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(March 18, 2017) -- is very sad to report the passing today (March 18) of Chuck Berry at his home near St. Louis, Missouri at age 90. He performed at the LB Blues Festival in 1998, when he was 71.

His showmanship (including his famous "duck walk," below) coupled with infectious guitar licks and generationally inspired lyrics built modern rock and roll. His music transcended race and borders and influenced budding musicians from the Beach Boys in our nearby south bay to John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the UK. As John Lennon once put it, "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry.'"


[Scroll down for further]

Among his hits: Mayebellene (one of the first songs by a Black artist to outsell white "cover" versions), Sweet Little 16, School Days, Johnny B. Goode and No Particular Place To Go ("holdin' a grudge, against a safety belt that wouldn't budge...") plus Roll Over Beethoven and Rock and Roll Music (tracks included years later on Beatles albums.)

The first video (scroll down) is from a US TV show in the late 50s. The second is from a French TV broadcast, its exact date uncertain but appears to be about a decade later. The French audience seems a bit stiff at first, but after over four minutes of Mr. Berry's blazing performance, they finally seem to get it.

Mr. Berry performed at the Long Beach Blues Festival in August 1998...when he was age 71.



For those who remember hearing it on six transistor AM radios, from "School Days":

Ring, ring goes the bell
The cook in the lunch room's ready to sell
You're lucky if you can find a seat
You're fortunate if you have time to eat
Back in the classroom, open your books
Keep up the teacher don't know how mean she looks

Soon as three o'clock rolls around
You finally lay your burden down
Close up your books, get outta your seat
Down the halls and into the street
Up to the corner and 'round the bend
Right to the juke joint, you go in
Drop the coin right into the slot
You're gotta hear somethin' that's really hot...

Hail, hail rock and roll
Deliver me from the days of old
Long live rock and roll
The beat of the drums, loud and bold
Rock, rock, rock and roll
The feelin' is there, body and soul

And the beat goes on. Thank you, Mr. Berry.


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