Swithin

Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

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He had such a gift for expressing in his lyrics life as it was lived by real people in America of that era: "Rainwater blowin' all under my hood/I knew that was doin' my motor good," "My uncle took the message, and he wrote it on the wall," "With the one you love, you're makin' romance," "Ring, ring goes the bell," "Who never ever learned to read or write so well, but he could play a guitar just like ringin' a bell."

 

You would occasionally get a reminder in pop culture of just how great Chuck Berry was. "This is your cousin Marvin. Marvin BERRY. You know that sound you were looking for?" from Back to the Future. The dance scene from Pulp Fiction to "You Never Can Tell". When Living Colour won an American Music Award and got their Elvis statuette, one of them said, "This could have just as easily been a statue of Chuck Berry". Principal Skinner telling the audience "I'd like to put this filth behind us" after a student sings "My Ding-a-Ling" at a school talent show.

 

And what a guitar player!

 

I have an iTunes collection of 1,180 songs. Currently, four of them are Chuck Berry songs: "Maybellene", "School Day", "Route 66" and "Drifting Blues", but I think I'm about to go buy some more.

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Indeed Sewhite, he did have a way with words, sometimes having his WAY with words....

 

"As I was motorvating  over the hill...."

 

"The coolerator  was filled with TV dinners and ginger ale...."

 

Broad descriptive phrases, like found in "Nadine"----

 

"She moved around like a wayward summer breeze..."

 

"I was campaign shouting like a Southern diplomat"

 

"Moving through the traffic like a mounted cavalier..."

 

The '70's rock group JO JO GUNNE took that name from the title of a Chuck Berry tune.  And of course, there's The Beach Boys thing....

 

The music world, America and the GUITAR INDUSTRY was certainly blessed by his being, and we'll always be grateful.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Indeed Sewhite, he did have a way with words, sometimes having his WAY with words....

 

"As I was motorvating  over the hill...."

 

"The coolerator  was filled with TV dinners and ginger ale...."

 

Broad descriptive phrases, like found in "Nadine"----

 

"She moved around like a wayward summer breeze..."

 

"I was campaign shouting like a Southern diplomat"

 

"Moving through the traffic like a mounted cavalier..."

 

The '70's rock group JO JO GUNNE took that name from the title of a Chuck Berry tune.  And of course, there's The Beach Boys thing....

 

The music world, America and the GUITAR INDUSTRY was certainly blessed by his being, and we'll always be grateful.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

Maybe he should get a Nobel Prize for literature.

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Maybe he should get a Nobel Prize for literature.

Too late now.  I don't know if they award those posthumously, and so if not, I'll settle for his Kennedy Center honor in 2000.

 

His obit in today's paper mentioned he first wrote "Johnny B. Goode" as a "little colored boy"  and changed it to "country boy" figuring that way it might be easier to get on the air and more widespread airplay.  And actually not a story in a song, but as a "spur" to get others to find their particular talent and "Go" for it.

 

Another interesting note:

 

In the foreward in his autobiography, written by BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Bruce mentions, "..He plays in all those ODD keys like B-flat and such..."  But in the movie "Hail, Hail Rock'n' roll!"  he says many of his songs were written in "regular" keys but that LEONARD CHESS, in order to make them what HE considered "more danceable" sped the tapes up while pressing them.  and speeding up the tape will change an A to a Bb  and an E to an F and so on.  I thought that was interesting as I too, when trying to pick up a tune of his off the record, wondered WHY he chose Ab or  Bb and such.  B)

 

 

Sepiatone

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Too late now.  I don't know if they award those posthumously, and so if not, I'll settle for his Kennedy Center honor in 2000.

 

His obit in today's paper mentioned he first wrote "Johnny B. Goode" as a "little colored boy"  and changed it to "country boy" figuring that way it might be easier to get on the air and more widespread airplay.  And actually not a story in a song, but as a "spur" to get others to find their particular talent and "Go" for it.

 

Another interesting note:

 

In the foreward in his autobiography, written by BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Bruce mentions, "..He plays in all those ODD keys like B-flat and such..."  But in the movie "Hail, Hail Rock'n' roll!"  he says many of his songs were written in "regular" keys but that LEONARD CHESS, in order to make them what HE considered "more danceable" sped the tapes up while pressing them.  and speeding up the tape will change an A to a Bb  and an E to an F and so on.  I thought that was interesting as I too, when trying to pick up a tune of his off the record, wondered WHY he chose Ab or  Bb and such.  B)

 

 

Sepiatone

No amount of superlatives are sufficient..... "The Father of Rock and Roll". The first inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hugely influential on innumerable acts, including the Beatles and the Stones. Great composer and lyricist. Great guitarist. The first rock performer to develop onstage moves, which influenced every rock performer after him. The words of Philly DJ Hy Lit are going through my head today. Every time he played a Berry record. he would say, "Chuck Berry, making merry, for your listening pleasure, little treasure." I think his best song was the relatively obscure "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man".

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I am listening to Chuck Berry's songs right now. Listening to anyone else today would be a sacrilege.


Fra-- on the obituary thread I wrote about Chuck Berry and I mention my favorite Chuck Berry song was Havana Moon. There's also a terrific version of it by Santana.


I never took George Harrison and Carl Wilson seriously until in 1964--

1) I heard George's Roll Over Beethoven on the first groove of the first side of The Second Album.

2) and Carl Wilson and the Beach Boys last number on their first number one album in 1964, which was the live album-- Johnny B. Good.


--As for Keith Richards and Brian Jones, they graduated with a song on their
12 X 5 album called "Around and Around".

Eric Burdon also had an excellent version of that song on the second Animals album, The Animals on Tour. Also on that album Eric did another little- known Chuck Berry song called How You've Changed.

Even Elvis Presley Capstoned his career with Chuck Berry's Promised Land Album in 1975 from Stax.

Everybody in the British and American invasion era owe Chuck Berry alot- - but The Beach Boys probably owe him the most.

Their stealing Chuck Berry's Sweet Little 16 and making it Surfin' USA put them over.

I can remember when I got the Surfin' USA album, I only saw Brian Wilson's name on that track. At first I couldn't believe it. But being only 10 years- old myself, I just assumed that the Capitol Records lawyers had cleared the whole thing.

Little did I know that Murry Wilson didn't know anything about it either. And that he was the only person in charge of the Beach Boys music folio. But when Chuck Berry's people informed him, he immediately signed the song over to Chuck Berry-- Lock, Stock & Barrel. Plagiarism for the Beach Boys at the beginning part of their career might have just ended them right there.

And then years later, when The Beach Boys hadn't had a top 10 hit in a decade- - it's Chuck Berry's Rock and Roll Music that gave them one in 1976.


Hail Hail Rock and Roll
Long Live Rock and Roll--

The feeling is there body and soul.

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Paul McCartney's "Back in the U.S.S.R.," the opening song from The Beatles' 1968 "White Album,"  was a playful response to Chuck Berry's "Back in the U.S.A." and The Beach Boys' "California Girls."

 

McCartney performed the tune at Moscow's Red Square in May 2003.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JbLsYoL3ug
 

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 I think his best song was the relatively obscure "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man".

 

Eh!  There you go again with your "best" garbage.

 

Don't you KNOW there's NO SUCH THING as a "best" Chuck Berry tune?

 

They ALL qualify.   And you can't even pick out a "favorite" because in this case it would be like picking out the "favorite" HAIR ON YOUR HEAD!

 

But I can't argue the fact that "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" is woefully obscure as Chuck recordings go.  So is "Still Got the Blues"

 

His recording of WILLIE DIXON's "I Just Want To Make Love To You" is also obscure enough to where many guys who CLAIMED to like Chuck never heard or heard OF it until FOGHAT did that  God-awful cover.  And sadly for some reason, "Still Got The Blues" didn't get included in the box set I have.  :unsure:

 

 

Sepiatone

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Eh! There you go again with your "best" garbage.

Don't you KNOW there's NO SUCH THING as a "best" Chuck Berry tune?

They ALL qualify. And you can't even pick out a "favorite" because in this case it would be like picking out the "favorite" HAIR ON YOUR HEAD!

But I can't argue the fact that "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" is woefully obscure as Chuck recordings go. So is "Still Got the Blues"

His recording of WILLIE DIXON's "I Just Want To Make Love To You" is also obscure enough to where many guys who CLAIMED to like Chuck never heard or heard OF it until FOGHAT did that God-awful cover. And sadly for some reason, "Still Got The Blues" didn't get included in the box set I have. :unsure:


Sepiatone


Fra--

I would not say that Brown Eyed Handsome man was Chuck Berry's best. But I have to say it's an awfully good example of his style and ability.

Arguably people might say that Memphis was the best song he ever wrote Because so many people had success selling records with it. In terms of Commercial Success it was his most successful song. Everybody who touched Memphis came back with a gold record.

Sep--

There's nothing obscure about Brown Eyed Handsome Man. It was a double sided hit with Too Much Monkey Business in 1956. And it was included on Berry's After School album in 1957.

I know the song because I had the 45 record.

It's good to remember that Chuck Berry was making hit records before anyone ever heard of The Beatles or The Beach Boys or The Rolling Stones.

In 1956 and 1957 they were just kids like me at home listening to the radio and trying to figure out how people made that kind of music.

And you can't really judge what's obscure or not just because a rock and roll group in the sixties did not do their version of it.

I looked up Brown Eyed Handsome Man on Wiki and I found out that it was #5 in 1956 on the R&B Billboard.

I don't know about that, but I just know our AM station in the midwest played it and it was on jukeboxes. In fact they played all of Chuck Berry songs-- that's how I know them.

How they had the time to do that I don't know because they had to play so many songs with the late great Mr. Jim Reeves, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and, of course, Elvis Presley and every other rock and roll thing going on at the time.

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Now PRINCESS!

 

You KNOW it wasn't me who started the "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" obscurity bit.  But in another forum about Chuck......

 

Someone posted a clip they found on YT that made "back-to-back" comparison to Chuck's "Promised Land" and Roy Acuff's "Wabash Cannon Ball"   And after doing a bit more research, I discovered Acuff's version is a cover of an old recording of a 1929 recording(not released until '32)  by THE CARTER FAMILY, which was a reworking of a song published in 1882 called "The Great Rock Island Route".

 

SO, kids....seems this sorta thing goes WAY back before the "My Sweet Lord"/"He's So Fine"  brou-ha.  ;)

 

 

Sepiatone

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Fra--

I would not say that Brown Eyed Handsome man was Chuck Berry's best. But I have to say it's an awfully good example of his style and ability.

Arguably people might say that Memphis was the best song he ever wrote Because so many people had success selling records with it. In terms of Commercial Success it was his most successful song. Everybody who touched Memphis came back with a gold record.

Sep--

There's nothing obscure about Brown Eyed Handsome Man. It was a double sided hit with Too Much Monkey Business in 1956. And it was included on Berry's After School album in 1957.

I know the song because I had the 45 record.

It's good to remember that Chuck Berry was making hit records before anyone ever heard of The Beatles or The Beach Boys or The Rolling Stones.

In 1956 and 1957 they were just kids like me at home listening to the radio and trying to figure out how people made that kind of music.

And you can't really judge what's obscure or not just because a rock and roll group in the sixties did not do their version of it.

I looked up Brown Eyed Handsome Man on Wiki and I found out that it was #5 in 1956 on the R&B Billboard.

I don't know about that, but I just know our AM station in the midwest played it and it was on jukeboxes. In fact they played all of Chuck Berry songs-- that's how I know them.

How they had the time to do that I don't know because they had to play so many songs with the late great Mr. Jim Reeves, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and, of course, Elvis Presley and every other rock and roll thing going on at the time.

Just a quick bit of how other artists were influenced by Berry-------The Beach Boys' "Surfin USA" was basically a remake of "Sweet Little Sixteen". The Grateful Dead and others covered Berry's "Promised Land". The Beatles' "Back in the USSR" was a takeofff on Berry's "Back in the USA". Johnny Rivers had a hit with Berry's "Memphis". And on and on.

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Just a quick bit of how other artists were influenced by Berry-------The Beach Boys' "Surfin USA" was basically a remake of "Sweet Little Sixteen". The Grateful Dead and others covered Berry's "Promised Land". The Beatles' "Back in the USSR" was a takeofff on Berry's "Back in the USA". Johnny Rivers had a hit with Berry's "Memphis". And on and on.

 

Yep.  And I mentioned JO JO GUNNE was the title of a Berry song and taken for the name of the group JAY FERGUSON and MARK ANDES formed after leaving SPIRIT.

 

And BOB SEGER'S song "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" is a tune dedicated to Chuck Berry( "All of Chuck's children are out there, playing his licks...").

 

Certainly, Chuck's influence was paramount .

 

 

Sepiatone

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I listened to the "Geezer Rock" program on a local radio station (Jerome Arizona's KZRJ-FM 100.5 aka "Gulch Radio") yesterday. This program which is broadcast from 4pm-6pm every Sunday afternoon features rock and roll music from the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s honored Chuck Berry's passing by playing many of his recordings and those by other artists which had either covered his songs or were influenced by them.

 

The last song played during this program was one of the few slower tunes Chuck would ever record, "(In the)Wee Wee Hours", a blues tune which I don't believe I had never heard before, and which impressed me quite a bit...

 

[media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXDtdV3_hEs[/media]

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I listened to the "Geezer Rock" program on a local radio station (Jerome Arizona's KZRJ-FM 100.5 aka "Gulch Radio") yesterday. This program which is broadcast from 4pm-6pm every Sunday afternoon features rock and roll music from the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s honored Chuck Berry's passing by playing many of his recordings and those by other artists which had either covered his songs or were influenced by them.

 

The last song played during this program was one of the few slower tunes Chuck would ever record, "(In the)Wee Wee Hours", a blues tune which I don't believe I had never heard before, and which impressed me quite a bit...

 

[media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXDtdV3_hEs[/media]

It just hit me. Several years ago, I read an article that indicated that Philly's young people, largely because of musical tradition and the great DJs, had the best musical taste of any city in the U.S. It said that, by way of contrast, Phoenix was tone-deaf. Would you have moved to Arizona if you knew that?

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