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Chuck Berry ... Rest in Peace.

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90 years old, well you can't say he ain't lived life to the full - RIP Chuck

Saw Chuck about 20 years ago at a concert in Florida which would make him about 70 years old then, the guy was still full on, sweating running around , doing that guitar dance with the one leg, duck walk - true legend and an influential guy to the music business.



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As said above a true Originator.

Many people consider Jonny be Goode to be the  track which started the 'Rock' genre. (as opposed to Rock & Roll). 

RIP Chuck.

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Saddened to read of the death of this musical icon. I seem to have known Chuck Berry's music all my life. When I was a kid the first music I liked was rock'n'roll and I was given a magazine about it, with features on the current stars, Elvis, Bill Haley, etc. Also small articles about other artistes, including Chuck Berry. It mentioned Maybelline and how the BBC banned it due to the lyrics mentioning Cadillacs and Fords, can't have advertising on the Beeb. This sparked my interest but in those far off days you had only the BBC Light Programme and Radio Luxembourg, the latter's reception was very often distorted. I think the first Berry song I heard was Schooldays but it may have been a British cover version, possibly Don Lang and his Frantic Five, lol.

Chuck was enjoying hits in the USA and seemed to be able to write songs that echoed American teenage life and their concerns. Amazing he could do that considering his background.

He didn't have much chart success in the 50s in the UK, Sweet Little Sixteen and Johnny B Goode I think. But he was popular with my friends and me. Then he was sent to prison for taking a girl, not sure if she was under age, across state lines in the USA, a federal offence. This seemed to coincide with Chess moving for London records to Pye International. At the same time there was a growing interest in rhythm and blues, partly due to the softness of much of the pop music of the time. Beat groups used his songs in their acts and of course the Beatles and Rolling Stones initially relied on American songs, and included his songs in their repertoire.

The early Mods liked Chuck and other Chess R&B artistes very much and my early visits to clubs like the Scene were dominated by that sort of sound. I bought Come On by him after my first visit to the Scene and I bought an LP, think it was called Chuck Berry on Stage with dubbed applause. On it Sweet Little Sixteen was called Surfing USA, after the Beach Boys had nicked the tune for that song, and Memphis Tennessee was titled Memphis, after Lonnie Mack's instrumental cover that had been a US hit. I sold that album, now wish I hadn't.

Chuck toured in 1964 with the Animals, the Nashville Teens and Carl Perkins whose records were being played at the Mod clubs at the time, along with other rock'n'roll records, not sure if anyone else remembers that but the evidence is on Ready Steady Go. Chuck did his duckwalk and sang many of his hits, really exciting show.

I may have seen him again, but not sure. And of course he had his biggest hit here with My Ding-A -Ling, surely his worst moment.

There were stories later of his attitude of doing the barest minimum at a live show, who knows?

Whatever happened in the latter part of his life he is one of the most important artistes of the second half of the 20th century. Elvis Presley may have been the king of rock'n'roll but Chuck was definitely the poet laureate.

RIP Chuck.


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Long life well lived, saw him live when he performed in Nottingham, brilliant shows, shown his cheeky side with my ding a ling , still makes me smile the way the bbc rushed to ban it from the airways, boy how times change . Rest in peace , legend x

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Chuck Berry once opened a restaurant called The Southern Air in Missouri. According to a former waitress, Berry wired the women’s toilets with a video camera and recorded some two hundred unsuspecting patrons using it. Charges were dropped when Berry agreed to compensate the victims of his “potty cam” financially.


In December 1959 Berry invited a fourteen-year-old Apache waitress Janice Escalanti to work as a hatcheck girl at his nightclub. Crossing the border he was soon arrested on a prostitution charge and received three years at the Indiana Federal Prison. When interviewed years later he said: “She was anything but innocent.”

Puts 'my ding a ling' in a different light .

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The music pioneer was 90 years old and although he didn’t invent Rock n Roll all alone, he had quite an influence on every artist from the Beatles and Rolling Stones to Bruce Springsteen during his amazing career. He was the ‘whole package’ in the 50s rock world because he could write great songs as well as sing and play guitar (just like he was ringing a bell). Thinking about his library a bit more, I realize that Chuck sang about cars as a major story element in the majority of his hot songs. I remember “You Can’t Catch Me” for the catchy rhythm and hot rod lyrics:

New Jersey Turnpike in the wee wee hours
I was rollin’ slowly ’cause of drizzlin’ showers
Here come a flat-top, he was movin’ up with me
Then come wavin’ goodbye in a little’ old souped-up jitney
I put my foot in my tank and I began to roll
Moanin’ siren, ’twas the State Patrol…

This is poetry, my friends. Nobody writes songs about driving cars like this anymore.

How about ‘No Particular Place To Go’:

Riding along in my automobile
My baby beside me at the wheel
I stole a kiss at the turn of a mile
My curiosity runnin’ wild
Crusin’ and playin’ the radio
With no particular place to go…

Lastly, I offer you the lyrics to ‘Maybellene’ and the frustrations of a Flathead Ford chasing down a Caddy:
As I was motivatin’ over the hill
I saw Mabellene in a Coupe de Ville
A Cadillac a rollin’ on the open road
Nothin’ will outrun my V8 Ford
The Cadillac doin’ about ninety-five
She’s bumper to bumper, rollin’ side by side

The Cadillac pulled up ahead of the Ford
The Ford got hot and wouldn’t do no more
It then got cloudy and started to rain
I tooted my horn for a passin’ lane
The rainwater blowin’ all under my hood
I know that I was doin’ my motor good

The motor cooled down the heat went down
And that’s when I heard that highway sound
The Cadillac a sittin’ like a ton of lead
A hundred and ten half a mile ahead The Cadillac lookin’ like it’s sittin’ still
And I caught Mabellene at the top of the hill

Maybellene, why can’t you be true?
Oh Maybellene, why can’t you be true?
You’ve started back doing the things you used to do.

I could go on with songs like “No Money Down” (the follow up to Maybellene), “Jaguar and Thunderbird’, and ‘I Want To Be Your Driver’.


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BBC4 TV should screen this film from 1959  . . .  no doubt the scripted bits are useless, but the musical parts should be great.


Edited by Roburt

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1 hour ago, Roburt said:

BBC4 TV should screen this film from 1959  . . .  no doubt the scripted bits are useless, but the musical parts should be great.

No need to wait for Auntie Beeb ... :thumbsup:


Edited by WoodButcher

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Guest Walker sister

Controversial past but musically a Legend.

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Don't think I can add any more plaudits to the man that haven't already been said on this thread;

but my curiosity begs the question - during the 1960's did he ever attempt any soul orientated material even on his albums or as B sides?

I don't even know if he was still recording new material through that decade.

Excuse my ignorance.


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Was lucky enough to see Chuck still in his prime at the Cavern in Liverpool early 1967 and watched him close the show at the London Rock n Roll Sow at Wembley in 1972  all the Legends played that day and night including Little Richard , Jerry Lee Lewis  Bo Didley you had to be something special to follow them on stage and Chuck was very special indeed,

Rest In Peace Chuck



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