started a band. I could keep going, but the legends have kept his influence alive. When I saw Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen perform live in St. Louis, they both did a Chuck Berry song. Chuck loved St. Louis, and I was proud that he was from my home city. Despite all his troubles, he continued to do what he loved all the time - performing.

Posted by Jason Voigt on Saturday, 03.18.17 @ 19:56pm


Wow, of the first class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, only Fats Domino, Don Everly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard are left.

Rest in Peace Chuck Berry, 1926-2017.

Posted by Joe on Saturday, 03.18.17 @ 22:37pm


I think the greatest tribute to Chuck Berry--even greater than membership in the inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--is on Voyager I. Among the recordings, including greetings in 55 different languages, is a sampling of the music of various cultures. Amid the religious chants, the baroque, classical, Navajo chants and traditional music is, representative of rock and roll, "Johnny B. Goode."

Most of the Rock and Roll we hear on the radio is heard around the world. Chuck Berry's has gone beyond the universe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contents_of_the_Voyager_Golden_Record

Posted by Joe on Saturday, 03.18.17 @ 22:54pm


May Chuck Berry rest in peace. :'(

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hpCGXh4qBY

It looks likely now that Roll Over Beethoven could very well be sung by Jeff Lynne's ELO for the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony closing jam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uk84icbn78

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1i5coU-0_Q

8-)

Posted by Rick Vendl II on Sunday, 03.19.17 @ 11:53am


Rockaria! by Electric Light Orchestra, for Chuck Berry... 8-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfK8t4j7I64

Posted by Rick Vendl II on Monday, 03.20.17 @ 02:32am


R.I.P., Chuck Berry.

To truly appreciate the musical talents of Berry, you have to go beyond the obvious songs and hits and delve deep into his catalogue for gems like Wee Wee Hours (Evidence that Chuck could play strong, smokey blues; his vocal phrasing is reminiscent of T-Bone Walker, one of his primary influences as a guitarist and vocalist; dig Johnnie Johnson's barrelhouse piano riffs, too!), Downbound Train (I'm not a major lyrics person, but this contains some of Berry's best, in regards to how he frames the evils of alcoholism in the context of an alcoholic blacking out and waking up to find himself in a train bound for Hell; fantastic rhythm section with the usually tasty Berry guitar licks), and Rockin' At the Philharmonic (A solid instrumental with fantastic unison between Berry and his band; Johnson rolls out those piano bars like a pool shark sinking racks).

BTW, screw those who complain (misguidedly, I might add) that Berry's songs all sound the same. Clearly they haven't invested much time in his vast catalogue, beyond the obvious hits. The three songs I cited, plus many others I could bring up, all clearly display the different styles and sounds Berry and his band were able to conjure.

Although I sincerely hope the Hall of Shame will have the integrity to pay homage to Berry at this year's induction ceremony, I definitely won't be tuning in; with the exception of Tupac (not a major fan, and he's also deceased, but I will give him his due for expanding rap beyond its narrow parameters, along with other greats like Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow, Whodini, and a few others I'm forgetting now) and maybe ELO & Yes, none of the inductees are worthy of tying Berry's shoelaces (Joan Baez? What a joke! No rock, roll, rhythm, soul, or beat in her weak, candy-ass junk).

I've grown to explore and love the guys who helped shape Berry, perhaps even moreso than Berry (like the aforementioned T-Bone Walker, as well as Carl Hogan, Louis Jordan, and Muddy Watters), but I will always count myself as a Berry fan and hold the man and his music in high esteem.

Posted by Zach on Sunday, 04.2.17 @ 17:07pm


Zach wrote: "I will always count myself as a Berry fan and hold the man and his music in high esteem"

I won't argue the music, his influence and output are top notch. Part of your statement though says that you will always hold the "man" in high esteem. Really? Have you read anything about Chuck Berry as a man? Read this NY Post article and defend your statement please.

https://www.google.com/amp/nypost.com/2017/03/21/the-dark-past-of-chuck-berrys-scandal-filled-sex-life/amp/

Posted by Classic Rock on Sunday, 04.2.17 @ 18:12pm


Allow me to amend that statement, slightly:

I will always count myself as a Berry fan and hold the artist and his music in high esteem.

Does that clarify where I stand with Chuck enough, Classic Rock? I never said I approved of his personal conduct as a person.

Posted by Zach on Sunday, 04.2.17 @ 19:36pm


Much better!

Posted by Classic Rock on Sunday, 04.2.17 @ 21:07pm


http://leonardcohenhallsoffame.blogspot.ca/2012/02/2012-pen-new-england-award_26.html

So there is Chuck Berry and then there is me, and I don't know who comes next, but it certainly is an inevitability. Thank you so much friends. Ever since I think the only exclamation in our literature that rivals Walt Whitman's declaration of his barbaric yawp is Chuck Berry's Roll Over, Beethoven. Those two expressions of American ingenuity are really what has defined our activity, and from Chuck Berry all the way down to us is a straight line from that Roll Over, Beethoven because if Beethoven hadn't rolled over, there wouldn't have been room for any of us. So friends, I am deeply grateful for this recognition, but I also want to say that in another sense, all of us are just footnotes to the work of Chuck Berry, and like a footnote, I want to keep it brief and light. So thanks a lot friends.

Posted by Roy on Thursday, 04.6.17 @ 03:53am


http://leonardcohenhallsoffame.blogspot.ca/2012/02/2012-pen-new-england-award_26.html

So there is Chuck Berry and then there is me, and I don't know who comes next, but it certainly is an inevitability. Thank you so much friends. Ever since I think the only exclamation in our literature that rivals Walt Whitman's declaration of his barbaric yawp is Chuck Berry's Roll Over, Beethoven. Those two expressions of American ingenuity are really what has defined our activity, and from Chuck Berry all the way down to us is a straight line from that Roll Over, Beethoven because if Beethoven hadn't rolled over, there wouldn't have been room for any of us. So friends, I am deeply grateful for this recognition, but I also want to say that in another sense, all of us are just footnotes to the work of Chuck Berry, and like a footnote, I want to keep it brief and light. So thanks a lot friends.

-Leonard Cohen

Posted by Roy on Thursday, 04.6.17 @ 03:54am


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