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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

50 year anniversary or rock and roll

may is chuck berry month the way i see it!...the man, who is still kicking, should be given the biggest tribute we have ever seen!.. lets value people while they are still alive! i'd love to see a two hour HBO special (simulcast on PBS) at the duck room in st louis where chuck berry plays once a month featuring interviews, tribute performances by people like dylan, the rolling stones, springsteen, ac dc, aerosmith and any number of others who worship at his altar and drink the gods nectar, and a nice juicy birthday cake in the shape of his cherry red guitar... the USA made billions of dollars and exerted incalculable cultural sway on the world in representing our values - far more than some invasion of irak i might add.. go talk to vaclav havel about what frank zappa meant to the fall of the iron curtain- with chuck berry's trademarked brand of rock and roll ought to celebrate its history and his life.... and lets face it the US owes chuck berry..after imprisoning him three times i think its time for a little about george bush go down to st. louis and thank chuck berry on behalf of the american people for his service...

i took this from this chuck berry site found here

Chuck Berry's first recording session at Chess Records, Chicago took place May 21st, 1955. Four songs were recorded which were released on two 45/78 rpm records later that year: Maybellene b/w Wee Wee Hours (Chess 1604, July 1955) and Thirty Days b/w Together We Will Always Be (Chess 1610, September 1955).

now there are many different points in history that one can take as the foundational even in rock and roll...

certainly, last year we saw the silly goose white media jump on elvis presley's 1954 sun recording session as the 50th annivesary of rock and roll although i find this hard to take... some say fats domino's 1950 recording of "the fat man" is really the first rock'n'roll record though without that electric guitar i find it hard... while others, probably including atlantic records founder ahmet ertegun, would perhaps point to louis jordan's 1940s recordings with his tympany five (again no electric guitar)...

but as i've tried to make the case ealier on this very site..: to me chuck berry is the rock'n'roll pioneer alchemist.. while the contributions of any number of other musicians were critical to the development of r'n'r i believe its chuck berry (with his pianist johnnie "johnny be goode" johnson who just passed away- hint: lets rush the chuck berry tribute!) that really synthesized the various influences and strains and put it all together in a way that is recognizable even 50 years on as rock and roll..recognizable is the key word here.. when you hear "johnny b goode" its rock'n' if ands or buts about it

so the first chuck berry recording session is a truly momentous date...

noted rock critic pietro scaruffi sums up chuck berry's value on his rich site to be found here and i borrow his first paragraph:

Rock and roll was born with Chuck Berry. Prior to Berry the evolution of the new popular music, the convergence of country and blues, was moving at a slow pace, and although acceptance of the black musician by the white audience had been positively established, a figure able to function as a catalyst, namely a person capable of putting together the demands of the moment, both artistic and social, was still missing. From the moment that Chuck Berry shouldered his cherry red Gibson, the guitar would never again be the same instrument. His explosive riffs would blow away established orders - first musical and then social - that had survived two world wars. Few revolutions have been faster, more thorough or more widespread. Those riffs electrified millions of white kids. Berry sang suggestively about adolescent love, and from that moment on song lyrics would never be the same. He set a rhythm for the music of the American youth, a rhythm that would continue to accelerate. Whether or not Chuck Berry invented rock and roll, he was its first composer and its first poet.

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