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March 18, 2017

CHUCK BERRY

Man.

He basically invented rock and roll. So many great songs, so many wonderful lyrics. And the guitar licks... Everybody who plays rock guitar learns those licks.

He may not have been the best person. But he changed our culture. The word "genius" is much overused, especially when music icons die. But this guy...

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Another wonderful talent lost...RIP Chuck Berry.

He wrote the soundtrack to everything I know about music.

RIP, big guy.

I first saw him live at a Murray the K show at the old Brooklyn Fox Theater back around 1963 (yes, I'm old) and he blew everyone away.

They don't make them like him anymore. Maybe they never did.

I miss the old days.

Guitar licks imbedded in our collective psyche

Darn.

Thank you, Chuck Berry.

A sample of his genuis.

Linky thing failed. Tryin'

again.

"Three great chords, thirty great albums." Or words to that effect. Nobody ever got more out of those three chords.

Amazing, I found this quote three days ago. It is in reference to rock and roll:
"All history is retrospective. We’re always looking at the past through the lens of later developments. How else could we see it? We are ourselves, as subjects, among those later developments. It is natural for us to take events that were to a significant extent the product of guesswork, accident, short-term opportunism, and good luck, and of demographic and technological changes whose consequences no one could have foreseen, and shape them into a heroic narrative about artistic breakthrough and social progress. But legend is just one of the forms that history takes."
-Louis Menard 2015

When you wanted your car to go faster, you turned up the Chuck Berry. RIP.

"[Johnny B. Goode] was inspired in part by Johnnie Johnson, the boogie-woogie piano master ... " I saw Johnson play at the old Satellite Lounge in Houston many years ago. It was a Saturday night, Johnson had flown in to Houston the day before. The papers reported he got a call from Eric Clapton, who was performing at the Summit (now Lakewood Church), asking him to sit in Friday night. So he did, with maybe 20,000 people there. Then came back Saturday night and played for about 300 people. A great show, including his version of the song, "He used to carry his piano in a Cadillac ..." (although the piano doesn't quite do justice to the greatest guitar lick ever). So now they're up there with Jimi, Janis, Bonham ... don't you know that's a helluva band.

Chuck Berry lives on in the memories and guitar licks of all rock and roll players and their fans, whether they are aware of it or not. (Though they truly ought to know whose shoulders they stand on.) RIP.

He stomped on the Terra. I saw him more than once a time long gone now. He tore the place up. Musical giant.

A rock in roll music legend. Rip.

And to make a bad weekend worse, Jimmy Breslin died last night :(

I grew up near the Delmar Loop in St. Louis. Chuck Berry performed at a restaurant, Blueberry Hill, which is located there in the Loop. I'm sure the restaurant is still there displaying all the memorabilia. Chuck Berry, inaugurated the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill and played over 200 consecutive monthly concerts in the 340 capacity seat room. Part of the St. Louis Walk of Fame, similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is there inlayed into the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. Always went to the loop and many times to Blueberry Hill when visiting there. I would get together with my grade school buddy while I was in town and go see him perform. Sometimes He would ask me to perform, but in practice I could never remember the third chord, G, so I declined. Here is an old picture of him with Ingrid Berry, Chuck Berry's daughter. For a time Ingrid Berry fronted the band.

The guy seated directly behind Ingrid Berry in the first pic is my friend. In the third picture, Berry has her arm around my friend. Knowing my friend, it is a sure thing He got in her pants by the end of that day. He is a blues legend of sorts around the clubs of St. Louis and has performed on stage with Chuck Berry.

I believe the band was called Ingrid Berry and the Chuck Berry Review.

Blueberry Hill.

I would be remiss if I didn't miss My Ding-A-Ling. A song we played over and over while driving around causing havoc on the Streets of St. Louis.

Blueberry Hill.

I wanted to point out the members of the aforementioned band were not just a bunch of typical rock and roll wanna-be flunkies.

Pictured above,

The drummer, Mike Saffron was the drummer for Pavlov's Dog. You have no idea how great a drummer Mike was despite being in a band named Pavlov's Dog.


Pavlov's Dog. Best drummer EVER.


Then there is
Mike Sommerville who was the guitarist for Head East.

Remember Head East

*Joins PB in a hat-tip to the late Jimmy Breslin. Crazy good writer, provocateur, investigator.*

In 1977, Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" made history as one of the music recordings included on the Golden Record, a collection sent off into space for potential extraterrestrial contact as part of NASA's Voyager spacecraft.
Read Carl Sagan's interstellar letter to Chuck Berry:
http://www.oregonlive.com/music/index.ssf/2017/03/read_carl_sagan_chuck_berry_letter.html

Some years ago, my wife and I saw Chuck, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis together at Wolf Trap, outside DC.

Truly a helluva show.

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