Today is Chuck Berry’s 90th birthday. Whether you are a fan or not, and if you aren’t well I don’t even know what to think about you, prepare yourself for this, Chuck Berry invented Rock n’ Roll. That’s right. Without Chuck Berry there would be no Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, or The Beach Boys, just to name a few. And without the Beatles, or the Stones there would be no… I think you get.
Well, if you feel you like it
go get your lover, then reel and rock it
Roll it over and move on up just
a trifle further and reel and rock it, roll it over,
Roll Over Beethoven rockin’ in two by two
For guitarist all over the world Chuck Berry’s classic, iconic licks are the universal language of rock music. You learned them first, and expanded from there, building on the three cord foundation and his rhythmic bending of two strings in unison. The sound is groundbreaking, timeless, and genius today just as it was in 1957.
He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack
Or sit beneath the tree by the railroad track.
Oh, the engineers would see him sitting in the shade,
Strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made.
The people passing by, they would stop and say,
“Oh, my, but that little country boy could play!”
But not only did Chuck Berry create music that has stood the test of time he crafted words, pure poetry that influenced generations. He painted a picture, a visual of rhymes that flowed through and with the music. His lyrics were stories of humor, heartache, love, lust, and double entendres for the benefit of the kids and to dismay of their parents.
Once I was swimming cross Turtle creek
many snappers all around my feet
Sure was hard swimming cross that thing
with both hands holdin’ my ding a ling
So for all you rock and roll fans, take a moment and give thanks for the life, the music and the words of Chuck Berry. If James Brown was the self-declared Godfather of Soul there is little doubt in my mind that Chuck Berry was the god, the creator, the architect, the original mastermind of the music many of us enjoy today. Happy Birthday Mr. Berry!
Just let me hear some of that
Rock And Roll Music,
Any old way you choose it;
It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it,
Any old time you use it.
It’s gotta be Rock And Roll Music,
If you want to dance with me,
If you want to dance with me.