Chuck Berry, The Father of Rock and Roll, Dead at 90

I begin this Post with the comment that I was writing as Terry McKenna was apparently closing the comments on his post on the same topic:

@TM;

Your "argument or "case" is a bit like "birtherism".

Do you wish to somehow cast the shadow of doubt about the origins or lineage of Rock and Roll or, are you attempting to somehow diminish, devalue, or discredit Chuck Berry's monumental and momentous virtually single handed contribution to American culture and consciousness?

You seem to be saying that no one black man could, or should, be credited with that magnitude of impact and effect.

NBC, NPR, USA Today,  National Review, among others, have declared Chuck Berry to be the father of Rock and Roll.

Hall of fame President and CEO Greg Harris said in a statement Saturday that Berry "created the rock sound..."

Harris said that "Chuck Berry is rock and roll...The undisputed original poet laureate, he influenced every rock and roll artist after him and every guitarist that ever plugged in."

These sources carry much greater weight and credibility in this matter than you can ever hope to have on the subject.

Their assessment is in direct opposition to your premise and assertion. I'm in total agreement with them as a life long muscian, fan, and student of the genres that comprise American music which is rooted in African-American culture, history, and experience.

Chuck Berry is the Father of Rock and Roll whether you accept that assertion or not is your prerogative. Just as it is the prerogative of any and all here to determine that you lack sufficient credentials and credibility to speak authoritatively on the matter.

Your post, while interesting, is wrong and somewhat wrong headed.
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Trixie Smith's 1922 blues ballad, “My Man Rocks Me (With One Steady Roll)” may be the first use of the phrase in song. Alan Freed, a disc jockey in Cleveland, Ohio used the phrase, “The Rock and Roll Session” to describe the amalgamation of rhythm and blues and country music he played during his show.

Berry reshaped the 1950s with a unique sound that appealed to both sides of a racially divided country.

He explained his appeal to adolescents across different cultural backgrounds: “Everything I wrote about wasn’t about me but [was about] the people listening.” He had a way of identifying what people wanted to express, but weren’t able to, during this segregated time.

“Maybellene” blended hillbilly licks and high-spirited blues riffs, ultimately creating the signature sound that pioneered the rock revolution. The lyrics for the song had narrative swagger, reflecting the spirit of teenage angst depicting fast cars, drag races and the story of an unfaithful girl as its main themes:

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame said in a statement Saturday that Berry "created the rock sound."

"Chuck Berry is rock and roll. The undisputed original poet laureate, he influenced every rock and roll artist after him and every guitarist that ever plugged in," hall of fame President and CEO Greg Harris said in a statement.

"Today, we celebrate his poetry, his artistry and his massive contributions to 20th century culture," Harris said. It's fitting that he was the first person inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Rock and roll as we know it would not exist without him. Hail Hail, Rock and Roll. Hail Hail, Chuck Berry."

Chuck Berry, 1926-2017

The Father of Rock and Roll

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Comment by Ron Powell on Monday

@Amy;  Thanks for the heads-up. 

Comment by tr ig on Monday

He stole Elvis's shit? Did somebody say that? 

Chuck Berry culture affected me so deeply that I now have a Fender Bassman silverface, double ten speakers tube amp in my basement. Same amp Chuck played, and it's a screamer. He was an absolute hero to Keith Richards. His I/IV/V style has been copied so many times that musicians explain it to other musicians as 'just like Chuck Berry' .. he was and is a revolution

My friend John, black man 20 years my senior that I knew, spent time in Leavenworth with Chuck who had "transported a girl across state line" .. a white girl. Prison! John was caught with a Prince Albert can with weed in it. Prison. John told me many stories of conversation him and Chuck had. Maybelline and Johnny B above, from the year of my joyous birth, possibly heard by me in the womb. Et cetera

Comment by Ron Powell on Monday

@Kosh; "As to one man starting a musical movement that big, I don't know of any historical examples."

Chuck Berry is the "historical example".

No one was doing what Chuck Berry did when Chuck Berry began doing to music what he had developed the ability to do.

Chuck Berry's primary influence was Muddy Waters but that doesn't make Muddy Water's a performer of the Rock and Roll genre.

There was no Rock and Roll genre until Chuck Berry combined several strains of music thereby creating the Rock and Roll 'sound' or genre.

Though Rock and Roll may be viewed as a genealogical hybrid it's distinct 'sound' is unique and unequivocally independent of all of the music types and vehicles that preceeded it.

The essential element of this feature is, without a doubt, the electric guitar, as the the central instrument for that 'sound'.

The bread and butter instrunent of Rock and Roll is thet instrument that does the  heavy lifting in virtually every composition that is identified or characterized as Rock and Roll is the (lead) electric guitar.

To put anyone ahead of Chuck Berry on that score is to belie and belittle his singular achievement in the creation of a musical genre that is a bed rock of American culture and consciousness.

Failure to understand that key and central component of the Rock and Roll genre is to not understand  the nature of Rock and Roll at all.

If Chuck Berry is not the 'father' of Rock and Roll,  George Washington is not the 'father' of this country.

Comment by Ron Powell on Monday

BTW:

If you Google 'father of his country' the search engine gives you one name, George Washington.

If you Google ' father of Rock and Roll ', the search engine gives you one name, Chuck Berry. 

'Nuff said.

Comment by Ron Powell on Monday

@tr ig;  Thanks for the read and the contribution. 

Comment by koshersalaami on Monday

Don't explain my guitar point to me. 

Actually, Berry has a better claim than Washington does. 

Maybellene has the right feel but Johnny B. Goode has the exact beat, no tripleted feel implied, just straight four four, nothing subtle, hit you over the head with it. We heard that quality again in a lot of the first Beatles material like I Want to Hold Your Hand and She Loves You. 

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on Monday

An opportunity for appreciation of an American genius and extraordinary artist is used, here, of course, to satisfy some people's petty needs for continual one-upsmanship. Would be almost funny were it not as disrespectful to the craft and to the man as it is. 

 

Comment by Ron Powell on Monday

@Kosh; That's why I couldn’t stand the Beatles in my youth.

I still have some resentment for how theirthieving propelled them to the to of the music mountain. 

Re your guitar point....

Wasn't explaining anything to you but providing a rationale for agreeing with your being puzzled by TM'S inability to understand or appreciate the role of the guitar in the genre that Chuck Berry created.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on Monday

Actually, Berry has a better claim than Washington does. 

Maybellene has the right feel but Johnny B. Goode has the exact beat, no tripleted feel implied, just straight four four, nothing subtle, hit you over the head with it. 

LOLOL...  he might have a better claim...  except for the whole "I can not tell a lie" thing (although he later admitted it).

Dog love him, but Chuck Berry stole his famous "Der NER NER NER NER nernerner" riff from Carl Hogan who played it on Louis Jordan's song "Ain't That Just Like a Woman." from back in 1946!

Comment by koshersalaami on Monday

You're right, he did. Listening to both, he made two changes:

1. Ain't That Just Like a Woman has  that tripleted thing. You can hear it as a jazz rhythm. 

2. Berry used double stops, playing two notes at once. And if you listen to his lead style, he keeps that going. 

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