Very few, if any, would disagree that Rock & Roll starts here. With Chuck Berry. He IS Rock & Roll. He laid out the blueprint for how to play it, and how it should sound from the beginning, and everyone who came later built off of that.
Chuck passed away at the age of 90 from undisclosed causes. Paramedics found him unresponsive, and tried to revive him, but to no avail.
This is truly the end of an era. Who knows if we'd even HAVE a Rolling Stones without Chuck, since his music is reportedly the first thing Mick Jagger & Keith Richards bonded over as youngsters (most of their first few albums were Chuck Berry covers for goodness sake.)
The one song I point to as the ultimate Chuck Berry sound is Johnny B. Goode
Eric Clapton does a great job of explaining how Chuck's guitar playing IS Rock & Roll...
Ironically, Chuck Berry's biggest chart hit was the one furthest from his signature sound. A novelty tune called "My Ding-A-Ling"
When you idolize someone THIS much, they can apparently do no wrong, as evidenced by this Chuck story from Keith Richards...
For my money this is Chuck at his finest. Changing the lyrics to one of his tunes "Reelin' & Rockin" to much naughtier ones and showing off at Wembley Stadium in London.
And of course the tributes came pouring in...
"One of my big lights has gone out.”— Keith Richards (@officialKeef) March 19, 2017
- Keith, 3/18/17 pic.twitter.com/I86dHlvN5W
Paul on Chuck Berry: pic.twitter.com/87DxRupRcI— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) March 20, 2017
Sad day: Chuck Berry’s dead. I saw him once, In a club in London; watched him dance as he played. God bless you for all the love you gave pic.twitter.com/wx03BFnPB1— Yusuf / Cat Stevens (@YusufCatStevens) March 19, 2017
Chuck Berry was a true rock 'n' roll legend. His music changed the world. I'm honored to say I had the privilege of working with him. pic.twitter.com/5jMQ9jjbCF— Donny Osmond (@donnyosmond) March 19, 2017
#chuckberry RIP.... you gave us so much and changed the landscape of Rock n Roll.. Thank you..you taught us all how to play guitar...— RICHIE SAMBORA (@TheRealSambora) March 19, 2017
All of us rockers stand on the shoulders of the man who invented the 'duck walk.' Hail, hail Chuck Berry. - JD pic.twitter.com/zrtQtfG0uS— John Densmore (@JohnDensmore) March 19, 2017
RIP Chuck Berry, one of the true fathers of rock... https://t.co/2pTKf2ZGc5— Allman Brothers Band (@allmanbrothers) March 19, 2017
Chuck Berry IS rock and roll!— AC/DC (@acdc) March 19, 2017
It's sad day for rock and roll, but his music will live on forever.
Hail, hail rock and roll!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ANCkKaglQW
I've been in radio since 1981, starting on Cape Cod, and in Boston, Massachusetts where I grew up. (when The Sox and Patriots both broke everyone's hearts, and the Celtics ruled. Funny how things change.)
After 3 years in Las Vegas in the late 80's, early 90's I was looking for work and luckily found myself here in Cleveland in 1991, through some mutual radio friends. I got to play the hits as Jammin 92's Night guy until 1999.
After watching my former company screw up the "Jammin' Oldies" thing for a couple of years, I settled in at what would eventually become iheartmedia, and iHeartradio, playing people's classic favorites... the best decision I ever made!