R.I.P. Chuck Berry
On one of my very first mix-Cd's, back when that was a thing, a goofy, old novelty number known as "My Ding-a-Ling" snuck it's way onto the track-listing, courtesy of my father. Little did I realize that this chuckle-worthy ditty about a kid and his treasured (but unfortunately named) silver bell instrument was performed by one of the most legendary musicians in the history of rock and roll. Though not befitting of the original axe-man's storied legacy, his only number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 served as my access point for the expansive and influential discography of Mr. Berry.
From there, the Beatle's cover of "Roll Over Beethoven," Marty McFly's time-altering performance of "Johnny B. Goode," the similarities between the Beach Boy's "Surfin' USA" and "Sweet Little Sixteen" further enlightened me and caused me to seek out the originals. Before I knew it, songs like "Promised Land," "No Particular Place to Go," and "Little Queenie" made it into regular rotation on my bedroom speakers.
Berry's influence on the rock and roll genre is far to immense to properly sum up or pay tribute to in a blurb on a baseball card blog; but, suffice it to say, without his trademark licks, his stage persona, his famed "duck walk," etc., the genre simply wouldn't be the same. Heck - it might not even BE at all. After all, his influence extended heavily into the catalogs of Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and other such rock luminaries. Still performing well into his 80's, it was clear that he truly loved the music.
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Plus, as if he couldn't get any cooler, in my eyes, Berry was a noted baseball nut. Of course, I might not approve of his choice in teams; nevertheless, he will always be my favorite Cardinals fan!
Last night, it was announced that, at the age of 90, Charles Edward Anderson Berry passed away in his Wentzville, Mo. home. It's been a rough year and a half for rock and roll legends, with the losses of Bowie, Prince, Lemmy, George Michael, Scott Weiland, barely scratching the surface. I suppose the only solace here is that Chuck was able to lead a full, rich and apparently gratifying life. Nevertheless, he will be greatly missed.
R.I.P. Chuck Berry