Some may wonder why Chuck Berry is getting a mention on here, but all you have to do is take one look at his history and you’ll realise he’s as metal as anyone and deserves huge recognition. He took the rhythm and blues of his younger days and worked them into rock and roll – one of the forerunners of the style which led into rock and then metal.
His live performances were a riot. I was lucky enough to see him in Bradford about 20 years ago and he had the whole St. George’s Hall jumping. Between songs he told bad jokes and read “letters” he’d sent to his mother – daft little skits that added so much to the show. Even in his 70’s he was bounding around the stage and doing the “duck walk” many may remember from Marty McFly’s performance during Back to the Future. At the end, he invited anyone and everyone onto the stage to dance during the encore.
There’s no denying his musical influence on acts we’d normally feature. His classic Johnny B Goode, for example, was covered by Judas Priest some years ago and they did a damn fine version but it’s definitely not better than the original.
With Berry’s passing, we’ve lost another brilliant writer and performer. Fortunately there is a wealth of recordings to make sure his memory doesn’t die along with him. As well as a record on a spacecraft which left our solar system a few years back… “Johnny B. Goode” is the only rock ‘n’ roll song on the “golden record” encased within it.
At 90 years old, he had a good innings and has left us with a wonderful collection of classics to enjoy. Rock on, Chuck!
Header image was originally posted to Flickr by Protest Photos1 at http://flickr.com/photos/75967029@N00/6933348267. Used under the terms of cc-by-2.0.