Monday, March 20, 2017

Chuck Berry - 1926-2017 - Rest In Peace

Chuck Berry 
1926-2017
Rest In Peace



Chuck Berry, Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer, Dies at 90


Chuck Berry, who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock ’n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years, died on Saturday at his home near Wentzville, Mo. He was 90.

The St. Charles County Police Department confirmed his death on its Facebook page. The department said that it responded to a medical emergency at the home, about 45 miles west of St. Louis, and that lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.

While Elvis Presley was rock’s first pop star and teenage heartthrob, Mr. Berry was its master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves. With songs like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” he gave his listeners more than they knew they were getting from jukebox entertainment.

His guitar lines wired the lean twang of country and the bite of the blues into phrases with both a streamlined trajectory and a long memory. And tucked into the lighthearted, telegraphic narratives that he sang with such clear enunciation was a sly defiance, upending convention to claim the pleasures of the moment.



In “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “You Can’t Catch Me” and other songs, Mr. Berry invented rock as a music of teenage wishes fulfilled and good times (even with cops in pursuit). In “Promised Land,” “Too Much Monkey Business” and “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” he celebrated and satirized America’s opportunities and class tensions. His rock ’n’ roll was a music of joyful lusts, laughed-off tensions and gleefully shattered icons.

Mr. Berry was already well past his teens when he wrote mid-1950s manifestoes like “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Rock and Roll Music” and “School Day.” Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry on Oct. 18, 1926, in St. Louis, he grew up in a segregated, middle-class neighborhood there, soaking up gospel, blues, and rhythm and blues, along with some country music.

He spent three years in reform school after a spree of car thefts and armed robbery. He received a degree in hairdressing and cosmetology and worked for a time as a beautician; he married Themetta Suggs in 1948 and started a family. She survives him, as do four children: Ingrid Berry, Melody Eskridge, Aloha Isa Leigh Berry and Charles Berry Jr.

By the early 1950s, he was playing guitar and singing blues, pop standards and an occasional country tune with local combos. Shortly after joining Sir John’s Trio, led by the pianist Johnnie Johnson, he reshaped the group’s music and took it over.

From the Texas guitarist T-Bone Walker, Mr. Berry picked up a technique of bending two strings at once that he would rough up and turn into a rock ’n’ roll talisman, the Chuck Berry lick, which would in turn be emulated by the Rolling Stones and countless others. He also recognized the popularity of country music and added some hillbilly twang to his guitar lines. Mr. Berry’s hybrid music, along with his charisma and showmanship, drew white as well as black listeners to the Cosmopolitan Club in St. Louis.

In 1955, Mr. Berry ventured to Chicago and asked one of his idols, the bluesman Muddy Waters, about making records. Waters directed him to the label he recorded for, Chess Records, where one of the owners, Leonard Chess, heard potential in Mr. Berry’s song “Ida Red.”

A variant of an old country song by the same name, “Ida Red” had a 2/4 backbeat with a hillbilly oompah, while Mr. Berry’s lyrics sketched a car chase, the narrator “motorvatin’” after an elusive girl. Mr. Chess renamed the song “Maybellene,” and in a long session on May 21, 1955, Mr. Chess and the bassist Willie Dixon got the band to punch up the rhythm.


“The big beat, cars and young love,” Mr. Chess outlined. “It was a trend, and we jumped on it.”

The music was bright and clear, a hard-swinging amalgam of country and blues. More than 60 years later, it still sounds reckless and audacious.


Mr. Berry articulated every word, with precise diction and no noticeable accent, leading some listeners and concert promoters, used to a different kind of rhythm-and-blues singer, to initially think that he was white. Teenagers didn’t care; they heard a rocker who was ready to take on the world.

The song was sent to the disc jockey Alan Freed. Mr. Freed and another man, Russ Fratto, were added to the credits as songwriters and got a share of the publishing royalties. Played regularly on Mr. Freed’s show and others, “Maybellene” reached No. 5 on the Billboard pop chart and was a No. 1 R&B hit.

In Mr. Berry’s groundbreaking early songs, his guitar twangs his famous two-stringed lick. It also punches like a horn section and sasses back at his own voice. The drummer eagerly socks the backbeat, and the pianist — usually either Mr. Johnson or Lafayette Leake — hurls fistfuls of tinkling anarchy all around him.

From 1955 to 1958, Mr. Berry knocked out classic after classic. Although he was in his late 20s and early 30s, he came up with high school chronicles and plugs for the newfangled music called rock ’n’ roll.

No matter how calculated songs like “School Day” or “Rock and Roll Music” may have been, they reached the Top 10, caught the early rock ’n’ roll spirit and detailed its mythology. “Johnny B. Goode,” a Top 10 hit in 1958, told the archetypal story of a rocker who could “play the guitar just like ringin’ a bell.”

Mr. Berry toured with rock revues and performed in three movies with Mr. Freed: “Rock, Rock, Rock,” “Mr. Rock and Roll” and “Go, Johnny, Go.” On film and in concert, he dazzled audiences with his duck walk, a guitar-thrusting strut that involved kicking one leg forward and hopping on the other.

Through the 1950s, Mr. Berry had pop hits with his songs about rock ’n’ roll and R&B hits with less teenage-oriented material. He spun surreal tall tales that Bob Dylan and John Lennon would learn from, like “Thirty Days” and “Jo Jo Gunne.” In “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” from 1956, he offered a barely veiled racial pride. His pithiness and humor rarely failed him.

In 1957, Mr. Berry bought 30 acres in Wentzville, where he built a short-lived amusement park, Berry Park, and a restaurant, the Southern Air. In 1958, he opened Club Bandstand in the theater district of St. Louis.


In the early 1960s, Mr. Berry’s songs inspired both California rock and the British Invasion. The Beach Boys reworked his “Sweet Little Sixteen” into “Surfin’ U.S.A.” (Mr. Berry sued them and won a songwriting credit.) The Rolling Stones released a string of Berry songs, including their first single, “Come On,” and the Beatles remade “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Rock and Roll Music.”

But by the time his music started reaching a new audience, Mr. Berry was in jail.

He had been arrested in 1959 and charged with transporting a teenage girl — who briefly worked as a hatcheck girl at Club Bandstand — across state lines for immoral purposes. He was tried twice and found guilty both times; the first verdict was overturned because of racist remarks by the judge. When he emerged from 20 months in prison in 1964, his wife had left him (they later reconciled) and his songwriting spark had diminished.


He had not totally lost his touch, though, as demonstrated by the handful of hits he had in 1964 and 1965, notably “Nadine,” “No Particular Place to Go,” “You Never Can Tell” and “Promised Land.” He appeared in the celebrated all-star 1964 concert film “The TAMI Show,” along with James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Marvin Gaye, the Beach Boys and the Supremes.

While he toured steadily through the 1960s, headlining or sharing bills with bands that grew up on his songs, his recording career stalled after he moved from Chess to Mercury Records in 1966. He remade some of his old hits and tried to reach the new hippie audience, recording “Live at the Fillmore Auditorium” with the Steve Miller Band, billed as the Steve Miller Blues Band at the time. When he returned to Chess in 1970, he recorded new songs, like “Tulane” and “Have Mercy Judge,” that flashed his old wit but failed to reach the Top 40.

In 1972, Mr. Berry had the biggest hit of his career with “My Ding-a-Ling,” a double-entendre novelty song that was included on the album “The London Chuck Berry Sessions” (even though he recorded the song not in London but at a concert in Coventry, England). The New Orleans songwriter Dave Bartholomew wrote and recorded it in 1952; Mr. Berry recorded a similar song, “My Tambourine,” in 1968, and is credited on recordings as the sole songwriter of the 1972 “My Ding-a-Ling.”

It was a million-seller and Mr. Berry’s first and only No. 1 pop single. It was also his last hit. His 1973 follow-up album, “Bio,” was poorly received; “Rockit,” released by Atlantic in 1979, did not sell. But he stayed active: He appeared as himself in a 1979 movie about 1950s rock, “American Hot Wax,” and he continued to tour constantly.

In July 1979, he performed for President Jimmy Carter at the White House. Three days later, he was sentenced to 120 days in federal prison and four years’ probation for income tax evasion.

He had further legal troubles in 1990 when the police raided his home and found 62 grams of marijuana and videotapes from a camera in the women’s room of his restaurant. In a plea bargain, he agreed to a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession, with a suspended jail sentence and two years’ probation.

By the 1980s, Mr. Berry was recognized as a rock pioneer. He never won a Grammy Award in his prime, but the Recording Academy gave him a lifetime achievement award in 1984. He was in the first group of musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Around his 60th birthday that year, he allowed the director Taylor Hackford to film him at his home in Wentzville for the documentary “Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll,” which also included performances by Mr. Berry with a band led by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and special guests. “Chuck Berry: The Autobiography” was published in 1988.

Mr. Berry continued performing well into his 80s. He usually played with local pickup bands, as he had done for most of his career, but sometimes he played with fellow rock stars. When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in Cleveland in 1995, Mr. Berry performed at an inaugural concert, backed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

In 2012, he headlined a Cleveland concert in his honor with a genre-spanning bill that included Darryl McDaniels of Run-D.M.C. and Merle Haggard. Although he told reporters before the show, “My singing days have passed,” he performed “Johnny B. Goode” and “Reelin’ and Rockin’” and joined the other musicians for the closing number, “Rock and Roll Music.”

From 1996 to 2014, Mr. Berry performed once a month at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant in St. Louis where he appeared regularly until Oct. 24.

He made a surprising announcement on his 90th birthday, Oct. 18, 2016: He was planning to release his first studio album in almost 40 years. The album, called simply “Chuck” and scheduled for release in June, was to consist primarily of new compositions.

And Mr. Berry’s music has remained on tour extraterrestrially. “Johnny B. Goode” is on golden records within the Voyager I and II spacecraft, launched in 1977 and awaiting discovery.




Chuck Berry
1957
After School Session


01. chool Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell)
02. Deep Feeling
03. Too Much Monkey Business
04. Wee Wee Hours
05. Roly Poly
06. No Money Down
07. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
08. Berry Pickin'
09. Together (We Will Always Be)
10. Havana Moon
11. Down Bound Train
12. Drifting Heart



Chuck Berry
1958
One Dozen Berry's


01. Sweet Little Sixteen
02. Blue Feeling
03. La Jaunda (Espanola)
04. Rockin' At The Philharmonic
05. Oh Baby Doll
06. Guitar Boogie
07. Reelin' And Rockin'
08. Ingo
09. Rock And Roll Music
10. How You've Changed
11. Low Feeling
12. It Don't Take But A Few Minutes



Chuck Berry
1959
Berry Is On Top


01. Almost Grown
02. Carol
03. Maybellene
04. Sweet Little Rock & Roller
05. Anthony Boy
06. Johnny B. Goode
07. Little Queenie
08. Jo Jo Gunne
09. Roll Over Beethoven
10. Around And Around
11. Hey Pedro
12. Blues For Hawaiians



Chuck Berry
1960
Juke Box Hits


01. I'm Talking About You 1:40
02. Diploma For Two
03. Thirteen Question Method
04. Away From You
05. Don't You Lie To Me
06. The Way It Was Before
07. Little Star
08. Route 66
09. Sweet Sixteen
10. Run Around
11. Stop And Listen
12. Rip It Up



Chuck Berry
1960
Rockin' At The Hops


01. Bye Bye Johnny
02. Worried Life Blues
03. Down The Road A Piece
04 Confessin' The Blues
05. Too Pooped To Pop
06. Mad Lad
07. I Got To Find My Baby
08. Betty Jean
09. Childhood Sweetheart
10. Broken Arrow
11. Driftin' Blues
12. Let It Rock



Chuck Berry
1962
Chuck Berry Twist


01. Maybellene
02. Roll Over Beethoven
03. Oh, Baby Doll
04. 'Round And 'Round
05. Come On
06. Let It Rock
07. Reelin' And Rockin'
08. School Days
09. Almost Grown
10. Sweet Little Sixteen
11. Thirty Days
12. Johnny B. Goode
13. Rock And Roll Music
14. Back In The U.S.A.



Chuck Berry
1963
Chuck Berry On Stage


01. Maybelline
02. Memphis
03. Surfing Steel
04. Rocking On The Railroad
05. Go Go Go
06. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
07. Still Got The Blues
08. Surfin' USA
09. Jaguar & The Thunderbird
10. I Just Want To Make Love To You
11. All Aboard
12. Trick Or Treat
13. The Man And The Donkey



Chuck Berry 
1964
St. Louis To Liverpool


01. Little Marie
02. Our Little Rendezvous
03. No Particular Place To Go
04. You Two
05. Promised Land
06. You Never Can Tell
07. Go Bobby Soxer
08. The Things I Used To Do
09. Liverpool Drive
10. Night Beat
11. Merry Christmas Baby
12. Brenda Lee




Chuck Berry
1964
Two Great Guitars


01. Chuck Berry -Liverpool Drive
02. Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley-Chuck's Beat
03. Bo Diddley-When The Saints Go Marching In
04. Bo Diddley & Chuck Berry-Bo's Beat




Chuck Berry
1965
Chuck Berry In London


01. My Little Love-Lights
02. She Once Was Mine
03. After It's Over
04. I Got A Booking
05. Night Beat
06. His Daughter Caroline
07. You Came A Long Way From St. Louis
08. St. Louiis Blues
09. Jamaica Farewell
10. Dear Dad
11. Butterscotch
12. The Song Of My Love
13. Why Should We End This Way
14. I Want To Be Your Driver



Chuck Berry
1965
Fresh Berry's


01. It Wasn't Me
02. Run, Joe
03. Every Day We Rock & Roll
04. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
05. Welcome Back, Pretty Baby
06. It's My Own Business
07. Right Off Rampart Street
08. Vaya Con Dios
09. Merrily We Rock & Roll
10. My Mustang Ford
11. Ain't That Just Like A Woman
12. Wee Hour Blues



Chuck Berry 
1967
Chuck Berry In Memphis


01. Back To Memphis
02. I Do Really Love You
03. Ramblin´ Rose
04. Sweet Little Rock And Roll
05. My Heart Will Always Belong To You
06. Oh Baby Doll
07. Check Me Out
08. It Hurts Me Too
09. Bring Another Drink
10. So Long
11. Goodnight Well It´s Time To Go



Chuck Berry
1967
Chuck Berry's Golden Hits


01. Sweet Little Sixteen
02. Memphis
03. School Days (Ring Ring Goes The Bell)
04. Maybelline
05. Back In The U.S.A.
06. Johnny B. Goode
07. Rock And Roll Music
08. Roll Over Beethoven
09. Thirty Days
10. Carol
11. Club Nitty Gritty



Chuck Berry
1967
Live At The Fillmore


01. Rockin' At The Fillmore
02. Everyday I Have The Blues
03. C.C. Rider
04. Driftin' Blues
05. Feelin' It
06. Flying Home
07. I Am Your Hoochie Coochie Man
08. It Hurts Me Too
09. Fillmore Blues
10. Wee Baby Blues
11. Johnny B. Goode



Chuck Berry
1968
From St. Louie to Frisco


01. Louie To Frisco
02. Ma Dear
03. The Love I Lost
04. I Love Her, I Love Her
05. Little Fox
06. Rock Cradle Rock
07. Soul Rockin
08. I Can't Believe
09. Misery
10. My Tambourine
11. Oh Captain
12. Mum's The Word



Chuck Berry
1969 
Concerto in B Goode


01. Good Looking Woman
02. My Woman
03. It's Too Dark In There
04. Put Her Down
05. Concerto In "B Goode"



Chuck Berry
1970
Back Home


01. Tulane
02. Have Mercy Judge
03. Instrumental
04. Christmas
05. Gun
06. I'm A Rocker
07. Flyin' Home
08. Fish & Chips
09. Some People



Chuck Berry
1971
San Francisco Dues


01. Oh Louisiana
02. Let's Do Our Thing Together
03. Your Lick
04. Festival
05. Bound To Lose
06. Bordeaux In My Pirough
07. San Francisco Dues
08. Viva Rock & Roll
09. My Dream (Poem)
10. Lonely School Days



Chuck Berry
1972
The London Chuck Berry Sessions


01. Let's Boogie
02. Mean Old World
03. I Will Not Let You Go
04. London Berry Blues
05. I Love You
06. Reelin' And Rockin'
07. My Ding-A-Ling
08. Johnny B. Goode (& Closing)



Chuck Berry
1973
Bio


01. Bio
02. Hello Little Girl, Goodbye
03. Woodpecker
04. Rain Eyes
05. Aimlessly Driftin'
06. Got It And Gone
07. Talkin' About My Buddy



Chuck Berry
1975
Chuck Berry


01. Swanee River 2:38
02. I'm Just A Name 3:37
03. I Just Want To Make Love To You 3:05
04. Too Late 2:45
05. South Of The Border 2:22
06. Hi Heel Sneakers 4:40
07. You Are My Sunshine 2:50
08. My Babe 2:28
09. Baby What You Want Me To Do 2:34
10. A Deuce 2:31
11. Shake Rattle And Roll 2:15
12. Sue Answer 2:25
13. Don't You Lie To Me 3:45



Chuck Berry
1979
Rock It


01. Move It
02. Oh What A Thrill
03. I Need You Baby
04. If I Were You
05. House Lights
06. I Never Thought
07. Havana Moon
08. Wuden't Me
09. California
10. Pass Away





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    ReplyDelete
  2. RIP, ( not info musics in the albums in discogs )
    http://www.crlf.de/ChuckBerry/Rothwell_Berry_discography_for_B17273.pdf

    THE CHUCK BERRY DISCOGRAPHY 1954 - 1979

    This discography is a chronological listing of Chuck Berry's recordings. The exact format is as
    follows:
    1. date; 2. location; 3. personnel; 4. discography opus number; 5. original master number; 6. title;
    7. 45/78RPM releases; 8. LP/CD releases; 9. composer/writer
    August 13, 1954; Premier Studio, 3033 Locust Street, St. Louis. Missouri
    Joe Alexander: vocal; Charles 'Chuck Berry' Berryn: guitar; Oscar 'Faith Douglas' Washington: guitar; Freddy Golden: bongos

    1. M 5008 Oh Maria Ballad AA 1008 Mr. DJ 101, GTR CD 39508,
    (Oscar Washington, Joe Alexander) Spindle SPN 2001 Chrome Dreams CD3CD5073
    BCD 17273-1/28
    2. M 5009 I Hope These Words Will Find You Well Ballad AA 1008 GTR CD 39508, Chrome Dreams
    (Oscar Washington, Joe Alexander) Spindle SPN 2001 CD3CD5073, BCD 17273-1/29
    May 21, 1955; Universal Studios, 111 East Ontario Street, Chicago, Illinois
    Chuck Berry & His Combo: Chuck Berry: vocal/guitar; Willie Dixon: double bass; Ebbie Hardy: drums; possibly Leonard Chess or
    Jerome Green: maracas -1; Johnnie Johnson: piano
    3. U7844 Maybellene [Come Back Maybellene] -1 Chess 1604a Chess LP-1425, 1435, 1465
    (Chuck Berry) 1480*, 1485, LP(S)-1514D
    CH2-8201, CH6-80001
    Hip-O Select B0009473-02
    BCD 17273-1/1
    4. U7845 Wee Wee Hours [Wee Wee Hours Blues] Chess 1604b, EP-5118 Chess LP-1426
    (8382) (Chuck Berry) LP(S)-1514D, CH6-80001
    Hip-O Select B0009473-02
    BCD 17273-1/2
    Note: *LP-1480 [Maybellene] was overdubbed with audience noise.

    And many others

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thxs a lot for this great collection of one of the greatest!

    ReplyDelete
  4. As sang Lou Reed
    Then what're gonna do about it,
    When they go on all through the night?
    All they sing: "oh, baby, oh, baby, oh, baby,"
    All through the night.

    RIP Man...

    ReplyDelete