Friday, October 18, 2013

Chuck Berry

"If you tried to give Rock and Roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'"- John Lennon
 Chuck Berry was born as Charles Edward Anderson Berry to a large family in St. Louis. Berry grew an interest to blues and poetry at a young age and won a high school contest with his rendition to Jay McShann's "Confessin' The Blue". Today marks Chuck Berry's 87th birthday and in honor of the father of Rock 'n' Roll I'd like to share about Chuck Berry's inspiration on The Beatles, especially John Lennon.

"... Chuck Berry is one of the all-time great poets; a rock poet, you could call him. He was well advanced of his time, lyric wise. We all owe a lot to him, including Dylan. He was in a different class from other performers. He was in the tradition of the great blues artist but he really wrote his own stuff - I know Little Richard did, but Berry really wrote stuff. The lyrics were fantastic, even though we didn't know what he was saying half of the time." -John Lennon

The fifties revolutionized when Bill Haley and his Comets came out with the first classified Rock 'n' Roll song, "Rock Around The Clock". From this era came great musicians like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Dion and The Belmont's, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others but no one impressed John Lennon like Chuck Berry did. Berry is known for his outstanding guitar and bluesy sound and for his 'rock poetry'.

"In the fifties, when people were virtually singing about nothing, Chuck Berry was writing social- comment songs, with incredible metre to the lyrics. When I hear rock, good rock of the calibre of Chuck Berry, I just fall apart and I have no other interest in life. The world could be ending if Rock 'n' Roll is playing. It's a disease of mine."- John Lennon

The Beatles covered several Chuck Berry songs from when their Live at The BBC sessions with, "Carol" (Berry's Version, Beatles Version) , "Sweet Little Sixteen"(Berry's Version, Beatles Version), "Memphis"(Berry's Version, Beatles Version), "Johnny B. Goode"(Berry's Version, Beatles Version), "Too Much Monkey Business"(Berry's Version, Beatles Version), and "I Gotta Find My Baby"(Berry's Version, Beatles Version). Also, on The Beatles second album, With The Beatles, it features George's vocals on Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven"(Berry's Version, Beatles Version). In 1964 The Beatles released their fourth album, Beatles For Sale, where John sings Berry's "Rock and Roll Music"(Berry's Version, Beatles Version).

In 1972 John and Yoko were co-host on the Mike Douglas Show for a week. During this week, various guest were appeared some chosen by the Lennon's and others not. Guest like, Jerry Rubin and Black panther Bobby Seale, Ralph Nader, Comedian George Carlin, filmmaker Barbara Loden, US surgeon General Jesse Steinfeld, comedian Louis Nye. On Day three Chuck Berry appeared on the show and sang two songs with the Lennon's, classic songs like "Johnny B. Goode" and "Memphis". Lennon once said that when he met Chuck Berry his reaction was to shout "Chuck Berry my hero!"

In 1986 Chuck Berry preformed with a number of musicians, from Keith Richards on guitar, to singing with musicians like Eric Clapton and many others at the the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the many artist he sang with on stage were no other than Julian Lennon. The two sang "Johnny B. Goode".

 "He's the greatest Rock 'n' Roll poet, and I really admire him" - John Lennon
 If you're a Chuck Berry fan and you haven't seen "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll", a film made to celebrate the great rock 'n' rollers, sixtieth birthday of the concerts in 1986 and stories about Chuck Berry, please check it out. It's a great documentary.

Happy Birthday Chuck Berry!

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