Chuck Berry RIP


Pete White mailed a lovely piece (see first comment) and this bit nails it for me beautifully

“RIP Chuck, you did more to encourage aspiring musicians than you will ever know. I have had more fun playing your music than I can ever tell”.

One of those times when you trot out the cliché that ‘greatest’ is over-used but here it applies – guitarist, singer, songwriter and for a period through the late-50s and early 60s, he wrote and performed what I still reckon are the greatest teen anthems and songs that turn the everyday into something quite magical.

In addition, he just happened to influence a few interesting people including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones … (you name ’em)

There can’t be many of us ‘musos’ out there who never played/sang a Chuck or two?

Soon as three o’clock rolls around
You finally lay your burden down
Close up your books, get outta your seat
Down the halls and into the street
Up to the corner and ’round the bend
Right to the juke joint, you go in



Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

17 thoughts on “Chuck Berry RIP

  1. Pete White mailed from Florida: Back in the late 70s early to mid 80s Disney World would have nights of music throughout the park. It was a separate ticket event and started after the regular park hours. We used to go and see the acts and they would have them playing in different areas of the park. We went to see Chuck Berry perform in the tomorrow land terrace. I remember it well as they had the gates to the area closed and we were right up against them. Then they opened them and it was a mad run to get to the front by the stage. We got right in front dead center about 10 feet away from Chuck. I guess he had not met his backing band at all which apparently was typical for him but they started off playing and about 3/4 of the way through the song Chuck stopped the whole thing. He said to the audience.”Does this sound as bad to you as it does to me?” the crowd shouted yes. Then Chuck said okay Mr sound man let me hear the bass drum. And he directed them until each instrument was in balance. Took him less that 2 minutes. Then they restarted and he said how does it sound now? And the crowd just went wild. What a great performer. Glad I got to see and hear him up close. His usual Gibson, a Fender Dual Showman amp and 2 of the 2×15 Dual Showman cabinets. RIP Chuck you did more to encourage aspiring musicians than you will ever know. I have had more fun playing your music than I can ever tell. As Stephen King just said “90 is a good age for Rock and Roll”…………………

  2. JR posted tons of biographical stuff which I guess will be widely available today – I particularly liked this bit:

    His death comes just months after he announced he’d been working on his new studio album – the first in 38 years – to mark turning 90. At the time, he said: “This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy. My darlin’, I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

    R.I.P. Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr. – October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017

  3. Lenny Tench was another to alert me – and thanks to everyone who did – regretting that some people will remember him best for his only number one, the worst thing he ever did … ‘My Ding-a-Ling’. Let’s hope people who think that, will get to hear his other stuff. ‘Oscar’ is posting tracks on his site. We should all play Chuck Berry all day!

  4. Actually I meant to include this also from JR: “He was the first ever inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”. That seems about right.

  5. It’s just after 7am and there are 13 stories on the BBC News site. The 13th is the only mention today for Trump. Top and second – rightly so – is Chuck.

  6. NO PARTICULAR PLACE TO GO……Well there is now , sadly
    This # written while he was serving the 1st of several jail terms….this I think was for transporting an under age girl over the state line , ‘for immoral purposes’…..(sounds familiar to me !!!!)
    Thanx Charles Edward Anderson for some great 12bar tunes…………Now taking his last “duck walk”
    R I P…

  7. The last of the first generation.

  8. How about the ‘killer’ Jerry Lee Lewis?

  9. FATS DOMINO……he’s…..89 ????

    • Cheers Phil. Let’s start again then … have ANY original rock & rollers apart from Chuck Berry actually died, or are they all still out there gigging every day? Has Elvis left the building?

      Incidentally Pete, that bloke from Mud doesn’t count.

    From the BBC News site:-
    ‘Chuck Berry.
    The St Louis bluesman, who has died aged 90, basically invented rock.
    Sure, there were other contributors: Bill Haley’s northern band rock’n’roll; Pat Boone and his New Orleans dance blues;and Berry’s label mate at Chess Records, Bo Diddley’

    Now I can accept Bill Haley and, of course, the fantastic Mr Bo (‘tho more R & B than rock) – but Pat Boone, what are they talking about and who supplies the BBC with this drivel?
    I despair when I think about how things will be written about in the future when no-one is around who can contradict.
    Hopefully, ‘Pompeypop’ will be seen as a beacon of truth (the way it really was) by future historians and musicologists.

    • Blimey mate, that takes the biscuit! I guess it’s another youngster content to make things up – Elvis? Little Richard? Fats Domino, let alone Joe Turner, Ike Turner (Jackie Brenston) and all those good old rockabilly boys (I’ve always loved Carl Perkins). Pat Boone hah! One listen to his version of “Tutti Frutti” is all that’s needed

  11. Thinking about this, I can’t believe even the Beeb can be that stupid to think Pat Boone was a forerunner of rock ‘n’roll.
    I suspect it happened like this, or similar:-

    BBC News Editor to his equally dumb assistant : “Just doing an obit for Chuck Berry. Who was that fat bloke from New Orleans, think he had a hit with ‘Ain’t That a Shame?”

    Dumb assistant: “Dunno”

    Editor: “Look it up on the internet, will you.”

    Assistant: “Says here, “Ain’t That a Shame” number one hit record for Pat Boone in 1955.”

    Ed: ‘That’s it then, Pat Boone’.

    Incidentally, that fine old rock’n’roller, Pat Boone wanted to re-title his version to ‘Isn’t That a Shame’ , but he was overruled.

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