Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hall Of Fame : Chuck Berry

"If importance in popular music were measured in terms of imaginativeness, creativeness, wit, the ability to translate a variety of experiences and feelings into musical form, and long-term influence and reputation, Chuck Berry would be described as the major figure of rock 'n' roll. At the time of his greatest popularity (1955-59), there were several other singers who had more hits, were more often copied, and commended higher fees or personal performances. But Chuck Berry had the greatest long-term effect on his audience, shown in the immense influence his music had on the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and other singers and musicians who began making records in the mid-sixties."

This was the great British critic Charlie Gillett in The Sound Of The City, beautiful book about the birth of rock 'n' roll. What a perfect plaque for Chuck !
Among the 50's rockers, Elvis let alone, he's my favorite. He's bluesy (comes from Chicago scene, was recorded by Chess) but he was one of the true creators of the rock 'n' roll style, when he added country influences to "Maybellene", one of the very first rnr songs in 1955. A lot has been said about his electric guitar style, but the piano "that seemed to be played almost regardless of the melody taken by the singer and the rest of the musicians "(Gillett again), was a very distinctive element of Berry's sound.
And the lyrics were witty, funny,great commentary about '50s America.

Here's a song I love, lesser known that the classical masterpieces ("Johnny B Goode, Roll Over Beethoven, Maybellene), a very early side from 1955 in the same pattern as "Maybellene", with fine lyrics about judges and courts and a great guitar chorus. It is the raw, not yet fully rock 'n' roll Chuck Berry we're hearing now :

Découvrez Chuck Berry!

More about chuck on the Web :

AMG bio

A post about "Promised Land" on the blog For The sake Of The Song

A post by Paul
on Setting the Woods on Fire, about "Brown Eyed Hansome Man"

Take care,


PS : River's invitation est à partir maintenant intégralement anglophone, Pour les francophones, j'ai créé L'Appel de la rivière, le même blog tout en Français. Reportez-vous au post suivant

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